Highlights from a past class

celebrating life

Guiding children in mindfulness

Some of the Mindful Minis celebrate birthdays this week so it was apt that the theme for the week is Celebrating Life! Birthdays are such an important celebration during childhood and it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm from the children around this topic.

We started off by remembering our breath and how it gives us life. We also reminded ourselves that our breath is a bridge to the calm within and that our breath is with us always. We can never forget it or leave it behind! We discussed how it is something that we can depend on and we can use our breath to help us if we are feeling worried, afraid or overwhelmed. We spoke about how we can focus on our breathing to help us to feel calm and okay.

We also spoke about how birthdays are a way to give thanks for life. And often on our birthdays we blow out candles! So, we did a wonderful candle meditation. In the middle of our circle there was a big candle that we focused on for a few minutes. I asked the children to notice the flame moving about and flickering. It almost looked like it was dancing. I asked the children to notice the colours they could see – yellows, greens or blues in the flame.

I then asked the children to focus on their breath and how they were feeling. Almost all of them said they felt calmer than when they arrived for the class. One little boy said he felt scared. It was an interesting response but I assured him that it was absolutely fine to feel scared. There are no good or bad feelings and often during a meditation or quiet time, feelings will arise that we have suppressed. We discussed the physical manifestation of fear a little and went back to focusing on our breathing before the boy felt okay to move on. In mindfulness we try not to hang onto a feeling. We simply acknowledge it, pay attention to it with curiosity and then let it go.

In the younger class, we moved into a time of mindful movement. We made a movement birthday cake! The children had great fun making big circle movements for bowls and then adding in imaginary flour and baking powder. We did some finger pinching for the salt which is great fine motor co-ordination. Then we had to beat the eggs and sugar together by lying on our backs and “bicycling” our legs in the air. Then we added the melted butter and egg mix to the dry ingredients which was again big, mixing motions. Finally, we poured the batter into our square tin and put it in the oven by touching our toes with straight legs. It was a fun routine with many different gross and fine motor movements and time to stop to connect with the body.

I then read to the children the story “I am Peace” by Susan Verdes. A beautifully written book of mindfulness for children. The story is about a child that sometimes feels like she is in a boat on the ocean with no anchor. The waves are crashing all around her and rocking her backwards and forwards. I think we all feel like this sometimes and the children in the classes could relate well to this image. The story then goes on to explain how the girl finds her anchor through mindfulness. This brings her calm and peace. She then sends her peace on to others around her to help them.

So, we moved straight into an exercise of passing peace around the circle. We threw a ball to each other but before throwing it, we first acknowledged the person we were throwing to by saying their name, then saying “I give you peace” and then throwing the ball to them. It was a lovely exercise of passing peace to each other in a tangible way that the kids enjoyed.

Then it was time for some fingerprint artwork. It was lovely to use our fingerprints this week since the kids are fascinated by how no two people have the same fingerprints. So, the artwork was in a way a celebration of our uniqueness! The results were very creative and the kids had lots of fun making people, dogs, cats, bunnies, superheroes and much more out of their fingerprints.

And finally, it was time for relaxation in the form of a guided visualisation. I chose “The Magic Mirror” track from the CD “Mindful Moments for Minis” which the children were able to use as a way to let go.

So, some really fun classes this week around a very important theme – celebrating life! I encourage each one of you to take a moment in the upcoming week to celebrate your own life. Whether it is a walk in nature somewhere or a special cup of coffee or just a moment to sit and listen to the birds. We don’t have to wait for birthdays or for others to celebrate our existence. We can do it. Just take some time this week to acknowledge yourself and to celebrate the life that you are.

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