Discovering the practice of mindfulness about a decade ago marked the beginning of my journey in exploring its benefits. While I wouldn't claim expertise, I can certainly attest to the transformative impact it has had on my active mind.
Recognizing that my mind was in a constant state of overdrive, I sought advice from friends on how to achieve better sleep and quiet my thoughts. The suggestion of meditation initially seemed impractical, given my skepticism about being able to still my mind long enough to expereince any benefits. However, my friends encouraged me to start with just one minute and gradually build from there, emphasizing that there is no right or wrong way to meditate given the various approaches that were available.
Despite my initial doubts, I decided to incorporate meditation into my daily routine, even if inconsistently at first. Surprisingly, even with sporadic practice, I noticed a huge increase in my overall sense of peace, and a calming effect on my mind.
Motivated by my personal success, I thought about introducing mindfulness into my classroom. Approaching it in a lighthearted manner, I introduced the practice gradually, mirroring my own journey. Acknowledging that I was learning alongside my students fostered a sense of camaraderie and buy-in, making the integration of mindfulness a positive and enjoyable experience for both myself and my students.
Neurodiversity weaves a rich and diverse pattern that encompasses a wide range of neurological differences. At the Lang School, embracing neurodiversity is not only a moral imperative, but also a catalyst for fostering a more inclusive and supportive learning environment. One powerful tool that has shown remarkable promise in aiding neurodiverse students on their educational journey is mindfulness.
Mindfulness, rooted in ancient traditions, involves cultivating a heightened awareness of the present moment without judgment. For neurodiverse students, mindfulness serves as a powerful tool to navigate the complexities of their cognitive landscape.
Mindfulness practices, such as focused breathing and guided meditation, can enhance attention and focus. These techniques provide neurodiverse students with a set of skills to manage distractions and engage more effectively with a variety of learning tasks. In this work, we start small and with short durations. We use a growth mindset when approaching mindful practice, because we are constantly learning from this iterative process.
Our amazing, gifted students often grapple with intense, big emotions. Mindfulness helps to foster emotional regulation by encouraging our young people to observe and accept their feelings non-judgmentally. This can lead to a more stable emotional state and improved overall well-being.
Mindfulness-based social-emotional learning promotes self-awareness and empathy, which are crucial components for navigating social interactions. These practices empower students to better understand themselves and others, fostering a more inclusive and supportive community.
The learning environment can be overwhelming for our kids and this can lead to heightened stress and anxiety. Mindfulness techniques, such as progressive relaxation and focused breathing, provide tools to manage stress and work to promote a calmer and more focused learning experience.
Integrating mindfulness into the curriculum and classroom routines helps create an inclusive learning space. By recognizing and accommodating neurodiversity, we contribute to a culture of acceptance and understanding.
In the pursuit of inclusive education, my hope is that mindfulness can emerge as a beacon of hope for Lang students. By incorporating mindfulness practices into the educational landscape, we can acknowledge and honor the diverse ways in which we perceive and engage with the world. Through this mindful approach, we can empower our students to flourish academically, emotionally, and socially, fostering a brighter future for all.
If you would like a quick 3 minute body scan script, you can visit several sites online that can guide you through this. I encourage you all to practice mindfulness with your kids at home!
With gratitude and care,