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Our group of about 14 children aged 2 to 5 1/2 years sits every morning in silence with one adult sitting with them, verbally guiding them (in a light way) to be aware of their posture and breathe, and another helping them readjust their bodies with a gentle touch when needed. Anyone doing something like this and wants to share ideas?

Edited by Wildflowers

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interested in why - a form of mindfulness meditation perhaps?

How long do the children sit like this?

What benefits have you seen?

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Perhaps it's that, which I read today is increasingly being used in primary schools: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/oct/23/mindfulness-school-lessons-pupil-stress) though I don't want to call it that. If anything, possibly just 'being still and silent'.

It's about experiencing 'being' without 'doing', and be attentive and aware in that - to just observe what is going on. Children are processing so much that comes to them from the outside, so just having a break from all the stimuli may be helpful for that processing.

We always had a moment of silence to collect ourselves, before resting and eating, which we do as a group. We also stop and listen occasionally to sounds in the environment when in the woods. This silent sitting is an extension of that.

However, it came about a few weeks ago from a different place. When seeing some deferred children sitting slumped, I was thinking that it was part of my responsibility to help them gain strong back muscles so they can sit upright when writing at school. When reminded to hold their back straight, some children's shoulders went up. So we started to lift and drop our shoulders a few time, whilst holding the back posture. That was the challenge for a week or two. Then I asked them to see how it felt to close their eyes. Some scrunched up their face, so had to be reminded to keep it soft. Then I added awareness of the breath and listening, and to stay still with eyes closed even if hearing something or someone nearby.

Some mornings the focus is on the breath - to fill the 'air bags' and then let out the air slowly, and on other it is on the small muscles in the face or on the sounds around us - what they may be and if they get louder or quieter.

I assume that all this fosters body awareness, self-regulation and listening skills, and perhaps awareness of one's feelings and sensitivity to other people and the environment.

What I have noticed in this short time is that the children settle and adjust their bodies quicker and that the stillness and silence can be held for longer. They also get up and get on with the next thing in a more orderly and calm manner.

Edited by Wildflowers
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Thats really interesting Wildflowers. I have been thinking of introducing yoga or some sort of relaxing mindfulness with some of our little tribe.

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I lead a few guided meditations last year at a summer camp with some slightly older children (6-8) at bed time to help them relax and explore their imaginations and minds, as well as for a bit of fun. It worked really well and even the most fidgety children fell asleep much sooner than normal. I can't quite remember what I used, but I searched for guided meditation scripts online, read a few, and then made it up as I went along with what I had read as a backbone. I hope this helps

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Interestingly there was an article about this in The Observer yesterday:

 

Close your eyes and breathe: schools sign up to mindfulness

 

I'm really interested in this - particularly thinking about those children who come in each day having had a bit of a hectic start to the morning. When I did the PEAL training several years ago we spent a lot of time thinking about how we, as practitioners, forget the different morning experiences that children have. We then discussed and considered whether it was fair for us to expect them to behave in the same way as each other when they arrived - such mindfulness experiences as a way of settling children and 'grounding' them into the new day would be really helpful. I'm going to talk about this with my manager and see if it's something we could introduce with our pre-school group at nursery.

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Think I may need to teach it to some of the staff first!!

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Think I may need to teach it to some of the staff first!!

I know that was said in jest but actually it might be beneficial all round! - I know some days I arrive at work having had issues with my children or that the traffic was bad and to look forward to a gentle 'sit' might be absolutely the best thing ...

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