The evidence is mounting that practicing mindfulness is good for you. If you are a teacher, it is clear that what is good for you is also good for the quality of your classroom environment, student learning outcomes and social and emotional wellbeing. If you work with young children you know the importance of patience, curiosity and openness to whatever arises moment to moment. These qualities of mindfulness are at the heart of quality education.
Practicing mindfulness improves the quality of our relationships. This is largely because practicing mindfulness helps us overcome what gets in the way of quality relationships: stress and emotional reactivity, distractions, self-judgment, blaming, the list goes on. As well as reducing those things we want less of, mindfulness also has a proven record for improving concentration, focus, cognitive flexibility, emotion regulation and self-efficacy. All good reasons, backed by growing evidence, for teachers to learn and practice mindfulness for personal and professional wellbeing and for student learning: improving wellbeing, social skills and academic achievement. It's no wonder that USA and UK departments of education are beginning to invest millions of dollars in mindfulness-based programs and research.
One US Education Department study of mindfulness in thirty Chicago public schools is focused on about 2,000 K–2 students. In its first year this study is already reporting positive results indicating improvements in school culture, absenteeism, on-task behavior and emotion regulation. In another study, teachers in New York City schools participated in the mindfulness-based Cultivating and Resilience in Education (CARE) program. The results showed, among other things that "Teachers who are able to reduce the level of stress they are experiencing have an improved ability to recognize a student's perspective and how their own judgments or biases are impacting their reaction to a student".
If you're curious about how and why to bring mindfulness into your classroom, join Dr Sharn Rocco from Mindful Works Australia and Bonnie Levine from Mindful Classroom USA on Magnetic Island for the annual Bringing Mindfulness to Life at School: PD, 5–7 July.
This year, this dynamic professional development program will pay particular attention to practicing mindfulness in early childhood contexts. If you are an early childhood teacher, director, HOD, counselor or special needs educator who wants to learn skills for improving teacher and student wellbeing and learning, this professional development opportunity is for you.
Facilitators Dr Sharn Rocco and Bonnie Levine met at CARE training at the Garrison Institute New York and the follow year participated in the first CARE Facilitator training. In 2014 Sharn offered the first CARE program in Australia and Bonnie went on to co-facilitate CARE with the program founder, Tish Jennings. They are both experiences teachers and dedicated practitioners of mindfulness, committed to making mindfulness practices available to educators.
The Bringing Mindfulness to Life at School PD brings together Sharn's decades of experience as an early childhood educator and teacher educator with her practice, study and teaching of mindfulness in education, wider community and organisational settings. She is delighted that this year Bonnie will be joining her and offering her depth of first-hand knowledge of teaching mindfulness practices to young children. Offering 15 hours of self-identified PD focused on the Professional Standards for Australian Teachers engaging interactive, reflective and experiential learning to inspire and energize teachers to integrate mindfulness practices into life in the classroom.
This is a unique opportunity to combine professional learning with nurturing your personal wellbeing while enjoying the wonders of a tropical paradise.
TO REGISTER: email firstname.lastname@example.org or ph. 0458 111 373
WHEN: 5–7 July, 2016
WHERE: Magnetic Island – Picnic Bay Hotel Water Garden Oasis
COST: $455 – Registration closes 20 June