Mindfulness in Education

What does Volunteering in Education mean?

A person’s formative years and their development into a happy adult are crucial to the course of the rest of their life.  Positive and influential role-models, therefore, are vital throughout the educational journey. Volunteering is needed in schools and in our educational institutions to teach children mindfulness skills.  In this way, adults will already have the tools they need when they encounter. for instance, stress or depression.

In addition, volunteering in education opens up new channels of communication and understanding.  When students see adult volunteers in their schools, they see first-hand how members of their community value education. And when a community is very involved volunteering in their local schools, more people have a better sense of the total education picture.  As a volunteer you can see how dedicated so many people are to educating the community’s youth and adult learners and contribute to their effort. More involvement in education results in better understanding, more trust building, and a commitment to even more support. School begins to feel like family!

Wakeup Schools

Wake Up Schools supports educators to bring the practices of mindfulness and applied ethics first into their own lives. Then they may be happy and free themselves, and in turn share these practices with colleagues and students in their school communities.

Find out more

Link for getting involved and to support your research:

http://www.3ff.org.uk/volunteer/ Three Faiths Forum – Volunteer

 

Personal testimonial from CoI friends who are already volunteering in the education sector:

“I had no previous experience of teaching and am surprised and delighted at how rewarding it is.  The children are very open and eager to learn and often very insightful.  Teaching in the Plum Village tradition I feel I have something very valuable and practical to offer them to give them self – confidence and to help them cope with the stresses of modern life – and stress is something that is often articulated by children as young as 9 and 10.    Whatever topic I am teaching I try to include the benefits of having understanding and compassion for oneself and for others.”

 Barbara Hickling

“Over the last few years I’ve been invited into a few local primary schools to either lead assemblies or talk to classes about Buddhism as part of their RE syllabus. With the help of Thay’s book Planting seeds, plus stories from my own experience, I’ve really enjoyed the experience of introducing children to the ideas and practice of mindfulness and meditation. My own children having very much benefitted from experiencing the practice at Plum Village and family retreats, I feel very motivated to sow the seeds of peace and compassion at an early age, and give children a few tools with which to be able to cope with the stresses of growing up. I find also that going right back to basics helps renew my own practice, and that contact with these fresh little flowers refreshes me too!”

Isabelle Wen

The children are very open and eager to learn

“I had no previous experience of teaching and am surprised and delighted at how rewarding it is.  The children are very open and eager to learn and often very insightful.  Teaching in the Plum Village tradition I feel I have something very valuable and practical to offer them to give them self – confidence and to help them cope with the stresses of modern life – and stress is something that is often articulated by children as young as 9 and 10.    Whatever topic I am teaching I try to include the benefits of having understanding and compassion for oneself and for others.”

Barbara Hickling

Leading assemblies in primary schools

“Over the last few years I’ve been invited into a few local primary schools to either lead assemblies or talk to classes about Buddhism as part of their RE syllabus. With the help of Thay’s book Planting seeds, plus stories from my own experience, I’ve really enjoyed the experience of introducing children to the ideas and practice of mindfulness and meditation. My own children having very much benefitted from experiencing the practice at Plum Village and family retreats, I feel very motivated to sow the seeds of peace and compassion at an early age, and give children a few tools with which to be able to cope with the stresses of growing up. I find also that going right back to basics helps renew my own practice, and that contact with these fresh little flowers refreshes me too!”

Isabelle Wen

'Being' with students

Currently I am working with University Students.  Stress and anxiety are now accepted as just part of the course …. for many students these are being experienced at such a level that it  becomes severely debilitating.  I have found that I have had to take each person and their situation as it presents itself on a session-by-session basis or according to the situation that presents itself in that moment

So what do I do….

  1. Maintain my own practice and be honest about when I struggle, when I avoid and when things work.
  2. Before meeting students take a minute or two to calm my mind and body
  3. Remembering that dialogue, humour and my own body language are important
  4. Employ mindfulness when listening to someone, focussing on not only what they say, but also how they say it, body language and what is not said
  5. Awareness of the emotional state of a student
  6. Use simple bits of breathing practice
  7. Help students to mindfully review their activities and priorities

Janice Yelland-Sutcliffe

Contact form for Education

11 + 7 =

under construction

We are collecting information so that you will be able to find here:

  • A description of what volunteering in education means
  • Practical advice and links for those who want to get involved
  • Personal testimonials from people who are already doing this
  • A contact-person

Some initial thoughts

  • Simple mindfulness practices (with no reference to Buddhism)
  • Every week senior staff at your local school have to think up content for assemblies.  This may be the whole school at a small primary or a year-group at a secondary school.  Running an assembly on mindfulness or Buddhism may help them out.
  • All schools will cover Buddhism as part of the curriculum, but it is rare to have a visit from a practitioner.
  • Mindfulness for stress-reduction for staff.