We started a new routine in our classroom yesterday. I told the children that I recently read several articles on how older children really benefit from starting each day with 15 minutes of silence. Their work improved, their focus was better, cooperation between students increased, and they just felt better and more relaxed as they began their day.
I told them that I would like to see if we might benefit from this practice as well. We are starting out small - just 2-3 minutes of quiet. Yesterday it went really well, but I could tell many minds were still busy. Today, we learned a mantra - something to say over and over again in our heads:
Gabrielle, Ariana's mom, has loaned me a copy of the book, Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children. I just started reading it, but I can tell already that I will need to get my own copy. It is written mostly for parents, so you may want to check it out.
We will continue to expand on this morning meditation time as a way to calmly enter the day. I'm hoping to increase the time the children can be still, and we will learn about the importance of breath. I will take the children on some visualization journeys as well.
By the way, I just heard a second grade boy walk by, saying softly to himself, "I am calm and still, I am calm and still..." I think this is the start of something big.