Mindful Aotearoa: helping Waikato kids to pause, breathe and smile

23 Jun, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

Mindful Aotearoa is holding a free afternoon presentation on Thursday 7 July in Hamilton for education professionals to find out how its unique Pause, Breathe, Smile (PBS) 8-week mindfulness in schools programme can increase resilience and wellbeing for Waikato students and teachers.

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to what is immediately occurring with kindness and curiosity. Supporting children to practise mindfulness helps them to build awareness and develop focused attention. It is a skill that boosts cognitive performance and builds resilience.

Thanks to generous funding from Trust Waikato, the DV Bryant Trust and the WEL Energy Trust, Mindful Aotearoa can exclusively offer:

  • Significant subsidies to decile 1-5 primary and intermediate schools in the Waikato region to implement the Pause, Breathe Smile mindfulness in schools programme in their school (subject to facilitator availability)
  • Scholarships to Waikato educators to undertake Mindful Aotearoa’s professional development pathway, allowing them to become accredited Pause, Breathe, Smile facilitators and to teach the programme to their students
  •  A 50% subsidy on Mindful Aotearoa’s online Foundations of Mindfulness course which introduces participants to mindfulness and teaches them to let go of tension and stress, focus attention, and be kinder to themselves and others.

Nawton School, a decile 2 primary school in Hamilton, has seen such impressive results from PBS that they aim to implement the programme in every classroom in their school.

“We’ve seen it positively impact children in our junior, middle and senior schools, and in all of our classes, whether they’re taught in English, Maori or a mixture of both,” Nawton principal Rubina Wheeler says.

“The teachers who have enrolled in the programme have all seen improvements in their classroom culture. They’ve noticed the children are more settled, and the teachers themselves have personally benefitted from some of the strategies mindfulness has taught them.”

Teachers have also noted that teaching mindfulness to children has been a useful tool in helping children to self-manage their behaviour and focus on their learning.

“Mindful Aotearoa fits nicely into the strategies we use to help empower students to succeed,” Ms Wheeler says. “We’re seeing real benefits to the children – it teaches them to focus their attention on their school work.

“We’re also noticing that the children are persevering when they meet challenges, not just when they encounter challenging behaviour from others but also when they’re finding learning difficult. When it’s hard, mindfulness gives them the skills to keep trying.”

Event details:
Date: Thursday 7 July
Time: 4pm–5.30pm
Venue: Link Community Centre, Hamilton
Refreshments provided

Visit www.mindfulaotearoa.nz to RSVP and for more information, or download this brochure.

Mindful Aotearoa is part of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.