Mindful Teaching

Mindful TeachingWhy do students need a mindfulness practice?

Let’s take an honest look at what life is like for youth these days. Our kids are growing up in a fast – paced, high pressure world. We find ourselves in uncharted territory with students who are expected to learn and thrive while being bombarded with more stimuli and fewer resources.

Brain science has taught us that we can not learn when our nervous system is stressed, or when we are in a state of fight, flight or freeze. Research has identified these states of chronic stress in the majority of youth. Educators are challenged to teach core curriculum. There is not much opportunity to support youth in learning how to learn.

What is a mindfulness practice?

Mindfulness has been successful in medicine, psychology, corporate environments, professional sports, and now in education. For over 30 years, neuro-science based mindfulness practices have been taught beginning with the work of Dr. Jon Kabat – Zinn. There are over 2,300 publications on mindfulness in scientific journals; with over 40 new studies being published monthly. This evidence based practice is being welcomed in more settings, and especially in the school systems.

Mindfulness has been clinically documented as an effective modality to address pain, illness, insomnia, depression, stress, anxiety and more. Mindfulness engages the prefrontal cortex of the brain and calms the amygdala. This practice allows youth to understand how their brain works and gives them concrete tools to stop the stress hormones and return to a sense of well being.

The positive benefits of mindfulness include increased physical and mental ease, increased resonance with others, and improved ability to focus with calm awareness. Mindfulness cultivates curiosity and the ability to observe in detail. Students benefit from the self calming and stress relief offered through a mindful practice.

How is mindfulness taught?

Our Mindfulness program is drawn from the curriculum taught by Mindful Schools. Mindful Schools is an Oakland based non-profit founded in 2007. As of fall 2012, they have taught over 20,000 students and 5,000 educators, mentors and parents.

Mindfulness is taught in short sessions, 15 – 20 minutes each, twice a week for eight weeks. Specific tools are introduced for students to gain increased awareness, increased focus and the capacity to be in the moment with kindness and curiosity. Students who practice mindfulness learn how to respond instead of react and to practice compassion with self and others.

Mindful Compass founder Sally Arnold, has completed the year long certification program with Mindful Schools. With her background in nursing, psychology, and as a parent of four children, she is passionate about taking mindfulness into the schools. While teaching this curriculum, Sally has been touched by the willingness of the students to learn mindfulness, the depth of engagement from the students and teachers, and the feedback from parents revealing how much this practice has improved the lives of their children and their families.

Work With Sally, click here to send her a message today!



“Sally has brought a new experience to my life. I used to be a stressed out kid in a lot of pain. After the 8 weeks of class I have been given a chance to feel a lot calmer.”   Acacia, 5th grade.

“One day I got mad at my sister and mindfulness helped calm me and keep me from staying mad”   Austin, age 11

“Mindfulness means that you are giving yourself a chance to see the world like you’ve never seen it before. My life has been a lot easier since I learned mindfulness.’  Kenzie, 6th grade

“Our students wrote letters to Sally telling how the experience changed them and all were very positive.” Principal Ron Hamilton

“Sally taught me many things about mindfulness. My most favorite was when she taught us about our amygdala, our caveman brain that triggers responses like hitting when we are mad, running and hiding when we are scared, or crying when we are sad. Learning mindfulness has made a great impact on my life.” Audrey, 6th grade

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