The mental health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff is really important to us at Therfield First School. To support this, we teach Mindfulness techniques to all pupils from Reception to Year 4. Each week every class has a 30-minute session with Paula Vale, a specialist Mindfulness practitioner. Teachers and support staff join in with these sessions so that Mindfulness is embedded into the culture of the school.
What is Mindfulness?
‘Mindfulness is paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment without judgement.’ ‘A moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.’
Child-speak: ‘Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you are doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time. You’re focusing in a relaxed way.’
I would like to take this opportunity to share with everyone a little snippet from our weekly mindfulness sessions. Firstly I wanted to acknowledge how fantastic it is that the pupils of Therfield First School have the opportunity to have weekly mindfulness sessions. This is an invaluable life tool; helping children learn about their thinking minds, feelings, and offering techniques to calm the mind and body.
During our sessions we have been training our minds to be in the moment with the use of the meditation bell. Children have to tune into the sound of the bell and stay with it until it disappears, raising their hands when they can’t hear it anymore. This may seem like an easy skill but with a busy mind it can be a challenge not to get lost in thinking about playtime, lunch time, friends and other exciting things or troubles. We have also spent time recognising that our out breath is our relaxation breath and we have been learning our candle breathing exercise. This teaches us about breathing in through our nose and then breathing out very slowly and controlled to make the flame dance - it can be tricky not to blow it out!
I wanted to let you all know how proud I am of each and every one of your children for embracing mindfulness and doing their very best. They are amazing.
Paula Vale - Mindfulness Teacher
Our Mindfulness Garden
In October 2019 we opened our amazing Mindfulness Garden. The garden was designed specifically to be as mindful a space as possible. Artificial lawn allows the garden to be used all-year-round and the sails provide shade in the summer and shelter in the winter. A range of calming influences were chosen; colours of purple, blue and pink and shapes in circles and curves. All plants and features were chosen to encourage the use of the five senses.