We recently heard a wonderful anecdote from a teacher that demonstrates yet again how children can take a lesson from one realm and apply them ingeniously in another:
“We were doing a synonyms and antonyms activity for the word ‘enraged’ (one of our weekly vocabulary words). Many students thought of some great antonyms. As I was ending the activity, a student insisted that I let him share his antonym, and I am glad I did.
He came up with a huge smile on his face and mindfully wrote down MINDFUL as an antonym to enraged. The whole class clapped. Mindfulness has definitely worked in my classroom and I have evidence of it every day.”
Of course, mindfulness helps teachers as well as children. One teacher told us that before our program, he couldn’t sleep because he had so much going on in his mind. After learning the body scan, however, that has changed… he is now able to calm himself and get a good night’s sleep.
As more adults experience the benefits of mindfulness, we know that more children will benefit. Our new Mindfulness Fundamentals Online course makes it possible for adults from all over the world to learn mindfulness, and we have been delighted to see the extremely high level of interest in it. As you might guess, we are working diligently to serve all that interest!
The Mindful Schools Team
Mindfulness Fundamentals Online Course Launched!
We are delighted to announce that our Mindfulness Fundamentals online course was launched a few weeks ago, with interest from across the United States and around the world!
Description The course is a six-week online training on the essential techniques and application of mindfulness. It has been adapted from our local onsite Level 1 training, and consists of weekly reading, guided audio practices, and supportive worksheets. A guiding teacher will be monitoring the training as well as responding to questions and adding relevant comments to enhance the experience of the group. By the end of this course, you will have the tools and experience to continue a personal mindfulness practice that will support you at work as well as at home.
Course Requirements Participants are required to have Internet access, an email account, and the ability to open PDF documents and listen to MP3s on their computer. If you are interested in teaching the Mindful Schools in-class curriculum to children, this training does meet the prerequisites for our Level 2: Curriculum Training.
Registration We have filled several sessions from our wait list, and have now opened a course for general registration. If you are unable to register due to the high level of interest, please join our wait list and we will notify you when additional courses open up.
We are working hard to meet the demand we see, and would be grateful to hear from any funders you might know who would be excited about our online courses.
Upcoming Adult Courses Several new training events are coming soon! Even if you’ve already taken these courses, please spread the word to friends and colleagues who could benefit.
Curriculum Training Follow-Up Day New! We will also be offering a six-hour follow-up day in New York for past Level 2 graduates. The day will be divided into small and large group activities. We will be sharing curriculum updates, new and upcoming research, and exploring creative solutions to challenges that come up when teaching mindfulness to children.
For complete information about all these trainings, as well as full descriptions of the courses, please visit our Adult Training page.
Looking for Volunteers to Help with Our Fall Research Study
We have a very exciting research study planned for this fall in the Oakland Unified School District, but we need a few volunteers to help us gather all the data.
It’s going to be one of the largest mindfulness studies on children to date, so all volunteers will be helping to make an important contribution to the field of mindfulness in education, as well as getting first-hand experience in schools.
If you’d like to help, please email us. The project will be starting in a week or so, and we are looking for volunteers who have some free time in the morning and early afternoon on week days during the next two weeks.
We look forward to seeing you at two amazing conferences coming up on the weekend of October 14-16:
Featuring a stellar lineup of speakers across a range of disciplines, and brought to you by the Stanford School of Education, the Stanford Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Association for Mindfulness in Education, this event explores the role of mindfulness in teaching and learning. Baruch Golden and Randy Fernando from Mindful Schools will be at this conference. Please use discount code “joinus” for a 25% discount on conference registration.
The Bioneers Conference is a leading-edge forum presenting breakthrough solutions for people and our planet. Don’t miss the “Re-Envisioning Education: Transforming Schools to Cultivate the Wisdom of the Young” panel on Saturday afternoon, where Laurie Grossman from Mindful Schools will be presenting.
Jon Kabat-Zinn Presents “The Role of Mindfulness in Education” on Feb. 17, 2012
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the renowned mindfulness teacher, author, and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) will present “The Role of Mindfulness in Education” at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach auditorium on Feb. 17, 2012.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn has been a friend of Mindful Schools since our inception and we are incredibly grateful to him for offering to do an event to benefit our program.
We would be grateful if you could share our flyer with people you know who might be interested. In addition, if you want to help with marketing and sponsorship, please let us know.
Using Mindfulness to Change Habits
These days we frequently see wonderful and inspiring quotes, like:
“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.”
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”
For a few moments, we enjoy the wisdom, but soon we are naturally whisked back to our busy lives… and often enough, the next time we should have applied the wisdom, we find ourselves in old reactionary patterns. And it’s not just us — children in school face a similar challenge of trying to apply what they’ve been told in the heat of the moment.
So how do we take wise quotes and actually begin to incorporate their wisdom into our lives, since they always seem to be easier said than done? Fundamentally, it’s a question of how we change habits. And we all know how hard that can be!
Fortunately, mindfulness is a perfect tool to help us change habits. Each time we practice mindfulness, we improve our ability to notice what is going on in our thoughts, our emotions, and our senses. We don’t need to start by changing anything — we simply need to notice what we are doing.
As we begin trying to change a habit, we may find that it takes hours or even days to realize that we were acting, speaking, or thinking in a way we would prefer to change. Gradually, we’ll find that the time between the incidents and our recognition of them reduces. Eventually, that time becomes so small that we catch ourselves just after the incident. The habit still hasn’t changed, but from there, we will soon find that we can actually catch ourselves before we act, speak, or think in an unwholesome way.
We may find that we are able to change the habit in certain circumstances, but not in others. That too will change — over time, we can continue to be mindful even in more stressful situations.
It’s important to realize that it’s a gradual process, which helps us to be patient and realistic. What you will find is that as your mindfulness practice strengthens, changing habits becomes easier. The more time you spend building up your capacity for mindfulness, the easier it will be to apply it when you need it most.
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Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Shapouri
We have been lucky to have many wonderful volunteers over the years who have helped us to amplify our impact many times over and to extend the reach of every dollar that’s been donated to us. We offer our unwavering gratitude to all our volunteers!
This month we want to thank Sara Shapouri, who spent an entire month volunteering for us right in our office while she was visiting the Bay Area from the East Coast! Here’s what Sara said about her volunteering experience:
“After hearing about Mindful Schools I felt compelled to volunteer as I believe mindfulness is a powerful tool that leads to well-being, and the fact that they are out there serving populations under great stress makes such a mission seem more than deserving of support. While I was there, I often worked on logistics and outreach for events, but lent a hand in a variety of matters. Aside from feeling satisfied about assisting with the day to day needs in the office, I was really touched by being able to observe Mindful Schools in the classroom and see directly the profound impact of their program.”
If you’d like to volunteer in a similar way, we would love to hear from you.
If someone you know is interested in learning more about us, please share the following links with them:
Much of the growth of Mindful Schools has occurred because of the generosity of donors and tireless support of volunteers. We are tremendously grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way. If you want to be involved, please contact us.
In addition, we are always grateful for any financial support that you or people you know may want to provide. Mindful Schools is funded by the joint efforts of grants, school contributions, and individual donors. Over 70% of the schools we’ve taught at serve predominantly low-income children and receive scholarships for the program. We also offer need-based scholarships for adult trainees.
About Mindful Schools
Founded in 2007, the mission of Mindful Schools is to transform education through mindfulness. We achieve this by offering in-class instruction, professional training, and other resources to support mindfulness in education.
Our program has used a scientifically proven technique called mindfulness to teach concentration, attention, conflict resolution, and empathy to over 11,000 children and 500 teachers in 41 schools, 71% of which serve low-income children. Mindful Schools has conducted training and workshops for over 1,500 public and private school parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals in education and social work.