Mrs. Robin Albertson-Wren is not only a Pre-School teacher, but has also worked with our athletics teams, SKOLA and Residential Life programs, and Life Skills classes to teach mindfulness. She is the co-author of Mindfulness for Kids: 30 Fun Activities to Stay Calm, Happy, and In Control (Althea Press, 2018) and today is sharing her experiences with mindfulness and our littlest learners.
How does one practice settling one’s central nervous system as a four-year old? Well, the Pre-School students in Ms. Robin’s and Ms. Kerrin’s class practice settling their bodies and minds every morning during their “mindful sit” time.
If you come into the classroom after literacy, math and science centers, you may find 20 small learners engaged in a mindfulness practice – legs crossed, backs straight but not rigid, eyes closed, hands resting comfortably on their legs. As they listen to the sound of the vibratone (an awesome instrument that resonates a deep bell ringing), these little ones focus on their breathing in, and breathing out.
Other times you may discover them engaged in a game of “Still Chillin’” as they move wildly and then freeze in a familiar yoga pose – “mountain,” “warrior,” or “turtle.” “Let’s all do bananasana!” one friend may exclaim, demonstrating a still relaxation pose, laying down on the carpet (referring to “shavasana” from the end of a typical adult yoga class).
AlphaBreathes: The ABCs of Mindful Breathing by Christopher Willard and Daniel Rechtschaffen, as well as Robin Albertson-Wren’s own book, Mindfulness for Kids: 30 Activities to Stay Calm, Happy and In Control are terrific resources for practicing settling techniques for handling excitement, overwhelm, frustration, anxiety, guilt, embarrassment and sadness.
This focus on social emotional growth helps children begin to feel empathy and empowerment, to strengthen their gifts of communication and self-awareness, and to cultivate resiliency skills. What a gift to be able to begin incorporate self-management skills into one’s daily life at such a young age. Here’s to building awareness, deepening compassion and developing resilience, one morning at a time!