The key to Mindfulness in the Classroom is that it really does become part and parcel of the class itself. It is not an add-on that takes extra time; but part of the everyday life and mindful learning. So, consideration needs to be made when we consider the curriculum we are bound to deliver and the life skill of mindfulness. This consideration makes you a good role model for your children as they can see that mindfulness can be part of adult life.
The practice of handwriting can be a very mindful activity as long as we take appropriate consideration to the task at hand. The rhythmic motion and repetition required for handwriting, particularly for joined-up/cursive handwriting, can lead to true focus on the present moment.
In addition, research by Indiana University has shown that the brain activity from freehand drawing action was stronger, firing off in three different areas, while the tracing and typing motions barely stimulated the brain at all.
So, Mindful Handwriting can truly develop the mindfulness development of the brain while also stimulating other areas that support academic development.
How to do Mindful Handwriting:
- Play a selection of meditation music for the length of time you want the children practicing their handwriting.
- Before picking up the pen/pencil, have the children sit up tall (as if they are a puppet with a string at the top of their head that is pulling them up straight) with their hands in their laps or on the table/desk they are to take three deep belly breaths, having them focus only on their breathing.
- Then, they are to begin writing. During the time, gently remind them to focus on the movement of the pen/pencil and the marks they are making. Encourage them to recognise the feel of the movement and the vibrations created as the pen/pencil causes friction with the paper. Encourage the same rhythmic breathing as the writing flows.
- When the music ends, have the children put down their pen/pencil, put their hands in their laps/table/desk and take three deep belly breaths.
In the beginning, you may want to have the children discuss how they were feeling during the handwriting session.
This mindfulness strategy can easily be integrated into the handwriting expectations of your class or school with no additional time required during the normal day.