Monthly Mindful Moment: Body Scan

Happy April! This month’s mindful moment is no April Fool’s joke – taking the time to intentionally scan each part of your body and notice how it feels can help us tune in to our feelings and emotions in a powerful way. And to make it more fun for kids to remember, we like to pretend that we’re using a flashlight while slooooowly and quietly singing “head, shoulders, knees and toes.” You can throw in other parts of the body, too, as you sing and shine, until you’ve gone from head to toe and back again. After you’re done, give your child a few extra quiet moments to notice how their body is feeling, and then talk about it together.

If you both like doing the Body Scan, try following along with our friend JusTme as he leads kids in a Body Scan a bit differently. You can check him out in this awesome video.  However you do your body scan, we hope that this practice helps you and your child feel more in tune with what your bodies are saying this month. Happy shining!

-Jillian & the Peace of Mind Team

Guest Blog Post: Memories of Peace Class

As I get ready to graduate from high school this spring, I find myself reflecting on memories and moments from my childhood. I remember being in Peace Class with Ms. Ryden back when I was a student at Lafayette Elementary School. At the time, school sometimes felt too loud and busy, and some days I found myself in need of a break from all the commotion.

Luckily, I was able to go to Peace Class, which offered me a welcome reprieve from the otherwise noisy school day. Not only did the class provide a calmer atmosphere, it also offered a lot of valuable conflict resolution skills. In particular, I remember learning about “green poison darts,” a metaphor meant to illustrate how hurtful words can be (insulting someone is like throwing a poison dart at them).

Although I never got in any particularly intense spats when I was younger, I did use the concepts I was taught. During disagreements with my brother, I would think back to the tools I’d learned in class in order to keep our arguments from escalating. I think it’s a testament to how useful the class was that I actually went home and practiced these skills in real-world situations, and since leaving elementary school, I’ve kept what I’ve learned about conflict resolutions in a mental toolbox.

Another important part of my toolbox is the way I practice mindfulness. Grounding myself with breathing exercises and calming thoughts helps me when things become stressful. Every day, I sit with my cat, Socks, either in my lap or perched on my shoulder, and I notice how my breathing and her purring seem in sync. I use this as a way of reminding myself to pause and relax, whether it’s been a calm day or a busy one.

I am so happy to know that mindfulness is such an important part of the Peace of Mind curriculum.  As a seventeen-year old, I can say with absolute certainty that it is incredibly valuable for young kids to have access to these skills to help them process their feelings. I hope that someday a class like the one at Lafayette’s will be taught across the world.

-by Eli Blackwell

Join the DC Area Chapter: Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully (COSEM)

We are stronger together: PoM is launching the COSEM DC Chapter, and we hope you will join our Facebook Group here.

 

We created Peace of Mind to provide resources and a community of practice for educators exploring the power of mindfulness to support their students’ social, emotional and academic development.  We know what it’s like to feel alone in your classroom, or in your home, trying to figure this out – and we don’t want you to feel that way! To keep us all connected, and to broaden our network of educators sharing mindfulness with their kids, we have just joined with the Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully to launch their new DC area Chapter!  The recent COSEM conference, co-sponsored by Mindful Schools,  Peace of Mind and many other wonderful organizations, was a rich, warm and inclusive experience full of real conversations about how to support the well-being of our children.  We’re thrilled to help support this kind of educator-to-educator dialogue and want to make sure our PoM educators and families are included in the future. So please, like our PoM page, join the COSEM DC Facebook Group, and start sharing your ideas and questions!  

Invitation:  If you are in the DC area and looking for a way to gather in person, please join us at our Parent Mindfulness Evening Wednesday, March 13th at 7 pm at Lafayette Elementary School in the Peace Room!  All welcome. RSVP teachpeaceofmind@gmail.com

Cheryl & the Peace of Mind Team

Monthly Mindful Moment: Four-Square Breathing

This month’s mindful moment features a fun breathing exercise using a square shape you trace with your fingers. Its simplicity makes it easy for kids to recall and do on their own. In fact, one of our students made a home video of herself teaching others how to do four-square breathing! We’ll let Marleigh show you this one. If you enjoy it, let her show your children how to to it, too!


Jillian & the Peace of Mind team

One Week to Go! Workshop Offerings for Budding Brains

We are officially down to the final days before our Budding Brains Mini-Conference. All registrations include a FREE copy of the Rosie’s Brain storybook by Linda Ryden, and a FREE Brain Anchor chart designed by the Peace of Mind team for teaching neuroscience to children. Just a few spaces are left –  register today at Eventbrite. 

In addition to our fabulous Neuroscientist keynote speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman, workshops at the conference will be offered by Linda. Liz, Janine, and Jillian. Read below for descriptions of their informative breakout sessions:

Teaching Mindfulness & Neuroscience to Early Childhood Students with Jillian Diesner, Ed.S., LPC – Participants will walk through several lessons from the Peace of Mind Early Childhood Curriculum with the author, using the Brain Anchor Chart, Brainy the Hand Puppet, and original scripts to help young children understand what is happening inside their brains.

Teaching Mindfulness & Neuroscience to Upper Elementary Students with Linda Ryden, Peace of Mind Founder – Participants will walk through several lessons from the Peace of Mind 3-5th grades Curriculum with the author, using the Rosie’s Brain storybook and original skits to help older children understand what is happening inside their brains.

Establishing a Personal Mindfulness Practice (for beginners!) with Janine Rudder, MA – In this interactive workshop participants will explore mindfulness principles and how they can be applied to developing a beginning mindfulness practice.

Establishing a Group Mindfulness Practice (for those who’d like to expand their own practice), with Liz Whisnant, Principal – Interested in establishing or strengthening a mindful learning practice across your school community? Join the principal of Mann ES, which began its journey a few years ago, to learn about possible models, entry points and levers for success. Participants will brainstorm positive scenarios for action in their own school communities, including pushing mindfully through obstacles in the path.

Special thanks to our sponsors for this event: