Term: 3 Year: 2018
The main role of an Educator is to nurture, inspire and motivate. As an educator you are so busy documenting, reporting and planning, that you risk missing special moments. Mindfulness is all about being ‘in the moment’; about being present in the here and now.
Here are some simple ideas and techniques that you, the Educator, can do to make mindfulness practice part of your everyday routine:
Experiences that embrace the whole child and all their senses are important (see below). These mindful experiences will nurture the students and give them tools for exploring their own emotional literacy. They will learn how to recognise, appreciate and understand their own, and fellow classmate’s feelings.
In the Classroom or Artroom, embrace the senses as follows:
Sight: This could be done by creating visually engaging environments. Display a range of Student’s work or a selection of new exciting books. Have a quiet corner for reading or reflection. Use colours that calm and motivate the students. Don’t have too much of anything – you don’t want to overstimulate the students, you want to create a sense of balance.
Taste: All students have their water/drink bottles with them in the classroom. Encourage a simple drinking meditation – ‘gently move your drinking vessel between both hands, noticing how it feels and any sound it makes’… Have a jug of water in the classroom, add a few lemon slices, encourage students to stop and enjoy a drink. At lunch time encourage them to eat slowly, to taste and appreciate the food they are eating.
Smell: Burn essential oils and have scented plants in the room (brought in from outside). For example the herb rosemary has the ability to boost memory and improve mood. This is partly why a sprig of rosemary is worn on Anzac day; in Remembrance.
Sound: Play meditative music, soft classical, world music or similar. Introduce the sound of different instruments such as the singing bowl or chimes.
Touch: Introduce a range of artroom and classroom materials which are exciting to hold, and create artwork with. Include a range of materials which are tactile and promote the use of fine motor skills e.g. tearing tape, soft felt fabric, gooey gel or slime.
There are so many books and magazines which focus on Mindfulness and being in the moment.
A few books I have found to be popular with the students are:
What Does It Mean To Be Present - R. Diorio & E. Wheeler
A Handful of Quiet – Thich Nhat Hanh
Slow Down World – Tai Snaith
I Am Peace – S. Verde & P. Reynolds
Happy – Mies Van Hout
At this year’s Nurturing Creativity Conference on September 17th, I will be running a workshop on Mindfulness & Art which explores the simplicity and innate mindfulness in nature.
If you would like to organise a staff or student workshop at your school please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tania Di Berardino
ZART EDUCATION CONSULTANT