Join Us For #PositivePostItDay 2020

Attention!
#PositivePostItDay is coming!
14th February 2020

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Have you heard of Positive Post It Day? Maybe you have and maybe you haven’t. That is ok.

A few years ago, a young lady in Canada called Caitlin Haacke, decided to take a stand against bullying. She tells her story On Tedx here: http://youtu.be/cElB84gf6uc.

She single handily has started a movement of positivity that is sweeping the world. Her belief that positivity begets positivity that began as an anti-bullying campaign, has led to children and adults alike considering their words carefully and filling the world with kindness, love and appreciation.

The impact of this young lady’s simple idea can be seen in this news report, http://youtu.be/0zLteIn7IS0 and this compilation video of the positive post it notes written in one day, http://youtu.be/87RC1NQgPzQ.

I have been left in awe by the inspiring, clearly mindful activity of gratitude, that has begun. It fits very clearly within my Mindfulness in the Classroom series, particularly Gratitude. These little Random Acts of Kindness can spark a change and belief in the compassion of humankind.

In schools, this is a perfect circle time, PHSCE lesson or Mindfulness activity. In work places, it is a mindful activity that encourages good mental health and well being.

Thus, I purpose we all join Caitlin in her a Positive Post Its and declare together, Friday 14th February 2020, #PositivePostItDay . (It seems fitting to celebrate this day on Valentine’s Day.)

How can you participate?

1- Share this post with others and tweet, Face Book, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc letting others know about the day. Get it out there! Let me know you are joining us.

2- On the day, no matter where you are (schools, work, businesses, home, online, etc), create and share Positive Post It Notes (Be sure to watch the videos if you want some ideas.).  

At my school, every person gets AT LEAST 2 post it notes. They write one about someone else and one about themselves. We also open our doors before school to parents/Carers to write their own notes. Breaktime and lunchtimes are also times we have post it note stations and children can write even more notes.

3- Stick the notes on the walls, windows, books, online social media feeds, ANYWHERE!

4- If you share them online, make sure you tag them as #PositivePostItDay. Let’s paper the world in positivity one post it note at a time!

Here is what #PositivePostItDay2016 looked like:

https://educationsvoice.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/positivepostitday-a-growing-mindfulness/

Time to stock up on Post It notes!

Mindful Art Appreciation- Mindfulness in the Classroom

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According to the “Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017”, published by NHS Digital, one in eight (12.8%) of children and young people aged between five and 19, surveyed in England in 2017, had a mental disorder.

We need to be clear, the development of mindfulness strategies will not make stress in our lives disappear or cure the pressures in our lives.  However, it will give us the tools that we can access to find a moment of calm that allows us to react more positively to the stresses we face. 

Giving these tools to our children gives our children a chance to cope with life and take control of their emotions.

Art, the creation and appreciation, is something that gives many people moments of mindfulness.  Helping children to practice Mindful Appreciation of Art places another tool in their Positive Mental Health Tool Kit.

Mindful Appreciation of Art in the Classroom- How to Guide

-Select a piece of art.  It can be a drawing, painting, photograph or sculpture.  It can be a picture of a piece of art or it can be the actual piece of art.

-Play a selection of meditation music for the length of time you want the children to meditate. Usually this is one minute per year of age, ie 6 years old= 6 minutes

-Children are to sit or stand comfortably and take three deep belly breaths.

-They are to look at the artwork, focusing on the centre of the design while still breathing at a steady rate.

-Gently guide the children in a soft voice, letting them know it is ok for their gaze to wonder to other parts of the art, noticing the designs, colours and ways the lines meet each other. As the meditation comes towards the end, encourage them to focus back on the centre.

-In the last 30 seconds of the meditation, have the children close their eyes and get them to recreated the design in their mind, continuing even, steady breaths.

-Complete the meditation with three deep mindful belly breaths

Note:  Once taught,  you can use this strategy when you actually go to an art museum.

Find more mindfulness strategies can be found in the books:

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness In The Classroom,  

50 Fantastic Ideas for Mindfulness or on www.educationsvoice.wordpress.com

Mindful Remembrance

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As a new year begins, my thoughts have turned to this interesting concept of counting time…. seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years. The flow of time gathers speed as we get older. A year once felt like an eternity when we were young now speeds ahead like the a bullet train. We wish away time to then wish for it to stand still.

Practicing mindfulness allows us to develop our ability to be present and be mindful of moments in time. Mindful remembrance of our lives allows us to reflect and, momentarily, suspend time and rejoice in moments in our lives.

Finding ways to have moments of positive Mindful Reflection can support  mental health and wellbeing; allowing you to enjoy and re-enjoy moments in time.

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 Daily/Weekly Journals allow for frequent moments of solitary reflection. The entires do not have to be long and can be just sentence fragments or words. This does not matter. What matters is the giving yourself space to be in the moment. If you have trouble waddling in the negatives in life, make the journal a “positive only” journal so that you can start to develop a habit of positivity, no matter how small the positive may be.

 Take Five– At the end of each day, as you ready yourself for bed, count down five good things that have happened in the day. Give yourself a few minutes to reflect on those positives and allow yourself to smile at those moments.

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Remembrance Jar– This is a great one to do as a family or as an individual. Get a jar and stuff it with tickets, receipts, notes and wristbands from all the things you and your family have been up to during the year. At the end of the year, empty it all out and talk about the year just gone and all the memories it has generated.

You may choose to do this at the start of a new year and is a great activity of Mindful Reflection to do on New Year’s Day. However, it can be started at any time; a birthday, an anniversary or other momentous occasion can serve as the beginning and end of a year of reflection.

Mindful Reflection allows us to take hold of time and be positively in the moment… over and over again.

Let a Mindfully Positive New Year begin!

  • Special thanks to Bryony Turford, (@PriScigeeks) for sharing the idea and picture of her Remembrance Jar.

A Mindful Ofsted- 5 Top Tips Revisited

Just the word OFSTED, uttered in a whisper, can set the heart rate rising across an English school. ( Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. However, it is also synonymous with the inspection regime that grades schools from outstanding to inadequate.) Even the mentioning of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI), sends some of us into a cold sweat. The fight or flight impulse is strong and causes countless amount of stress for educators up and down the country.

This week I had the experience for the third time as a Headteacher. It was the 11th and 12th day of the new school year and only the second week of a brand new inspection framework. There were many unknowns in the process.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for a Mindful Ofsted.

#1
Prepare before you have to prepare.- Developing your own understanding of mindfulness and use of mindfulness practice allows you to automatically shift into Mindful gear when you get the call. A good way to begin Mindfulness Development is to try a number of mindfulness strategies over a period of time. Why not try #MonthOfMindfulness which is 30 days of 30 simple mindfulness strategies? They can be found HERE.

#2
Learn to Breathe!– Learn how to use breathing techniques to trick yourself into a state of calm. You can learn more HERE. After, you receive the call, allow yourself a few minutes to just clear your mind and breathe, focusing on the breath as the cool air enters your lungs and the feel of the warm air as you exhale. Allow yourself relax. This is important for you and your team. Continue to have those moments of solitude before, during and after the inspection.

#3
Meditate – Ensure you have a favourite guided meditation ready to use when the time comes. My favourite for these kind of occasions is a nice walk on the beach which can be found HERE. Allow yourself to have this time to yourself before the day begins and again at the end of the day as go to bed.

#4
Keep Hydrated– We all know that we function best when we are hydrated. Ensure that you have a jug of fresh water is on your desk with your favourite glass. Then, make sure you drink it! Use this Water Meditation to enhance your Calmness.
Water Meditation
– Pour yourself a glass of plain water. (It can have ice.)
– Sit down with your water and allow yourself to be aware of drinking the water.
– Take a sip. Allow the sip to linger in the mouth. Notice the temperature of the liquid against your tongue, cheeks, gums and palate. What can you taste? Is there a sweetness, bitterness, acidic or even slightly salty taste?
– Notice the sensations of the water being swallowed and flowing down your throat and into your stomach.
– Continue to be mindful of each sip; allowing yourself to be in the very present moment of drinking your water.

#5
STOP!- 10 Second Mindfulness
This is a simple but effective strategy to refocus our attention.
S– Stop what you are doing.

T– Take a deep breathe. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold for a count of one and exhale for a count of 8.

O– Observe what is happening around you at this moment.

P– Proceed with what you were doing.
Do this as often as you need during the day. Those few mindful moments can change your reaction to what is happening around you leading to a better positive response that changes the course of events.

Conclusion:

The key to surviving an inspection is to stay in control of your emotions rather than letting them control you. Your team will feed off of your reactions and follow your lead. If you stay calm, they will be calmer.  Also, by being mindful, we can be more clear about what we want inspectors to see and know about your school.

The end result for me was a positive one, mainly because I felt in control of a situation that was out of my control. I realise that not all inspections can or will be positive. However, by using mindfulness strategies before, during and after will put you in control of your own health and well being during a stressful time.

So now, BREATHE and carry mindfully on.

New School Year Mindfulness “To Do List”

My school year started this week. For many in education, this week brings back a whole host of stress and anxiety. Some of it is self inflicted as we understand our awesome duty of care for the children in our schools. Some is inflicted by government demands, the sudden and rapid changes we face, extreme accountability and funding crisis.

How we tackle the year is important for both our own emotional well-being and the emotional well-being of our children. We can minimise some of our stresses. However, we need to accept that their will always be stress and, for a successful school year, we need to take control.

Learning to take several mindful moments during every day gives our minds periods of time during the day to recuperate. It allows us to be more considerate of our actions rather than those actions becoming unmindful reactions.

Stress, good and bad, is a part of life. It is part of the human condition. The key to a calmer, more peaceful life is how we react to these stresses.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to be mindful, it just takes practice and, sometimes, a few reminders. That is why I have come up with a Mindfulness To Do List that encompasses many different aspects of mindfulness.

–  Take one minute , close your eyes and breathe deeply. Do this several times a day.

– Observe your thoughts & feelings without judgement.

– Focus on the present moment and note one specific detail.

– Think of five things that you are thankful for in your life.

Make several copies of the photo reminder at the top of this post and place them in prominent places as your reminder to be mindful. Then ensure that you tick off ALL the things on the list EVERY day.

Remember, the most important step in educating children in developing their own mindfulness skills, is to be a model of mindfulness.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

Find more mindfulness strategies can be found in 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness In The Classroom, 50 Fantastic Ideas for Mindfulness or on www.educationsvoice.wordpress.com

50 Fantastic Ideas for Mindfulness

Mindfulness has a lot to do with understanding your emotions and using them to broaden your life experiences. Taking time to enjoy the moment.

Today, for me, is both a day of excitement and also one of being humbled.

Today is the release date of my new book, 50 Fantastic Ideas for Mindfulness published by Featherstone-Bloomsbury and endorsed by Alistair Bryce-Clegg.

I am excited because I know and understand the importance of supporting the life skill of positive mental health and developing strategies in being able to deal with the stresses of life. If children learn positive strategies as a child, they are more likely to have those strategies more firmly embedded and used as an adult.

The blurb sums it up nicely.

“Introducing mindfulness in Early Years settings equips young children with life-long skills that develop as they mature.”

I am pleased that, “50 Fantastic Ideas for Mindfulness features a range of activities that enable children to build awareness of their emotions, focus on the present and empathise more easily with others. From ideas to manage distractions to games for independence, this collection of ideas includes colourful photographs and easy-to-follow instructions, making it a fantastic resources to bring mindfulness into the Early Years.”

Why am I humbled? I am humbled because I get to share this with the people who are working with children every day; with people who truly care about making a difference in a child’s life now and in the future. I am humbled because you are the ones creating a positive legacy for our world.

The book 50 Fantastic Ideas for Mindfulness is part of a great series of books for Early Years education and can be purchased all over the world. Some purchase links are:

Bloomsbury: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/50-fantastic-ideas-for-mindfulness-9781472955227/

UK Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fantastic-Ideas-Mindfulness-Tammie-Prince/dp/1472955226

USA Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fantastic-Ideas-Mindfulness-Tammie-Prince/dp/1472955226

Australia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/50-fantastic-ideas-for-mindfulness-tammie-prince/prod9781472955227.html

My first book is also available around the world, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness in the Classroom published by Bloomsbury. It can be found in English and Spanish around the world.

Book Review – What’s Going On Inside My Head? By: Molly Potter

The importance of children’s Mental Health has been hitting the mainstream of societal concerns. The importance in developing positive mental health strategies is now being seen by parents, carers, educators and health care practitioners as a basic life skill. But, sometimes we can find it hard to explain to children what positive mental health is all about.

Molly Potter has created an amazing book that breaks down positive mental health into its different aspects in a child friendly way. Each chapter focuses on a different area of positive mental health in terms that are not over simplified but in a way that helps children grasp mental health concepts that can support them for life. Each two paged chapter is beautifully illustrated by Sarah Jennings and opens up discussions between parent/carer/educator that allows children to learn more about what is happening inside their head in 12 individualised areas. Everything from, “How should I think about myself? to “What do I do with emotions?” to How can I improve my thinking habits?” are a part of this book. Finally, there is a three page section on “Guidance for parents and carers” that provides tips for supporting positive mental health and help develop resilience.

This is definitely a book every home and school should have and use to support the development of positive mental health in children.

This book can be bought at Bloomsbury: https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/whats-going-on-inside-my-head-9781472959232/

or Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Going-Inside-Head-conversations/dp/147295923X/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=Molly+Potter&qid=1559470260&s=gateway&sr=8-5