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Students learn about mindfulness

Creating A Mindful Classroom: Simple Activities For Students And Teachers

Calming a class full of children isn’t easy, especially when bored and stressed. But, what if we told you there’s a simple trick?

The trick is engaging in mindfulness activities that promote complete awareness of one’s surroundings while controlling their actions and thoughts. The immense value of implementing mindfulness-related activities isn’t new, especially in schools, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, a scientist and writer, has helped to legitimize this concept via his research.  

Advantages of mindfulness activities in the classroom

Calming students through mindfulness activities is the tip of the iceberg. Mindfulness exercises and education has several other benefits, such as:

  • Reduces overall anxiety and stress levels 
  • Reduces overthinking and accentuates the focus 
  • Boosts memory 
  • Increases the speed of processing information 
  • Raises self-awareness and awareness of emotions 
  • Strengthens the immune system 

As you can see, implementing mindfulness activities in the classroom has many physical, psychological, social and mental benefits. So, its importance for the students (and teachers) cannot be overstated. 

Now, take a look at some of the easy and impactful mindful exercises and activities that help both students and teachers create a mindful classroom. These must be a part of the pedagogical toolbox of every teacher. 

Activities to start the school day with

  • Sit quietly for sixty seconds 

At Sri Sri Academy, students observe a 60-seconds silence before starting the class. This gets the student ready for learning. Teachers even focus on their breathing with a particular sound or an image. It’ll take a while to achieve a complete 60-seconds of silence. You can start with fifteen seconds for early elementary and twenty to thirty seconds for upper elementary.

  • Reflect on something good for one minute 

Start the class by asking students to reflect on something good or something they are grateful for. It can be done in groups or by making them write it down on a piece of paper. When the day is started by reflecting upon things that have gone well for everyone, it’ll put them in the right state of mind to learn. 

In between classes

  • The three breaths exercise 

It might get overwhelming for the students and teachers as the day progresses. It is important to take three deep breaths at regular intervals, such as whenever a strong feeling of tension or anxiety arises in the classroom or before class changes. Teachers need to instruct students on breathing and prompt signals to begin. 

The three breaths exercise is a valuable activity for teachers and the rest of the school staff as well. It is a great way to regulate emotions and work through stressful situations. This exercise demonstrates presence and awareness. 

  • The shark fin breathing exercise 

The shark fin breathing exercise is another easy and fun activity that educators practice between classes. It is a popular activity for kindergartens and facilitates calmness quickly. The exercise spontaneously helps kids sort out their feelings and thoughts while calming and relaxing their bodies. The shark fin breathing exercise is sometimes used as a warm-up for other more extended mindfulness techniques. 

The exercise takes about two minutes, and the students can sit on a chair or floor. They need to close their eyes while placing their thumb on the forehead. The other fingers need to point to the sky, similar to a shark fin. Everyone needs to sit still and breathe softly while keeping their eyes shut. 

  • Repeat your mantra in your head or loudly 

It is an excellent practice to develop a phrase that keeps you focused and calm. Whenever you encounter obstacles or roadblocks, repeat the mantra often. Some examples of mantras for educators are:

  • “I want all the students to enjoy happiness, well-being and peace.”
  • “I am responsible for preparing students for an uncertain future.”
  • “I am preparing students for the tests of life.”

Students can have their mantras to help them get through the day. They can keep repeating things like “I am strong and capable of facing any situation”/”I will try my best to concentrate and learn,” etc. 

  • Focus on your bodies (for teachers)

Educators can improve their personalities and teaching style by focusing on their bodies. When teaching, educators must have their feet on the floor to feel centered. The same practice applies when they meet their colleagues or students. Whenever educators notice they are feeling tense or when their breathing is labored or shallow, they can use the three breaths exercise to calm themselves and get relief. 

End the school day on a positive note

  • Engage in reflecting the day 

Mindfulness activities must be practiced throughout the day in CBSE schools in Siliguri, West Bengal. As you start the day with deep breathing exercises and reflect on what’s gone well, the day must end by reflecting on the things you’ve learned and taught. The focus must be on things you’ve learned today, what you are curious about, things you are looking forward to tomorrow, etc. 

Wrapping up

Mindfulness activities are not a new concept, but they have been ignored for a long time. Given the immense stress and anxiety caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers need to work towards creating a mindful classroom. The activities and exercises mentioned above are targeted toward helping both educators and students keep anxiety and tension at bay while fully concentrating on learning. 

At Sri Sri Academy, we encourage students and staff to start the day by practicing yoga, among other mindfulness activities. Yoga helps to boost their overall immunity, physical and mental health and opens their hearts and minds for having a productive day of learning. Connect with our admissions department if you are looking to enroll your child in a school that focuses on overall growth and development.

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