Thursday, February 26, 2015

Take a ''Mindful" Walk In & Around Your School!

Our School Climate Team planned an incredible amount of events this past month (February 2015). One of the events under Vivienne Searles (our Primary SERT) 's leadership involved encouraging our students to take a walk to promote mental health and well being. This past week though, has been around and even colder than - 20 degrees Celsius and we've had to keep our students inside during recesses. This meant we were not able to bring our students out doors for our scheduled school walk. So, instead my class and I decided we would do a walk indoors around the school. We didn't just want to do any old walk though, we turned it into a "mindful'' walk. Students were asked to be absolutely silent and be acutely aware of their present surroundings in terms of their 5 senses. Students paid close attention to their breath, their bodies, their thoughts and feelings during their walk and reported things they saw, heard, smelled and felt (emotionally & physically). After the walk, surprisingly my students felt overall much better. I was actually quite surprised to hear this from my students. I was quite skeptical and thought there wouldn't be much difference in their attitudes and morale because we all know how nutty classes can get with indoor recesses and lunches for over a week! However, many of my students reported feeling significantly better than before we took our walk. Just a small amount of physical activity changing their mood this dramatically told me that we must have been on to something!

One thing that may stand out to you when viewing the above anchor chart is the fact that a student said they felt mad after taking the walk and I would like to speak to this. I followed up with that particular student and asked ''how come you felt mad after our mindful walk?''. She informed me that she was having a very hard time staying in the present moment as she got very distracted by her peers around her but that she knows this about herself and is constantly working at her focus and attention. Later on in the day after lunch we tried it again and that same student said she was able to focus much better after doing this activity for the second time. I definitely recommend  trying this simple activity and for teachers to look into Mindfulness practices. It certainly isn't hard and it really just begins with breathing and in this case walking!

Thanks for reading! :)

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