Introductory session: Introducing the concepts of mindfulness and training the brain, and how these are relevant to student's lives.
Session 1: Directing our attention is the core skill of mindfulness. We practice focusing on the breath and the body as a way of directing our mind toward calm, and returning our attention when it wanders.
Session 2: By cultivating an attitude of acceptance and kindness towards our thoughts and feelings we develop a more harmonious relationship with them. Our practice focuses on 'being with' all experiences, pleasant or unpleasant.
Session 3: Dealing with worry and recognising negative thoughts as they arise enables us to shift our mode of mind from one of rumination and anxiety to a more relaxed state of quiet.
Session 4: Being here, now, in the present moment is the key to living our life fully. We practice shifting out of auto-pilot mode and being awake to our experience - with this fuller awareness we are able to respond consciously to life rather than react to it out of habit.
Session 5: Moving Mindfully - we learn how to bring mindful awareness to all our daily activities (walking, working, interacting with others). Our ability to be focused and present influences influences every aspect of our lives, including our performance in our work, in sport, art, music and exams.
Session 6: 'Don't believe everything you think' - we practice the skill of stepping back from the thought traffic of our mind and 'watching' thoughts from a distance. From this position we can recognise our tendency to get caught up in thoughts and make conscious choices as to our response.
Session 7: Understanding the nature of stress and the effect it has on our mind and body. We utilise all the skills we have learned throughout the course to respond better to stressful situations - learning to breathe with difficult experiences and turn towards them.
Session 8: Bringing it all together - on completing our learning journey we review the practices learned each week and reflect on what mindfulness can offer our broader lives in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens in a typical .b lesson?
Each lesson is presented with vibrant, engaging materials and focuses on teaching a particular theme of mindfulness. We practice simple, guided mindfulness exercises so that students learn new skills they can use easily at home and in their own lives. Sessions are carefully structured to allow feed back to the teacher on their practical experiences of mindfulness.
The course is accompanied by a bright and engaging Student Booklet containing worksheets for pupils to complete during or after each lesson.
After each lesson students are encouraged to have a go at a mindfulness exercise at home or in their own time before the next lesson. The Home Practice isn’t compulsory; it is left to the students to choose if and when they practice. Many do and speak enthusiastically about their experience during the week.
Is .b just for students with attention problems, emotional or behavioural challenges?
No, the course is intended for all young people to benefit from mindfulness. You may have particular students in mind who could benefit from specific aspects of learning mindfulness. For example, if attention and distraction is a problem then it may be particularly beneficial to those children by equipping them with strategies for focusing their attention and handling distraction.
Are there ways to bring mindfulness back into school life?
You may choose to set up an extra-curricular program for students who have completed .b to enable them to continue their mindfulness practice. Drop-in sessions at lunchtime or after-school provide an informal way for students to maintain their practice and offer them a peaceful space in which to pause, breathe and be still.
Is this course only for schools?
No, in fact .b as I teach it is just as successful and relevant to groups and organizations outside of schools and colleges:
Services for young people
Student referrals, young offender groups, youth engagement programs, community programs, youth clubs, young leadership programmes etc.
Sport and music groups for young people
Team sport clubs (golf, football, lacrosse, rugby, swimming, soccer, dancing) and musical performance groups.
Charities supporting young people with challenging lives at home or school, supporting young carers, young people who are ill and their siblings.
Parent support groups, youth club groups, scouts and, church groups etc.
Contact me if you would like to discuss how mindfulness and the .b program could help young people in your organization or group.
Do you offer introductory sessions, assemblies or one-off presentations?
Yes, you may like to arrange an introductory talk for students, staff and/or parents. Please contact me if you are interested in this. I also provide a Mindfulness for Parents Workshop (see below).
Can parents take part in the course?
There is often a lot of interest from parents who are enthusiastic about their child learning mindfulness and many choose to begin learning for themselves. Students get the most out of .b through learning independently within their normal peer to peer environment but I do encourage families to embrace mindfulness at home. If there is interest from parents, I can provide a Mindfulness for Parents Workshop to help parents discover what we are doing in class and show them simple practices that can be used at home for a calmer, more mindful and harmonious family life!
Do you work one-to-one with young people?
Yes. I provide personal One-to-One Mindfulness Coaching for young people either in-person or online via Skype. See this page for more information.
Do you teach mindfulness to school staff?
I am trained to deliver the 8-week CBCT (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training) course to adults.
Teachers and school staff live and work with increasing levels of stress as part of their everyday life so it is natural that they too will benefit enormously from the clarity and calm that mindfulness brings. The well-being of staff is crucial to the school as a whole and of course it impacts directly on the classroom. If you are interested in bringing mindfulness to staff at school or college, please see details of my CBCT® course and contact me for further information.
Please contact me to learn more and discuss how the .b course can fit into your organization.