Teacher Talk

Start your day in a mindful way..

  • Helpful Note: The following activities are merely suggestions. Please only try them if you feel able and if you feel that the children are able for them to. Make sure that your classroom environment is suitable, safe and spacious enough for the mindful exercises that you are doing :)

  • I have found it very calming to start each morning with some mindfulness with the children in my class. I believe that this can work well in first class right up to sixth class. I taught infants for a long time and included mindfulness after their power hour of play each day. I will go into more detail about this in the Aistear/Dramatic Play section. I really would recommend trying some mindfulness activities with your class. It only takes 10 minutes and the children really love it!
  • Once the children have settled into their seats, we begin.
  • I turn off the lights and play some relaxing music on my CD player.
  • invite the children to stand and to push in their chairs so that we can begin our mindful movements. I like to use the word invite as it breaks down the boundaries between us and helps create a calm atmosphere in the room.
  • I gently encourage them to focus on their breathing throughout the mindfulness lesson.
  • I invite the children to place their hands on their shoulders and make slow, big circles, first in one direction and then in another.
  • After this, I model holding my two hands together in front of my chest and making slow and big circles with my wrists.
  • Next I stretch my hands out in front of me, then intertwine my fingers. I take a deep breath in and raise my hands above my head. The children follow the movements that I model. We do this stretch a few times, bringing our arms slowly back down to our sides.
  • Depending on the energy of the children, and the space that is available to them, we might try a swan dive.
  • Next we move onto our tension releasing activities.
  • First I scrunch up both of my shoulders really tightly and hold them there. Then relax. The children follow.
  • Next I scrunch up my shoulders and this time I bring my arms tightly into my chest with my fists clenched. The children do the same and this position is held for a few seconds and then we relax.
  • Lastly, I raise my shoulders, bring in my arms to my chest and then squeeze one side of my face tightly and then the other. Then relax. (The children find this last stretch very funny! Be prepared for some giggles!)
  • We move to different types of breathing techniques now. I call these our mindful breathing techniques. Somedays we try the bumblebee breath and other days we try the volcano breath.
  • We finish with a big yawn and stretch and then I invite the children to sit back down at their desks and relax their heads on their arms.
  • This is when I read a mindful story. This book is absolutely fantastic and a great resource for every teacher and school to have. The stories and mantra’s are relevant and child friendly. Listening to the mindful words of the book provide a relaxing and soothing start to the school day.
  • I choose a story and read it in a relaxed tone. I like to read the stories in order but it’s up to you. They are only short and take 2/3 minutes to read.
  • I circulate the classroom as I read.
  • At the end of the passage, I invite the children to take a big stretch and to cover their eyes with their hands until they are ready to return to the classroom.
  • I pick a person that has been very ‘mindful‘ to ring a bell three times. We listen to the bell ringing out.
  • The bell symbolizes the end of our mindful story.
  • I invite the children to tell me how they felt during the story and how they are feeling after it. Some will share, others will not.
  • The lights are turned back on and then we continue with our day in a mindful way.

 

 

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