It’s the holiday season, and as 2012 approaches, it’s a great time to look at our intentions for the future. Despite our best efforts, it can be hard to practice mindfulness during the busy periods that inevitably arise.
New Year’s resolutions are a great way to strengthen our resolve, and to rebuild habits that may have deteriorated over time, like a mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness is an amazing asset for dealing with anxiety and stress, but it’s something that’s hard to implement when you need it if you haven’t cultivated it ahead of time. With it, however, we can see our minds spiraling from one thought to another as we lose sight of what is truly important.
And that is exactly why it’s worth it for each of us to spend extra energy strengthening our mindfulness practice when a new year comes around, particularly if we want to be strong role models as we teach mindfulness to children.
If you don’t already have a mindfulness practice, or if you want to revisit the basics of mindfulness, you may consider taking our Mindfulness Fundamentals course, which is available online for anyone around the world.
We wish you a very restful and happy holiday season.
The Mindful Schools Team
Tickets Available for Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “The Role of Mindfulness in Educations” Benefit for Mindful Schools 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.
It will be the first time Dr. Kabat-Zinn is giving a full public talk on mindfulness and education.
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 programs.
As we serve more underprivileged children and offer more adult scholarships each year, your financial support is more important than ever. We want you to feel as good about Mindful Schools as our staff and volunteers do. If we are falling short in some way that is important to you, please let us know via our anonymous feedback form so we can address your concern.
We look forward to seeing you at two amazing conferences coming up on the weekend of October 14-16:
On Friday, Mar. 30, Randy Fernando from Mindful Schools and Shani Keller from the University of California, Davis will be presenting the results of our large research study involving 942 children and 47 classrooms across three Oakland public schools, with randomized controls at the classroom level.
Grant Writer Job Posting
Mindful Schools is looking for someone to assist with grant writing on a contracted basis, with the goal of helping us increase our fundraising capacity. Over time, the role may grow into a part-time or full-time employee position as its value is demonstrated.
Candidates should have strong organizational skills, careful attention to detail, strong computer literacy, and good communication skills. This position requires past experience with fundraising and grant writing, as well as very strong writing skills. Having personal connections with potential funders, both foundations and individuals, is a big plus.
Here is one of the many insightful anecdotes we receive from our teachers:
“Carlos could not sit still. When teaching mindfulness in his classroom, I’d get his attention for one moment and then literally within seconds he was turning around to talk to the person behind him. This happened continuously. I work with up to 300 kids at a school in a day. By this point, I’ve realized there’s no way I’m going to remember all of the students’ names. Yet somehow, I always seem to learn the names of the “challenging” students like Carlos right away. “Carlos, please don’t …..”. You get the picture.
Children long for attention, even if it’s “negative attention”. The Mindful Schools staff helped me become aware that “being seen” was what was at play, so why not give him attention when he was being “good” or for simply being Carlos. The next day as I walked into his class, instead of walking to the middle of the room and giving the mindfulness instructions like I always did, I first walked up to Carlos. I looked him straight in the eyes and with a big smile on my face I quietly said to him, “It’s so good to see you Carlos!” With rapt attention his eyes were on me and for the remainder of the class. I did this each day I came to his class, and Carlos became my most attentive student. I saw Carlos and Carlos felt seen.
On my last day at that same school, when I arrived at one of the other classrooms, I noticed that Christopher’s chair was upside down on his desk and he wasn’t there. Christopher was another “challenging student”, and I quickly found out that he’d been sent to “detention” during school that day. Since this was my last day at the school, I wanted to have some closure with him. As I was passing through the hallway during the break, there he was in the office. It was obvious he was going through a hard time. I walked in the office and said, “Christopher, I’ve been looking all over for you.” His response was, “You have? Why?” ” I wanted to say good bye to you, today is my last day.” For 20 minutes I talked to him about what I did in his class, he couldn’t take his eyes off of me. When I got up to leave and went to my next class, there he was quietly following me like a sweet puppy dog. I saw Christopher, Christopher felt seen.
Mindfulness is about being present. When I am caught in expectations of how I want children to behave, it is difficult to be present and to stay with my highest intention and with what is actually going on in the moment. This can easily lead to frustration. Nothing works or feels right when I teach out of a frustrated state of mind. Mindfulness gives me the space to not take the situation personally and to see what is actually taking place and what is needed in that moment, instead of being frustrated and reactive. By being mindful myself as a teacher, I find students learn best; by example.
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 Anna Bullard of dotgal design, who has spent countless of volunteer hours building and maintaining our wonderful web site for us. We are so grateful for her help! Here’s what she says about her experience:
“From the first time I heard about Mindful Schools, I knew I wanted to help in any way that I could – I’m constantly inspired by the passion and drive of everyone involved, from the staff to the teachers to the administrators to the parents to the kids – and it’s so rewarding to know that I can help make a difference.”
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. All donations are fully tax deductible.
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 14,000 children and 650 teachers in 53 schools, 70% of which serve low-income children. Mindful Schools has conducted training and workshops for over 2,500 public and private school parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals in education and social work.