Football and Mindfulness?

Football and mindfulness? 

Most people wouldn’t think that football and mindfulness would really go together, but in Peace Class, you never know what will happen.  Last Monday morning my students came in even groggier than usual.  It was the morning after the Superbowl and most of the kids had stayed up much too late.  Iwas trying to think of a way to wake them up so that we could do our mindfulness practice. 

We were getting ready to do a practice adults call “noting” that we call “Popcorn” in our Peace of Mind Curriculum.  In this practice we try to count our breaths and whenever we notice that our minds have wandered away we “pop” our finger and then start counting again. It’s a fun practice that the kids enjoy, especially when I call it a mindfulness game.  We always talk about how this practice helps us to strengthen our focusing muscles so that it is easier for us to concentrate.  

“How do you think the ability to focus might have helped Nick Foles (the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback) win the game?” I asked.  Suddenly everybody was awake.  The kids had a lot of opinions but most were about the Patriots.  So I decided we needed a reenactment. Continue reading

Neuroscience and Mindfulness in Early Childhood

What can 4 and 5 year olds learn about neuroscience and their brains? As it turns out, plenty! This week we finished up our Peace of Mind Pre-K and K unit on the brain, and it never fails to amaze me how much these little brains are soaking up. When we first started out five weeks ago, the words “hippocampus” and “amygdala” were so foreign and strange on their tongues (pickle-campus and hippo-camper were two of my favorite bungles) and truthfully, felt strange to me as an educator to be teaching, too.

“Maybe this is too much for them,” I thought. “Maybe I need to slow it down a little more, or come up with cutesy phrases like “wise owl” instead of “Pre-frontal cortex.” But by the second class, I was impressed that several kids were already using their hippocampi to recall all these terms and facts after just one lesson! By the third and fourth weeks, more kids joined in with recalling the three parts of the brain we had been learning and what each part does. As the material became less novel and more familiar, our enjoyment of the content increased too.

At Peace of Mind,  we believe that this knowledge helps children better understand their emotions, behaviors, and reactions, which leads to increased self-control and self-management. Continue reading