Highlights from a past class

animals and mindfulness – birds

Guiding children in mindfulness

Mindful Minis had a good week starting Term 3 of 2017. It was great to re-connect with the children after the holidays. There were some new faces that joined us for trial classes. I asked some of the children that have been coming for a while to help me explain what mindfulness is. Well, I was blown away by the explanations. It was wonderful to see how much they have absorbed and just so special to hear them explain it in their own words.

The theme for this term is “Animals”. Each week we will look at a different animal, and what that animal can teach us about mindfulness. Today we focused on “Birds”.

We discussed how birds of prey glide and soar through the sky. So peacefully and gracefully. We spoke about how wonderfully quiet it must be so high up. I explained to the children that having some quiet time alone each day can be calming and restorative for them. I suggested that if they were not able to find a quiet place because of family or friends around them, then maybe they could try focus on their breathing despite the noise around them, and in that way, connect with the quiet within.

We also spoke about how some birds, like owls, can sit very still and patiently. They can wait with an intense focus while watching their surroundings for a mouse or another small creature to scurry past.

I then passed around a variety of bird feathers that I have picked up in various places over the past few months. I asked the children to each pick a feather and examine it. It was an exercise in awareness. I asked them to notice colours, patterns and size. Then to feel and notice the soft parts and the hard parts like the spine of the feather. And lastly, I asked them to lightly rub the feather over their face or hands. Many children really enjoyed this and found it calming.

We then moved onto some mindful movement. After our warm up sun salutations, we explored a few bird poses. We did a lot of standing balance poses. Excellent for encouraging focus. I placed the Hoberman Sphere in the centre of our circle and asked the children to focus on it throughout each pose. There were a few wibbles and wobbles here and there, but there was 100% effort which was lovely to see.

I then brought out a very special book called “Birds” by Maurice Pledger which is part of the “Sounds of the Wild” series. As you turn each page, you are treated to a melodic array of various bird sounds. It was a wonderful exercise in auditory awareness.

The guided visualisation we did is a personal favourite of mine. It is one that I wrote loosely based on the powerful book by Christopher Gregorowski called “Fly Eagle Fly!”. I asked the children to imagine themselves as eagles. From sitting high up on a cliff ledge, they caught an updraft and went soaring and gliding through the sky. Feeling the wind on their faces and bodies, I asked them to notice how it felt flying so freely through the sky. I reminded them that each of them is like an eagle – courageous, strong and powerful. That each of them can fly and achieve greatness in their life.

Each class has a different energy and pace. Each class has different needs and I am sensitive to that. Some classes may require more discussion time, other classes may require more movement, others more relaxation time and so it goes. So, a few of the class did not do the artwork this week since some of the other activities needed more time. In the classes which did do artwork, the children made fingerprint peacocks. There were some gorgeous results that would make any of these exquisite birds proud!

So, a beautiful start to Term 3.

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