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Can mindfulness training help improve mental health in schools?
What is mindfulness?
Is there an activity in your life that you love and find absorbing? Do you ever notice moments of contentment and wellbeing? These experiences give us an idea of the 'flavour' of mindfulness; the capacity to be calm, open and aware in the present moment. Mindfulness is non-judgemental and always curious about experience, fostering a life lived consciously.
Secular mindfulness practice is an evidence-based technique shown to be effective in improving wellbeing and reducing stress and depression. It is now used in a wide range of settings.
Why offer mindfulness training in your school?
A good foundation in mindfulness within the school environment actively combats problems such as anxiety, stress, and low mood. Practising mindfulness also promotes greater wellbeing and is a cost-effective way of supporting mental health.
Children and young people have a natural capacity for absorption and positive emotion which mindfulness training can help to cultivate. Learners in your school can increase their ability to remain calm and focussed, and show greater emotional intelligence. The simple quality of enjoyment of experience that can result will set them up to engage more fully in the learning process.
As members of staff, our states of mind can have an impact on the people around us. Mindfulness training is one proven way of helping staff to effectively manage stress, allowing them to maintain a calm perspective that can positively affect their children, students or colleagues.
Research shows that well-conducted mindfulness training can result in:
• increased job performance, problem-solving and ability to focus
• reduced stress, burn-out, and anxiety
• reduced days off work
• better mental health; less distress, negative emotion, and depression
• greater empathy and attunement to students’ needs
For children and young people:
• improved mental, emotional, social and physical health and wellbeing
• reduced stress, anxiety, reactivity, and bad behaviour
• greater calmness, the ability to manage behaviour and emotions, self-awareness and empathy
• Improved focus, cognitive and performance skills, and executive function
For more on the research, please see under ‘Resources’ on our website.
Who we are
’Love Mindfulness’ is a training partnership of Dr Carolyn Drake, neuroscientist and former primary head teacher, and Annie Akasati McAuley, an ordained Buddhist and secondary/SEN specialist. We are based in Sussex and offer training in London and the South East. We are fully qualified, with extensive experience, and have enhanced DBS checks. We have been delivering mindfulness training since 2014 to a wide range of schools and colleges (staff and pupils), as well as sessions and courses for organisations and the general public.
What we can offer you
We provide INSET, single sessions, and courses. These are all practical and interactive, including guided mindfulness practices, relevant themes and science, with opportunities for discussion and questions. While we recommend up to thirty participants as an effective group size for INSET and twilight training with staff, we also have experience of working with larger groups. Courses are usually arranged for smaller groups of up to 15 people.
For children and students from key-stages one to five:
We offer age-appropriate and engaging single sessions and courses. We work with full class groups, providing some differentiation to accommodate different needs. We also provide bespoke events for Health Weeks, Enrichment days and other special events in the school calendar. All sessions are practical and interactive. As with the staff sessions, we include guided mindfulness practices, relevant themes and science, with opportunities for discussion and questions.
Testimonials from staff
• "Annie's visit to our school left our staff with a very powerful message about the importance of mindfulness. Her mindfulness training sessions allowed all staff, with a wide range of previous experience, to access the course. There were an appropriate amount of links to theory and some excellent examples of sessions that were designed for students of all ages. We will continue our focus on mindfulness training for staff and students ..."
Duncan J Stonehouse, Head of School, Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School
• "The whole school is calmer."
Catherine Allison, acting Head Teacher
Testimonials from learners, key stages 2 to 5
• "I absolutely loved all the lessons"
• "When you get stressed out, do one of the practices"
• "I've learned more about my mind and how I can train it"
• "I used the hand practice for my times tables and tests"
• "I learned that if I am worried I can take a minute to breathe and it helps me calm down"
• "I learned how to keep calm and relax. I will keep doing the petal practice, it makes me feel happy"
• "...a massive thank you for all your help... I am back in practical lessons thanks to everything you've taught me… still practicing the mindfulness activities every day, and will continue to do so."
• "It is really helping me in difficult situations in my life."
• "It’s relaxing, calm and it helps you to be yourself."
Visit our website to find out all about us.
Contact us to discuss training opportunities for your school or telephone on 07795 562483.