NDNA Member Shardlow Hall Day Nursery has launched a 'mindfulness curriculum' for children at the nursery.
In this blog post by Shardlow Hall Nursery, they tell us what this means, and how they've implemented it.
Firstly, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, and not thinking/living in the past or future. That's it.
People misinterpret mindfulness all the time and think that you have to be religious, meditate for hours each day or join a cult! It’s nothing like that. There are no religious connotations and you don't actually have to give up much time at all.
It’s a mind-set change and it’s all about gently reminding your brain to stay in the present and can also support your mental health.
The benefits can be felt by anyone at any stage of their life and it has been introduced to nurseries, schools and workplaces across the world with the aim of improving self-awareness, focus and empathy, whilst at the same time reducing anxiety.
A 'Mindfulness Curriculum':
We started to introduce the idea of beginning a 'Mindfulness Curriculum' into our nursery at the end of March 2019 and had such a great response from both parents and staff.
Studies show that these programmes work best when children, parents and staff/teachers are all trying mindfulness together, so our first priority was to get everyone on board to give it a go.
We started off by having an initial staff meeting and a launch event with parents/carers and Michael (the specialist who is working with us throughout our new 'Mindfulness Curriculum'), where they we’re able to ask any questions and get a better insight into our vision for mindfulness.
We also have regular meetings with our staff and Michael to further our training and work together to make future plans/activities.
The staff used activities
found online and in books to begin with, but it was when they sat together and used their own imagination that they came up with completely unique activities
or our nursery and children.
The staff have all given mindfulness a go at home and have said many positive things about how it has helped them.
It was so important for us to get the staff involved just as much as the children because of the benefits on staff well-being.
We’ve been amazed by our parent’s response as they’ve all tried activities set for them at home and have taken many positives from them.
We’ve added simple activities into our daily routine here at nursery and set activities/events for the staff and children to complete. We also asked parents to try different activities and set them weekly challenges at home.
Mindfulness activity ideas for nurseries:
Many people don’t realise how simple mindfulness actually is. Here are a few activity ideas
for your to try at your nursery:
This activity promotes deep breathing and is wonderful for when children need to pause, take a deep breath and relax. The children have learnt to do this at nursery and many have given it a go at home too! See photos here.
We set a ‘Mindfulness Walk Week’ where the children we’re given a simple activity sheet to complete at a location of their choice. See photos here.
The activity sheet encouraged children to think about what they could see, hear, smell, taste and touch and also challenged them to find objects of a specific colour.
The objective of the ‘Mindfulness Walk Week’ was for our families to go out and concentrate solely on what was going on around them because when you are thinking about the present moment you can’t dwell on the past or worry about the future.
We had amazing feedback from this and so many families got involved!
We also held a ‘Senses Week’ where we explored all of our five senses and did a range of activities to promote the awareness of them. See photos here.
The activities included scent pots and texture bags which we’re very successful!
We can incorporate mindfulness into all aspects of our lives and our children’s lives by simply concentrating on what is going on right in front of us. We are truly lucky to have such amazing families on board with us at our nursery and we are so pleased with how it has improved our parent partnerships. We are so excited to continue with our mindfulness vision and hopefully spread the word to others!
If you would like to ask us any questions or would like the details for Michael please contact us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org