Since 2019 we have been introducing a high-quality mindfulness curriculum and activities across the school for pupils and staff. At Browns School we put the wellbeing of all at the heart of everything we do.
We teach a mindfulness curriculum to both junior and senior pupils adapted for the specific needs of our pupils, delivering PawsB and .B (DotB) courses. Designed by Mindfulness in Schools Project M.I.S.P
Embedding the practices and understanding some of the neuroscience which underpins it over time helps:
‘The function of mindfulness is to help us shift from automatic reactivity to responsiveness, and from avoidance patterns to a genuine willingness to meet present-moment experience as it is.’ (Feldman and Kuyken).
This helps us to respond with greater self-awareness, wisdom and care. The benefits of mindfulness are well-researched and the positive impact it can have is an important part of our school’s ethos in supporting pupil and staff well-being. The teaching is completely secular (without religiosity) and is inclusive for all.
Mindfulness is integrated with our social and emotional teaching and we hope our pupils will develop the ‘tools’ as they grow up to enable them to cope better in the world, along with the skills and perspective to perhaps contribute to positive change. The difference between mindful activities and an effective mindfulness curriculum is like saying ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach him to fish and you feed him for life.’
We offer an 8 week .Begin (Dot Begin) course to all staff to support and enhance wellbeing. Staff create the ‘weather’ in the classrooms and involvement in these programmes helps them to be more responsive in their lives and relationships with learners and learning. We also have an optional after school staff mindfulness ‘sit’ session twice per week.
Where possible we are involving families in what we are doing by sharing some of the knowledge and experience that the children are having. Secondary pupils have access to a home practice website www.dotbe.org which includes animations and audios to watch and follow.
Mindfulness forms part of a wider ‘living strategy’ for mindfulness which is developing in education, health, public services, workplaces and communities. Our work has been given greater emphasis in response to Covid-19 and youth mental health challenges.