The Mindful Edge - Discover Mindfulness

The Mindful Edge
at R.H. King Academy
Lois Lorimer-Nunn
Teacher - Librarian
• Stepping Stones:
A Resource on Youth Development1
– Understanding youth development: Cognitive,
Emotional, Social & Physical
– Transitions, resilience, & positive supports
• Asset-focused approach includes:
– Building on strengths (positive psychology)
– Meditation
– Core concept: “Sense of self”
of Youth and Youth Services (ages 12-25)
Engaging “Self” in Youth Development
Self/Spirit – Enduring (yet changing) core
Image from Stepping Stones 2012
New Curriculum Document
• Social Sciences & Humanities (grades 9-12)
– Supporting students’ well-being & ability to learn
– Mental health, resilience, & overall well-being
• “Well-being is influenced not only by the
absence of problems and risks, but by the
presence of factors that contributed to
healthy growth and development.”
Creating a Mindful Culture
Spring 2011: The Mindful Edge ™ after-school program
Fall 2011 to present:
• The Mindful Edge for Grade 11 Leadership classes
• Action Research Study
• The Stress-Less Club drop-in sessions
• The Mindful Minute – Give Your Brain A Break
Fall 2012: Mental Health Literacy Curriculum
Fall 2013: SMART in EDUCATION™ Training for Educators
Looking at Stress
What stresses students?
2011 TDSB Student Census
A. Students’ Worries: Grades 7+8 versus Grades 9-12
What stresses students?
2011 TDSB Student Census
B. Students’ Positive Feelings: Grades 7+8 versus Grades 9-12
Social and Emotional Well-being
Grades 9-12
C. Emotional Challenges: Grades 9-12
Social and Emotional Well-being
Grades 9-12
D. Physical Symptoms: Grades 9-12
NEUROSCIENCE: Effects of chronic stress, abuse, or neglect:
– Brain’s plasticity makes it vulnerable to stress AND open to
– Energy into “stress-activated” areas of the brain at expense
of other “thinking-activated” areas
– Quick & strong physiological stress response in adolescents
because the prefrontal (regulation) cortex is immature
– “Fight or flight” response overwhelms attention, impulse
control, sleep patterns, and fine motor control
– High activation of limbic system affects perception
(Fear  Dangerous world; Calm  Peaceful world)
– Stressed brains focus us on survival, not learning and
development of social & cognitive skills
The Mindful Edge™
Stress Reduction and Life
Strategies for Teens
Goal: Empowerment – Skills for being with the ups and downs in life
Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Lesson 5
Lesson 6
Lesson 7
Lesson 8
Introduction to Mindfulness & the physiology of Stress
Foundations of Mindfulness: Mindful Attention Breath & Body
Perception & Thinking Out of the Box, Neuroscience
Mindfulness of Thoughts
Paying Attention to Emotions (Feelings) / Moods
The “About to” Moment – Making Wise Choices
Communication – Relationships: Mindful Speaking & Listening
Me to We: The Mindful Connection
Field Trip
Interconnectedness – Mindfulness of the Environment
Question #1 - Does The Mindful Edge
program improve students’ abilities to
recognize and identify symptoms of stress?
Question #2 - If so, are they adopting
more effective strategies when trying to
reduce the unhealthy effects of stress?
Scheduled Stress Lowering Clinics
Stress Less Club Clinic
Quiet Zones with Low Lighting
Benefits of Mindfulness for Students
Supports “readiness to learn”.
Promotes academic performance.
Strengthens attention and concentration.
Reduces anxiety before testing.
Promotes self reflection and self calming.
Improves classroom participation by supporting impulse
Provides tools to reduce stress.
Enhances social and emotional learning.
Fosters pro-social behaviours and healthy relationships.
Supports holistic well-being.
From Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness, A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything by Deborah Schoeberlein
Mindfulness is…..
Paying attention
to your life,
here and now,
with kindness and
Dr. Amy Saltzman
What Students Say About TME…
1. What did I learn in this program?
• I learned how to listen to others, really listen to them instead of saying
everything you want to say.
• How to eat mindfully and really savour the food you eat.
2. What’s the most important message for me?
• Use mindfulness when talking, listening, wanting to study for a test, etc.
3. How will I use what I learned in life?
• In life when someone says something I really do not like, I use mindfulness
to think about it and give a response instead of a reaction, where the
consequences may be negative.
I learned how to control my mind through stressful and horrible times.
Before when I approached a problem and it made me angry, I would be
physically violent. Now, I use these mindful skills and think before I
react to any sort of problem. Also, I have learned how to relieve the
stress and get it all out by doing mindful yoga. This course helped me a
lot and made me a better person.
The Mindful Minute
Give your brain a break……
Sit in a comfortable position with a straight
back, eyes closed or with a soft gaze.
Allowing your body to become still, as best you
Allowing your mind to settle, as best you can.
Following the feeling of the breath as you inhale
and exhale.
Breathing in…Breathing out…
If your attention wanders, as it will, gently
return your attention to the feeling of breathing
in and breathing out.
Taking three mindful breaths can help calm your
body, which can relax your mind, and help you
respond with awareness in challenging situations.
• 3-minute sitting
meditation or
“brain break”
• Music and
narration by
students with help
from The Mindful
• Teacher training
• Parent Council
• Grade 8 Transition
More Contributors to Wellness
Audioclips for Meditation
Stress-reducing Exercise
Stress Management and Relaxation Training
for Educators
• Evidence-based program
• Addresses skill gaps of educators (K-12)
• Helps professional support staff
• Fosters calmness needed by students.
Develops ability to recognize, tolerate, and transform responses to
challenging emotions through exercises and discussions connected to
the experience in the classroom.
• Develop greater emotional awareness
• Create more effective strategies for relating to difficult situations
• Apply mindfulness training to interactions with others
• Improve health and well-being.
The Mindful Edge
at R.H. King Academy
Lois Lorimer-Nunn
Teacher - Librarian

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