It is such an exciting time as an NQT to be starting out on your education journey. However, as exciting as it is, it can be equally overwhelming. There is not only the pressure of a school and all those children to impress, but also finding your own style of teaching.
I have met a lot of teachers who are now ensuring that mindfulness is part of their daily routine in the classroom.
Feeling overwhelmed is completely natural and something that I believe can be deterred with mindfulness. The energy in the classroom is yours to create and through a small number of mindful techniques, the children can really start to pick up on it and create a calmer place for you to thrive in.
The power of mindfulness is finally something that is no longer associated or stigmatised with a small number of people, but has become a way of life.
The opportunity to be able to inspire children as young as 4 about mindfulness and even start to introduce them to yoga is incredible to me. I know that it can seem daunting if you haven’t taught yoga or perhaps do not practice it, but I have three tips that I hope may help shape your new classroom:
1. The mindful minute
Use a chime to start off the mindful minute and get the children to just close their eyes and sit quietly until they hear the second chime.
Some teachers get the children to do the chime on different days, so that everyone has a turn, helping to develop an understanding of the importance to be quiet. It is all about creating the environment and seeing the results where the children actually look forward to it!
2. Balloon Breath
Getting the children to sit with their backs against their chair guide them to then close their eyes. As they breathe in they lift their arms all the way up like they are filling up a balloon and then lower them back down as they breathe out.
When children start to visualise that they are filling their tummies all the way up like a balloon, they start to really concentrate. These deep breaths are incredible for calming the nervous system and lowering stress and anxiety levels.
3. Calming breath
This remains to be a favourite form of yoga breathe of all the children that I have taught. Either sat at their desks, laying on the floor or maybe in a PE class, ask the children to put one hand on their stomach, and another just over their heart. Ask them to close their eyes so that they can feel their stomach and chest rise and fall.
If they are in a yoga / PE class you can then take them through a guided meditation - even if it’s just for a minute or so. They always seem so relaxed and sleepy after this, so it’s perfect for towards the end of the school day.
These little tips are just ideas, gentle guidelines for you to take ideas from as finding your own way of presenting mindfulness to the class is half of the fun!
Make sure to let us know here at Opogo how you’ve implemented mindfulness in your classroom and pass on any tips that we can share to others about to embark on their mindfulness journey!
About our Community Expert
#TeachFit programme lead
Kirsty is a yoga teacher on a journey of empowerment, building confidence and pushing the boundaries of what traditional yoga is and can be.
She leads the TeachFit Yoga workshops in our partner schools.