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Mindfulness in local Primary Schools

Jan Grigg MSc has been invited into some local Primary Schools in Moray and Highland this year to share her knowledge of Mindfulness to a younger age group.

Having 10 years of experience teaching Secondary pupils to meditate and practice Mindfulness in a variety of settings, Jan has established a mode of sharing which seems to help pupils relax, become more self-aware and more self-compassionate. This has in turn helped them to focus on the work in hand, and get along with each other more easily.

Translating this work to younger pupils has proved to be quite easy so far. Jan has found that younger pupils are much less cynical than teenagers and if their class teacher supports them they will happily try out new ideas.

Jan has been working with one Primary school in Highland to help pupils take care of their emotional needs, helping with touching into how they are feeling, what they are worried about, what they are happy about, and practising ways to be calmer, and kinder to them selves and each other when they are experiencing difficult emotions.

The sessions have included mindful movement (like yoga), sitting meditations, lying down body scans and sharing their experiences in small groups and with the teachers. The small groups have been helping to support each other by noticing what is happening in the present moment with thoughts and stories running in their minds, sharing how they feel and taking care of their bodies. This high level of emotional, cognitive, physical and social skills are what is needed in our young people right now in line with the aspirations of the Curriculum for Excellence Health and Wellbeing outcomes. Jan has come to the conclusion that, 'Pupils need this in a very direct experiential way, as it is only through direct experience their situations change. They are learning to take care of their needs when they can and importantly ask for help when they need it most rather than suffering on their own.'

Jan acknowledges that the culture of the school, its staff and parents is critical to the success of implementation of Mindfulness practice. It seems to be hugely important that the school has a culture of nurturing over attainment, and that they need to trust that when that deep nurture is present, attainment will naturally follow.

'I have been so moved by the existing work that is happening in some local Primaries with nurture groups and emotional literacy lessons -pupils are becoming emotionally fluent together in a language of safe expression many adults have never experienced; when this is there already it is easy for me to bring in the Mindfulness to deepen this work. I am inspired by these young people and their dedicated teachers and staff and I have been quite moved by their willingness of everyone involved to be authentic, real and take care of each other..' Jan shared with the Primary teachers who she has worked with so far.

Another Primary school in Moray requested Mindfulness sessions for a whole class. Pupils enjoyed themselves in the school hall doing yoga on proper yoga mats, stretching, reminding their bodies to breathe a little more deeply. Jan explained the Biology of mindful movement and the Science behind why they benefit from all the meditation activities she shared. They did sitting meditations as they 'train to be like a strong-minded warrior', sitting with straight spines and notice their breath, counting as they went, paying attention in close detail to one breath at a time, training their attention skills. They finished the session by choosing cards which represented how they were feeling and some shared how they were right then, and this bonded the class in a new way. The teachers and support staff who took part in the session and all shared that they were feeling more refreshed and calmer than when they came in (job done).

Jan is very happy to come to your school if you are interested in finding out more about Mindfulness for your class in Secondary or Primary.

Jan and Elke also do staff training in groups for adults.

Call Jan Grigg on 07855 926645

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