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School Resources

Talk to Derval about a Breathwork programme to suit your school's needs. 

Email derval@sui.ie & 087 2888740

Mindful Moment

Incorporate a Mindful Moment or breathing pause into each day.

Choose a time – perhaps at the beginning of the day or after a break.

Incorporate it into EACH day so that it becomes part of the routine of the day.

Stretch and Smile

Invite the children to stand tall. Raise the right arm above the head and s-t-r-e-t-c-h...

Raise the left arm above the head and

s-t-r-e-t-c-h...

You might invite them to hold that stretch...

Then invite them to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the right corner of the mouth up towards the right ear

And s-t-r-e-t-c-h the left corner of the mouth up towards the left ear

Then invite them to hold the stretch….

and S-M-I-L-E!

Mandala #1

Download the ‘Let your Light Shine’ mandala and lesson plan here

 

Download the ‘Growing and Changing’ mandala and lesson plan here

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 Derval's Favourite Food Exploration for Kids

  1. Draw a picture of your favourite food (juniors)

  2.  Record an audio describing your favourite food without saying the name of the food (juniors & seniors)

  3. Write a description of your favourite food, don't mention the name of the food (seniors)

  4. Use all of your senses to describe;

  • What colour it is

  • What shape it is

  • What the texture is like i.e. what it is like to touch with your hand

  • Describe how it smells

  • Describe how it tastes

  • Describe what it feels like in your mouth i.e. the texture in your mouth.

  • When it is in your mouth is the texture or the feeling of the food different to when it was in your hand?

  • Describe what you like about this food

  • Describe where you think the food comes from e.g. it grows on a tree, in the earth, it is made in a bakery.

  • Does the food grow in this country or another country? Or is the food made in this country or another country?

  • What do you think it would be like to eat it 3 times every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

  • Why?

  • Finally write down what your favourite food is!!

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 54321 Explore like a puppy

  • Notice 5 things that you can see as you look around outside

 

  • Notice 4 things you can touch, notice how they feel - rough, damp, dry, slimy? J

 

  • Notice 3 things that you can hear - really listen to them

 

  • Notice 2 things that you can smell around you - move closer to them if you need to

 

  • Notice 1 thing that you can taste, something you ate earlier, lick your lips/teeth

 

TIP:  Imagine you are breathing in each of those things (create your own unique way to do that). Adding breath to your focus will help you remember when you get home.

Write, type or draw the findings of your exploration.  Take a photo of your findings and email it to dervaldunford@gmail.com. If that’s not possible keep the page, bring it to school when you go back and give it to your teacher to send on to me. Enjoy!

Breathe for Art

Prior to doing art invite the children to close their eyes and take five slow deep breaths... At the end of this breathing pause invite them to quietly imagine what they might draw, the colours, the shapes and the texture. As they draw they may breathe consciously. To conclude the art session take five slow deep breaths together.

Sounds of Silence

Take a silent moment between subjects – invite children to listen to the sounds outside the room... the sounds inside the room... the sound of the breath... the heart of the heart beating...

To conclude take 4 conscious breaths as a group and being grateful for the sense of hearing.

The Five Senses

Invite the children to become aware of each of the five senses – hearing, seeing, smell, taste and touch. Take them for a walk outdoors. Invite them to notice their breathing as they walk. Invite them to focus on their sense of smell. When you are back in the classroom invite them to discuss their experience. Alternatively ask them to write about it or to draw it

Busy Mind, Calm Mind

Use a jam jar and some glitter to demonstrate the busyness of the mind and how it can become calm with even a few conscious breaths. At least 15 minutes before the demonstration, fill the jar with water. Place a couple of spoons of glitter into the jar and allow it to settle completely. Explain how the mind can be clear and calm – like the clear water in the jar. By stirring the contents of the jar suggest that when the mind is busy it is often that we stir it up. Invite the children to become aware of their breath – to FEEL the in-breath and the out-breath. Lead them through a few conscious breaths – ask them to notice the breath as it comes in through the nose... notice it as it goes out through the nose or mouth... Invite the children to focus on the contents of the jar as the glitter settles, encouraging the mind to settle while doing so. Each child can make a glitter jar as an art/SPHE project.

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Smile

Smiling is contagious,

you catch it like the flu,

When someone smiled at

me today, I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner,

and someone saw my grin -

When he smiled I

realized, I'd passed it on to him.

 

I thought about that smile,

then I realized its worth,

A single smile, just like mine,

could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin,

don't leave it undetected -

Let's start an epidemic quick

and get the world infected!

CDs for Kids

CDs for kids include The Zone, Still Space and Spás Síochanta Suaimhneach which are perfect for use in the classroom. The content of the CDs is based on the SPHE strands of Myself and Self-identity. All of the tracks are guided step by step with Ann and Derval’s relaxing Irish accents. The Zone’s playful style of visualisation, affirmation and breathing creates a positive and peaceful atmosphere in the classroom and has the added bonus of improving children’s attention.

Still Space focuses on kindness, compassion and useful thinking skills thus providing children with valuable life skills. Spás Síochanta Suaimhneach, a direct translation of Still Space, is a wonderful learning resource for schools where Irish is the preferred language. It also help the integration of Irish into SPHE. It includes a phonetic Irish English dictionary to assist learning and the promotion  of the Irish language.

 

Many schools throughout the country are using Mindfulness Matters CDs daily and have reported that it is something the children look forward to.  In line with international research Irish children are reaping the benefits of mindfulness in the classroom. Using the CDs in the classroom also gives the teacher an opportunity to relax with the children.

Hear about the impact directly from the children and teachers

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Worry Box - Worry Tree

Depending on the age of the child this idea can be used in different ways. It can be used at school and at home.

 

In School: In school a plant or the branch of a tree can be used to hang worries on.  Children can be invited to write a worry on a small tag and hang it on the tree. Price tags available in stationary shops are ideal. Inform them that the tree thrives on worries, and it needs to be fed every day. The purpose of this exercise is to allow children to let go of their worries for the moment, to leave them behind as they enter the classroom or maybe as they leave the classroom too. The children are encouraged to let the worry tree do the worrying! At the end of the day the teacher can remove the worry tags from the tree and destroy them. When the children arrive to school the next morning they notice that worries are not permanent, they come and go.

 

At Home: Children may write a worry on a little worry pad e.g. post-it pad. An old small could be covered with coloured paper and can be designed perhaps with a worried face and a smiley face or whatever creative ideas the children come up with themselves. The worry is placed into the box, maybe with a time and a date, depending on the age of the child, maybe just with ‘morning’ ‘afternoon’ ‘evening’ and the day of the week. If you’d like to make the worry box more specific you can use a larger sheet of paper, the worry can be given a title, a description, a level of intensity from 1-10. Take some time at the end of the day or whenever it suits to open the worry box with the children.  Review the worries, talk about each one, talk about how the possible feelings involved, maybe you or others could make suggestions as to how to handle the problem that’s causing the worry. You could discover that some of the worries have gone away on their own, other worries might need to be discussed. If a worry has gone away, rip up the written worry and put it in the bin. Remind the child that the worry box helped, when you let it go (place it in the worry box) and stop re-playing it in your head sometimes it’s as if it disappears. If the worry has not disappeared, keep it in the worry box for a later review and bring to the child’s attention how everything changes with time. Our thoughts, our fears, our worries are changing all the time…they are not permanent

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Worry Box - Worry Tree

Depending on the age of the child this idea can be used in different ways. It can be used at school and at home.

 

In School: In school a plant or the branch of a tree can be used to hang worries on.  Children can be invited to write a worry on a small tag and hang it on the tree. Price tags available in stationary shops are ideal. Inform them that the tree thrives on worries, and it needs to be fed every day. The purpose of this exercise is to allow children to let go of their worries for the moment, to leave them behind as they enter the classroom or maybe as they leave the classroom too. The children are encouraged to let the worry tree do the worrying! At the end of the day the teacher can remove the worry tags from the tree and destroy them. When the children arrive to school the next morning they notice that worries are not permanent, they come and go.

 

At Home: Children may write a worry on a little worry pad e.g. post-it pad. An old small could be covered with coloured paper and can be designed perhaps with a worried face and a smiley face or whatever creative ideas the children come up with themselves. The worry is placed into the box, maybe with a time and a date, depending on the age of the child, maybe just with ‘morning’ ‘afternoon’ ‘evening’ and the day of the week. If you’d like to make the worry box more specific you can use a larger sheet of paper, the worry can be given a title, a description, a level of intensity from 1-10. Take some time at the end of the day or whenever it suits to open the worry box with the children.  Review the worries, talk about each one, talk about how the possible feelings involved, maybe you or others could make suggestions as to how to handle the problem that’s causing the worry. You could discover that some of the worries have gone away on their own, other worries might need to be discussed. If a worry has gone away, rip up the written worry and put it in the bin. Remind the child that the worry box helped, when you let it go (place it in the worry box) and stop re-playing it in your head sometimes it’s as if it disappears. If the worry has not disappeared, keep it in the worry box for a later review and bring to the child’s attention how everything changes with time. Our thoughts, our fears, our worries are changing all the time…they are not permanent

Mindful Smiling

Guide the children to take a few quiet breaths. Invite them to turn the mouth up into a smile with each breath, not a big smile but a simple natural smile like when meeting someone familiar. Notice the lips – their shape and movement. Does the smile change any other part of the face – the cheeks, the eyes, the eyelids...  the ears, the tongue.

It takes 46 muscles to frown and 17 to smile. Smiling gives a positive message to the brain and helps us to feel better. Breathing that smile into our hearts lifts our hearts.
 
Practice mindful smiling and breathing every day.

Classroom Moments

Mindful actions can be numerous and varied. Take time to integrate mindful moments and conscious breaths with the children throughout the day.

• A mindful breath to start the day

• A mindful moment when taking a book form a school bag

• A mindful tasting moment when eating lunch

• A mindful walk breathing in fresh cool air when coming from the school yard to the classroom

• A mindful moment when throwing a ball

• An occasional conscious breath when writing or drawing 

• Being mindful of your breathing when moving, or doing PE. Notice how it changes

Random Acts of Kindness

We all have the potential to be kind. Kindness is an expression of love. When we do something kind it makes the person we do it for feel good, loved and/or cared for. Interestingly, the person giving kindness usually feels good too, and in fact often feels better than the person who receives it. Acts of kindness create a sense of community and a sense of self-worth. Like smiling, kindness is also contagious, the more we experience it in our lives the more we want to pass it on so creating a wonderful domino effect of love and kindness and a lovely atmosphere in the classroom. Children can be encouraged to do random acts of kindness. Maybe you can have one day per week as kindness day for the class. Suggested acts could be opening a door for someone, sharing something, picking something up off the floor without being asked to do so, smiling, giving a compliment etc.
 
Tip: A useful resource that includes specific tracks encouraging kindness and compassion is the Still Space CD by Mindfulness Matters. Also available ‘as Gaeilge’ it facilitates integration of Irish into SPHE. Warning! Even if you pick just one day a week to do random acts of kindness they may sneak into everyday, kindness is contagious!

 Mandala #2

‘Growing & Changing’

The purpose of Mindfulness Matters mandalas is to explore growing and changing.
Download the Butterfly mandala and instructions here.
(Microsoft Word, 3.4Mb)

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