More and more research is showing the impact mindfulness, movement, and holistic wellness can have on students’ physical and emotional health, social skills, and academic performance. Specifically, studies have linked mindfulness to improvements in self-awareness and self-regulation, boosts in working memory, focus, and cognitive flexibility, and reductions in stress and anxiety. Brookwood faculty implement a variety of mindful practices to strengthen developmental processes—such as focus, resilience, and self-soothing—which are critical building blocks for healthy lifestyles.
Many teachers at Brookwood weave mindfulness—defined by meditation expert Jon Kabat-Zinn as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”—into daily classroom routines for their students. All across our school, students are participating in, and in some cases leading, mindfulness practices: first graders tap thumbs with each finger, simultaneously repeating the words “peace-starts-with-me,” fifth graders engage in 10-minute guided meditations, and early childhood students use calming “belly breath” strategies.
While mindfulness and a holistic approach to wellness are not new to Brookwood, there has never been a more important time to invest in, and focus on, children’s wellness and mindfulness than right now. The reports and articles on the mental and emotional impacts of the pandemic are endless. Even with Brookwood remaining open throughout the pandemic, and partnering with parents to support the needs of each child, there is no denying the pandemic has been challenging for all of us, our children are no different.
That’s why we recognize our critical responsibility to prioritize student health and wellness and have plans to bolster our work to holistically support our community. We will increase both our capacity and skills to support the growing needs of students through mindfulness and movement. Below, you’ll find the central tenets of our initiative:
- Providing a dedicated space for mindfulness and movement, and creating time in our schedule for designated mindfulness curriculum.
- Increasing our counseling services available for children and families.
- Employing a children’s mindfulness and movement expert to provide programming and curricular support.
- Along with developing a well-sequenced Early Childhood – Grade 8 program, we will deepen our parent partnership through a complementary parent education program focused on parenting skills and aspects of healthy child development to empower families to better navigate challenges at school, at home, and in the world.
Because, when we teach mindfulness and wellness to kids, we give them the tools they need to build confidence, cope with stress, and relate to uncomfortable or challenging moments. The earlier we do so in their young lives, the greater the opportunity to help them cultivate resilience and develop and refine their practices as they mature.
Thank you for partnering with us and supporting this imperative initiative.