Why Mindfulness Matters in Education

Glen Urquhart School in Beverly MA

Research has proven that practicing mindfulness-based meditation and yoga in the classroom improves students’ focused attention and self-awareness, which contribute to academic success. Mindfulness-based practices also offer measurable health benefits and can reduce anxiety and depression. These valuable activities have become part of the daily routine in the second grade at Glen Urquhart School. Every day, after morning meeting, second graders move through yoga sequences, usually led by one of the students. They end each day with a three to seven minute guided meditation, also often student led.

According to second grade teacher Elliott Buck, “Mindfulness-based meditation directly supports and enhances the school’s Open Circle social/emotional curriculum. The practice helps with problem-solving, self-monitoring, and compassion. It gives children a sense of belonging and a healthy routine. We are teaching our students lifelong skills and habits for coping and, ultimately, for succeeding in life.” Buck believes that practicing mindfulness on a daily basis has really brought the class together and encouraged the kids to trust and support one another. She adds, “Students become more comfortable taking academic risks and selfmonitoring their behavior. It raises self-esteem, and it’s fun!”

Each second grader wrote their own guided meditation script. They collaborated, tested them out on each other, and led the entire school in a guided meditation at a recent all-school assembly. They also shared their guided meditations with the seventh graders in their life skills class. Buck points out that meditation can be particularly helpful to upper school students, who are learning to manage stress around social challenges, anxiety, testing, and exams.

In upper school, GUS faculty are intentionally discussing and incorporating mindfulness techniques and practices in the classroom, particularly in life skills and in x-blocks, but also as a way to start classes or to prepare for an assessment. Director of Upper School Gretchen Forsyth comments, “We want to make sure that we provide kids with healthy, alternative ways to reduce stress so that they can thrive both inside and outside of school.”
“Extensive research has proven that mindfulness training integrates the brain and strengthens the important executive functions that support emotional and social intelligence as well as academic success,” explains leading neurobiologist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., clinical professor and author of The Mindful Brain.

When they meditate, the second graders either lie down or sit on a block. They are asked to visualize a setting, such as a beach, and then go there in their mind. Each student has a “peace rock,” which they use in their mindfulness practices. They also gave a peace rock to each of the seventh graders, along with strategies for how to use the rocks.

Listen here: http://vocaroo.com/i/s1u9EesSAuPQ

“This is all student-driven,” comments Buck. “Meditating is learning how your mind and body work. The practice improves relationships and increases focus and understanding. And the
kids are really excited about it.” She gave each of her students a small LED candle to use at home. Parents share with the teachers how their children are practicing mindfulness and how much it calms them at the end of busy and sometimes stressful days.

Mindfulness starts in kindergarten and first grade at GUS with breathing techniques. First grade teacher Marnie Potish attended a mindfulness workshop at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, this past summer. The workshop was led by Daniel Rechtschaffen, founding director of Mindful Education, a mindfulness and social/emotional learning platform for educators and family therapists. The idea behind the workshop was that adults who practice mindfulness can share the techniques and transform the experience of children. Rechtschaffen identifies the following learning objectives that can be improved through mindfulness:
1. Executive functioning
2. Emotional self-regulation
3. Metacognition
4. Focused attention
5. Empathy
6. Stress reduction
7. Self-compassion

The teachers explain to the second graders that there are no right or wrong ways to meditate and that it’s okay if they don’t want to participate, but students are usually eager to join in. “Even the most restless child can learn to do this,” confirms Buck. “We do body scans of how the kids feel when they’re stressed and talk about the techniques they can use to slow down and be more aware of what’s going on around them.” Buck adds, “They are learning to calm different kinds of emotions and to develop healthy habits.” Other ways they are practicing mindfulness are mindful eating and guided walking meditation on Glen Urquhart’s nature trails.

“Our walks help kids who are impulsive and might have trouble sitting still.” She and Maggie Clark and other teachers who work with the second graders see the results, noting that the students are more connected, focused, calm, and happy.

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

AJH: Mother & Baby Support Class - Newburyport

Mother & Baby Support Groups at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport MA
Mother & Baby Groups Anna Jaques is pleased to offer free group classes for all mothers in our community to provide support, encouragement and advice on parenthood and answer questions that arise after going home. Mother & Baby Groups are facilitated by a Lactation Consultant/Registered...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

See The Addison’s Model Ship Collection - Andover

Addison Gallery of American Art Andover MA. Addison Gallery of American Art
Families are invited to explore The Addison Gallery's famed model ship collection, permanently installed in the building's lower level, consisted originally of 24 works commissioned by the museum's founder, Thomas Cochran, to document four centuries of American history.
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

MFA: Mark Rothko: Reflection

Museum of Fine Art Mark Rothko Exhibit
An immersive display of 11 masterpieces by Mark Rothko (1903–70), on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., invites visitors to contemplate the power of art to shape human experience. Opening on September 24, don’t miss “Mark Rothko: Reflection,” an immersive display of 11...
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Public Skate and Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

Arts and Crafts for Little Ones with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh

Art Classes for children with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh
Certified Montessori teacher, artist and local mother, Colleen Apostolos-Marsh will guide your young artist in an exploration of color, shape, and texture. Using a variety of media, your child will be free to express their in a beautiful space while socializing and engaging in cooperative play.
10:15 am to 11:15 am

Glen Urquhart School Middle School Voices. Student Perspecitives, Empowerment, and Action

Glen Urquhart School in Beverly MA
Glen Urquhart School is hosting a special discussion about the importance of school climates and empowering the voices of youth. Glen Urquhart School is pleased to welcome Harvard School of Education lecturer and author Gretchen Brion-Meisels to campus on May 22 for “Middle School Voices: Student...
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Wednesday, May 23

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

MFA: Mark Rothko: Reflection

Museum of Fine Art Mark Rothko Exhibit
An immersive display of 11 masterpieces by Mark Rothko (1903–70), on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., invites visitors to contemplate the power of art to shape human experience. Opening on September 24, don’t miss “Mark Rothko: Reflection,” an immersive display of 11...
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Public Skate and Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

See The Addison’s Model Ship Collection - Andover

Addison Gallery of American Art Andover MA. Addison Gallery of American Art
Families are invited to explore The Addison Gallery's famed model ship collection, permanently installed in the building's lower level, consisted originally of 24 works commissioned by the museum's founder, Thomas Cochran, to document four centuries of American history.
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Arts and Crafts for Little Ones with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh

Art Classes for children with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh
Certified Montessori teacher, artist and local mother, Colleen Apostolos-Marsh will guide your young artist in an exploration of color, shape, and texture. Using a variety of media, your child will be free to express their in a beautiful space while socializing and engaging in cooperative play.
10:15 am to 11:15 am

PEM Pals

PEM has a story time in the museum just for kids under 5! Salem, Massachusetts
Heather Tharpe, also known as the Toddler Whisperer, leads the weekly interactive programs at Peabody Essex Museum PEM Pals with songs, movement, music, art, books and hands-on activities is designed specifically for presc
10:30 am to 11:30 am

Nature Trail Adventures: Imagine + Create. A Preschool Program at GUS

Preschool programs in Beverly MA at GUS
Together we will hike out on the GUS Nature Trail and discover new areas each day as we explore the woods. We will let our imagination + sense of wonder lead us as we use open-ended materials to play and express ourselves creatively in our natural surroundings. We will build homes and invented...
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

AJH: Mother & Baby Newborns: 0-3 Months

Mother and Baby, Newborn Support Groups aAnna Jaques Hospital
MOTHER & BABY GROUPS Anna Jaques is pleased to offer free group classes for all mothers in our community to provide support, encouragement and advice on parenthood and questions that arise after going home. Formerly named Lactation Support Groups, the Mother & Baby Group is facilitated by a...
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Yappy Hour 4 Part Doggie Social Hour Series

Things to do with Dogs at MarketStreet Lynnfield MA
  Bring your 4 legged friend and meet us on The Green at MarketStreet Lynnfield for 2 hours of Complimentary Doggy Ice Cream, Dog-Friendly Vendors, A Doggy Kissing Booth, Giveaways and more!
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Evening Stroll at Maudslay

Enjoy and evening stroll with the park interpreter at Maudlsay State Park in Newburyport
Join the park interpreter for a moderately paced walk to view different areas of the park and experience the changes at Maudslay over the spring, summer and fall.  Rain or shine. For ages 6 and up.  Wear walking shoes, and bug spray is recommended.
6:30 pm to 7:30 pm