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St Mary’s becomes mindful

Date: March 26, 2017 Author: schooladmin Categories: Latest News, News

St. Mary’s becomes mindful

Mindfulness in recent times has been introduced into both primary and secondary school as a useful skill to teach pupils to manage themselves. St. Mary’s has recently trialled a series of classes of mindfulness from 2nd to 6th class and found it to be of great benefit to both teachers and students. Introducing mindfulness into the daily lives of children increases their capacity to become still and feel good about themselves. 


Mindfulness-based practices are simple yet profound and create a solid foundation on which to build self-worth, compassion and understanding. Put simply, it means having moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the surrounding environment. Children are normally good at being in the present moment and noticing their surroundings within the world of nature. However, in the current climate with phones, iPads and T.V’s constantly in use, children are losing this skill of being connected and present.


This is a necessary skill for exams and performance in general. All the world’s tops sports professionals have learned the skills of visualisation and to be in the present moment in order to perform. It is a skill we can learn and like all skills such as language, the earlier we learn them the more we can use them in our daily lives, we add to our long-term learning. Looking after your mental health is part of the S.P.H.E curriculum and mindfulness is an excellent way to put this work into practice.


The classes in St. Mary’s taught the children how the brain works in simplistic terms. This explained the difference between the logical brain and the creative brain and the left and the right side as key components. This can be of great assistance to the different types of learners in the classroom environment from auditory, visual and kinaesthetic learners. For example, colour-coding information can really assist those with a more visual or creative memory before exams.


Through this knowledge, children learn how the brain cannot think straight if it is overloaded. The brain needs to be relaxed and calm in order to perform at its best. What affects the brain is also important to understand. This pilot programme in St. Mary’s explains that the brain uploads and downloads information just like a computer on a daily-basis. The optimum times for the brain to do this are last thing at night and first thing in the morning. This is when the brain should be relaxed and it can work at its optimum. Often people leave a notebook beside their bed to record ideas and inspirations during these times. When the brain is focussed or in-flow it works well. When the brain is stuck in a split decision such as worrying about what to do and not doing it, this can create stress in the brain.


As children, it is important to learn to stretch the brain but not to STRESS the brain. Children really enjoy mindfulness and it can be 10 minutes out in a really busy school environment. Basic skills are the most fundamental. The use of diaphragmatic breathing, feet on the ground and the power of silence is deafening!