Today I want to help you bring a little more calm into the classroom. To do that I will tell you exactly how to introduce mindfulness in kindergarten.
In addition to being an Ontario Certified and Nova Scotia Certified teacher and a Kindergarten Specialist, did you know I am also a certified children’s yoga teacher? I am! I took a certification program with a friend of mine back in 2019 to learn more about how to teach breathing, mindfulness and postures to our littles because I was finding so much success with the yoga inspired lessons I had already been trying in my class.
And now I am sharing that knowledge on how to introduce mindfulness in kindergarten with you!
When introducing mindfulness to your littles you want to keep the experiences short, sweet and positive. My motto with mindfulness in k is always:
“Quit while you’re ahead”
What I mean by that is when we are thinking of how to introduce mindfulness in kindergarten, we don’t want to keep the exercises going to the point where our students get antsy and start to break their focus. We want to end them while everyone (or at least the vast majority) are succeeding and on task. That way we end on a positive with everyone remembering the expectations, and the feeling of calm associated with this time of day.
Slowly, you will be able to extend the time frame, but in the beginning your mindfulness sessions could be as short as 5 minutes long. Their stamina and understanding of the expectations will build, and before you know it you’ll be sitting in meditative silence with your 30 kinders for 15 minutes of bliss and your admin will walk in and be amazed and join in and you’ll feel like an absolute magician.
^Based on a true story.
We can’t just jump into that 15-minute silent circle (obviously). Here’s the order I find most successful with kinders- you might stick with one for a day, a week or even a month before trying the next thing on the list. There’s no right or wrong time commitment here.
How to Introduce Mindfulness in Kindergarten:
>>> Breathing: The first step! Teach them some breathing exercises and practice them all together as group. This circle will be short. Use these strategies when you transition throughout the day, post them in your quiet corner and remind your littles of them when they need help regulating.
>>> Mindful Moments: Start by practicing a breathing strategy to set the tone. Then, pick a prompt (like, “I feel brave when”) and have your students close their eyes and think about the question. Use a calm and slow voice and gently remind them of the prompt a few times while they are thinking. Play some calming music and use a chime to indicate when the thinking time is over. Over time, this meditative silence will lengthen and lengthen! Pass a special object around and offer the opportunity to share thinking or pass.
>>> Guided Meditation: Again, start with breathing. Then use your hands to act out a very calm and repetitive story. Have your littles silently copy your movements. Repeat the same sentences over and over again before adding on a new part of the story. 3-4 sentences is more than sufficient!
>>> Asanas (yoga postures): Finally, this is what you traditionally think when you hear “yoga” in the classroom. But, rather than the high energy of Cosmic Kids or other amazing YouTube resources, this will be an extremely slow and mindful practice. The point is to create calm more than a body break. Start with breathing and then slowly model a few poses to your class. Pause between each movement to reset and breathe again. Cap this at about 10-15 minutes max.
There are no rules on how long you should be spending on each step and I promise the slow burn is totally worth it when your solid mindfulness practice is in place!
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NEED MORE INFO ON HOW TO TEACH MINDFULNESS IN KINDERGARTEN?
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LISTEN IN TO THIS EPISODE OF KINDERGARTEN KEPT SIMPLE HERE