The benefits of bringing Mindfulness into the classroom

Elmhurst School for Boys

24th November 2017 | Headmaster's Blog

It was an absolute pleasure to have witnessed the wonderful performances of the Year 5 and 6 boys in the Poetry and Music Evening, yesterday. For those of us who were there, it was an opportunity to see all of the boys’ amazing talents and how they have been nurtured throughout their time here at Elmhurst, as well as at home. It takes tremendous dedication and commitment to be able to perform in public with such confidence on a musical instrument. It also requires grit and determination to stand in front of your parents and the parents of your peers to deliver a poem as a performance. I was very pleasantly surprised with the passion and pleasure with which many of the boys delivered their performances. Having taught Physical Education all of my career, I have not always known that some boys have ability in music or public speaking and it is a joy to see other skills and abilities that have been nurtured in other areas of the curriculum. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the boys for entertaining us so wonderfully last night.

The preparation and delivery of the Poetry and Music Evening may have been a welcome distraction for the boys in Years 5 and 6, from the stresses and strains of life in the most important and yet stressful academic years of their schooling lives, so far. However, the fact remains that they are working very hard on preparing for their futures, which in itself, can provide a source of anxiety and pressure. Meeting deadlines and working hard is one thing, but dealing with the effect of this anxiety and pressure, is another. Each individual boy will deal with these pressures in their own way but it is not always easy to know or understand how to deal with them, when you are only nine or ten years old. This is where our support as parents and educationalists can help our boys to cope. At Elmhurst, we have been very mindful of our role in what we are delivering inside and outside of the classroom, to provide our boys with strategies to support those coping mechanisms and Mindfulness is an area that we are now bringing into the curriculum to support this.

The mind can become full of all of the different areas of responsibility we have. The boys may be thinking about the Football tournament they are playing on Saturday, the homework that they haven’t yet done or the interview they are going to have with the Headteacher of their secondary school of choice. There are so many different things to deal with that the mind can become ‘cloudy’, it is difficult to know what to prioritise and the pressure mounts. I am sure this situation will sound familiar to many of you reading this blog. So, how do the boys cope with the stresses and strains of preparing for life in the 21st century? Well, one aspect of the curriculum that we have introduced is Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation. I urge you to talk to your boys about Mindfulness and what they have been learning about this, in the classroom. The experience of meditating to gain clarity in your mind through an understanding of Mindfulness, enables emotions and thoughts to have space to clear and allow us to make better decisions and see things as they really are. Mindfulness in the classroom, as a part of our curriculum, is an important way of nurturing the boys through this difficult time in their academic lives.

We should all try Mindfulness meditation sometime!

- Mr. A J Padfield

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