When it comes to extra-curricular activities for children, teaching mindfulness doesn’t seem to be the first choice. Yet, Reaching Higher students at North Elementary have been practicing mindfulness for the past nine weeks. Thanks to Highfields Mindfulness and Meditation Coordinator, Becky Womboldt, students have learned more than just to sit still.
“My favorite part of mindfulness is getting time away from all the noise,” said Dailyonna.
Many students began the class without knowing what mindfulness was. If anything, they wanted to skip it and continue on to playing with their friends. Yet over the past few weeks, students have developed better listening and social skills, learned to control their emotions, and improved their memories.
During practice, students start and end in a “mindful body”: sitting up straight, closing their eyes and clearing their minds to be present in the moment, all within the chime of a bell. Becky guides them through meditative thinking such as sending kind thoughts to a loved one, or sitting in silence, focusing on the sounds around them.
“I like sending kind thoughts to others,” said Kamora. “Sometimes people have bad days, so sending kind thoughts can help push the bad feelings out of your body and stay calm.”
Students learned mindful breath, sound, sight, emotion, movement and even eating.
For students like Trey and Mercedes, mindfulness opened their minds to possibilities they hadn’t thought of before. Before, Trey would sit in the back of the class, shouting out answers, without regard to other students. Mercedes often disrupted the class by speaking out of turn.
“Mindfulness helps me be aware of different perspectives,” said Trey. “I learned to think before I speak and to be mindful of other people.”
Mercedes agrees, “Mindfulness helps me work through my anger, refocus, and calm my thoughts.”
Both students showed incredible progress in such a short time. They openly expressed their thanks to Becky not only for her kindness, but for her guidance and open-minded outlook.
“I was excited to share my love of mindfulness with the students at North Elementary,” said Becky. “However, I never realized how much their interest, curiosity, and excitement about mindfulness would give back to me! I’m so grateful for our time together.”