Sit up tall, take a deep breath, close your eyes. Now imagine you walk into your school every day and you feel great, you feel less stress and anxiety in your professional and personal life, your teachers are happy, proactive problem solvers who 90% of the time love their colleagues, classrooms, and students. Your students are vibrant, they have longer periods of focus and concentration, less time is wasted on behavioral issues because they are self-regulating disruptive behaviors, and they are kinder to one another on the playground.
You as the leader of your school can say with confidence this transformation has come with your school becoming a more Mindful School.
It’s simple: when we see school leaders advocate and support Yoga & Mindfulness in their schools, we see the overall physical, emotional, mental, and social health and wellness of their campus change.
As a fundamental cultural shift, the change will begin slowly at first (as with any new initiative) and over time, become more integrated into the overall school culture over time: from your office support staff to your lunchroom crew, to your classroom teacher, to your students and even your parents.
Here are six ways that you can actively support your school in becoming a more mindful campus.
1. Start with Yourself
Remember: you are the leader of the school in the eyes of your support staff, teachers, and students. And what you do, your example, matters. If you’re too busy for the program, so is the rest of your school. Take the time to notice in your day when you may need yoga and mindfulness most. Is it first thing in the morning when you wake up or when you first open your office door? Where ever or whenever it is, take the time to insert a mindfulness practice; it can be as simple as one minute of breathing or a 10 minute yoga flow. What matters isn’t the length of your practice, but rather the frequency and consistency.
2. Participate in the Practice
Take the time to find out when your teachers are doing their yoga & mindfulness practice and make it a concerted effort to stop into classrooms, sit in the chair and practice with your teachers and students. After all, you are encouraging and supporting your school to create a new habit, and it’s more fun to make the change together.
3. Calm Corner Support
Set aside a small budget for each of your teachers to get what they need to create a calm classroom, whether it be a chair and comfortable cushion for sitting, a diffuser with lavender, or a few mindful posters. The idea is to support your teachers in setting up a mindful space in their classroom for their students (and perhaps themselves) to take a Time-In whenever they may need to.
4. A Space to Breathe
Take it a step further by setting up a room in your school as the Mindfulness Room to support staff, teachers, and students alike. The room will be a place for everyone to find their sanctuary from the natural chaos that is a school environment.
5. Let Mindfulness Guide Your Way
How you are in relation to yourself is how you are in relation to others. Encourage your teachers to start their teacher meetings with a 5-minute breathing and stretching sequence. When a student is brought to you for conflict resolution or a behavior intervention, start your time together with a mindfulness practice. When your teacher or support staff member approaches you with a problem, be present, listen, and take a breath before you respond.
6. Create a Community Culture of Mindfulness
As you know, sustainable, measurable change happens more easily when parents support and reinforce the initiatives you’ve started at school. Share yoga & mindfulness resources with your students’ parents. Send a note home when your students letting them know about the program and its benefits for their children and their children’s teachers. Provide parents with simple, easy-to-use tools they do at home for themselves as well as their children.
yoga ed. is here to support you.
Contact our Education Specialist today to learn more about how to get started with a mindfulness initiative for your school this school year.