Connecting Our Bodies and Minds Through the Breath
Mindfulness lessons give young students tools to prevent, recognize and address issues from a state of calm self-awareness. Part of our Heartstrings program, these classes offer simple techniques to get through times when emotions run high. In a recent session with Lower School guidance counselor Ms. Karin Mitchell, second graders practiced mind, body, and breath awareness activities based on natural movements with visualization. Live well, be well no matter what age!
What Does Respect Mean to You?
Ms. Mitchell began the lesson by asking our second graders to think about what respect means to them. They discussed the formal definition of respect, used the “Think, Turn, & Tell” thinking routine to share with each other and the class, and watched a Sesame Street video with examples of what respect looks like for young children. They also created a list of guidelines for communication and behavior to set expectations for kindness and respect during their sessions. Developing these guidelines together fosters feelings of belonging and community where everyone feels heard and valued.
Moving the Body With the Breath
At the end of the class, Ms. Mitchell led her students through two mindfulness activities, "Gentle Breeze" and "Tree." Moving slowly in pace with the breath introduces feelings of calm, relaxation, and safety. When we teach children to pay attention to their breath, and how to breathe fully and deeply, we are familiarizing them with the effects of the parasympathetic nervous system. These are powerful tools to improve focus, self-regulate, and self-soothe. Most of all, students truly enjoy the activities and often recreate them in their own way.
"Four students wanted to share their breath awareness practices. Timmy shared one he named Blooming Flower, Cooper shared Shark Fin, and Stella shared Tree Growth. Edison shared one he named Ninja Slice. It was truly inspiring to see these children embrace the practice of deep breathing to bring calmness and peace to themselves…and then share with their classmates!" — Ms. Mitchell
Try the "Tree" practice at home!
What Is Heartstrings?
Heartstrings is a series of classes devoted to character development and wellness in which students develop strategies to deal with academic and emotional challenges, manage their own learning, and help their peers. It's about creating a community of shared integrity with appreciation, support, and respect for others and ourselves. Session topics include: