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Highlights from a past class

Highlights from a past class

My Talking Body

Guiding children in mindfulness in cape town

Our body talks to us all the time. Do we take the time to be still and listen to what it is telling us? Doing this can sometimes help us to understand better how we are feelings since our emotions often manifest physically in the body.

At Mindful Minis this week we had fun exploring how certain emotions might feel physically in the body. We played a game guessing which emotion the different coloured bodies might be feeling. Each child then had the opportunity to explore and express where in the body they often feel emotion.

Highlights from a past class

Reflecting Rainbows

reflecting rainbows: guiding children in mindfulness

One light source (sunlight or torch) reflecting off a CD reveals 7 distinct colours.

In Mindful Minis this week, we looked at how our feelings can sometimes be like white light. Just as white light is made up of multiple colours that can’t always be seen, we can sometimes have multiple feelings simultaneously that cant be seen. So, for example, a child might feel nervous and excited at the same time when starting at a new school. Feeling these two somewhat contrasting emotions simultaneously can be confusing and leave the child feeling overwhelmed and uncertain.

In the Mindful Minis classes this week, we discussed how it is completely normal to sometimes feel more than one contrasting emotion at the same time. We discussed instances in which this might occur and the children completed a worksheet depicting different scenarios that they have experienced.

We also discussed ways in which we can distinguish the different feelings by using mindfulness. So for example, simply taking a deep breath. This helps us to sort out the feelings into their own jars as suggested by the wonderful book “The Color Monster“. So that, instead of ending up with brown sludge (which is what happens when a bunch of colours are mixed together!), we are able to reflect the rainbow within and see each feeling / colour for what it is.

Highlights from a past class

The things that help me to feel loved…

Guiding children in mindfulness in Cape Town

This was the topic for the classes this week, in keeping with our theme for the term “Growing our EQ”.

I asked the children to create patchwork hearts, showing by patch size the things that help them to feel loved. Don’t you love how family is the biggest piece in this boy’s heart and kisses from mom is right up there too! So beautiful ❤️

Highlights from a past class

icebergs

Emotions and icebergs

This week in the Mindful Minis classes we explored how our emotions are sometimes like icebergs.

Icebergs are much bigger than what can be seen from the surface of the water. Most of the iceberg is hidden below the water. This is also how some of our emotions work.

When we have strong feelings such as anger, sadness or worry, there can be other feelings that are hidden underneath. We don’t always know they are there.

So, in the classes this week, we explored what some of the hidden feelings underneath anger might be.

Highlights from a past class

the unexpected visitor

The theme for this term is Growing our EQ. This week I based the classes on this beautiful poem by Rumi.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)

Rumi suggests that we treat our emotions like visitors arriving at a guest house. I changed the concept slightly to make it more familiar for the children. So, instead of a guest house, I asked the children to think of their emotions as visitors stopping by for tea.

This concept of thinking about our emotions as visitors, helps children to acknowledge, welcome and embrace how they feel (just as we would welcome a visitor for tea), instead of trying to ignore or supress their emotions. It also highlights the transitory nature of our emotions. I asked the children whether guests who come for tea end up staying permanently and moving in. Of course, the answer was no! By the same token, our emotions come and go. Some feelings may stay with us for longer (like some guests!) but eventually over time, the feelings go and we cycle again through a range of emotions.

In the younger class, I read the book “The Tiger Who Came To Tea” by Judith Kerr. It is a beautiful story and I found there to be many parallels between the tiger and our emotions. A lovely, concrete way for the children to understand how emotions can arrive, overwhelm us by taking over and then disappear.

With the older children, I read a wonderful poem to them by Jack Prelutsky called “The Visitor”. Again, the parallel between “the visitor” in the poem and our emotions is clear. This poem is a fun way for children to explore the concept of emotions as visitors.

The Visitor


it came today to visit
and moved into the house
it was smaller than an elephant
but larger than a mouse
 
first it slapped my sister
then it kicked my dad
then it pushed my mother
oh! that really made me mad
 
it went and tickled rover
and terrified the cat
it sliced apart my necktie
and rudely crushed my hat
 
it smeared my head with honey
and filled the tub with rocks
and when i yelled in anger
it stole my shoes and socks
 
that’s just the way it happened
it happened all today
before it bowed politely
and softly went away

Jack Prelutsky

In the classes, we then sat down and enjoyed a cup of tea together. Real tea! Rooibos with milk, honey and a biscuit. But it was no ordinary tea party. On each tea bag label, I had written a feeling e.g. anger, sadness, jealousy, etc.

I asked the children to think of a time when they last felt that emotion. I asked them to try to connect with the feeling again and the preceding situation that evoked the feeling. The children then spent some time drawing the situation and how they felt. I find that it can be very helpful for children to processing their emotions through art.

Afterwards each child had an opportunity to discuss their emotion with the group if they wanted to. I asked each child to try to remember if they felt the same emotion 24 hours after the incident. Most said no. A few said that they still felt it but diluted. I then asked if they had felt the same emotion at the same time a week later. Everyone said no! You can go on to ask the children if they think they might feel the same in a month’s time or a year’s time. Just a lovely way to help children understand that feelings are temporary.

So, this week, it felt like the children’s EQ seedlings germinated and sprouted some roots, with a few even showing the start of a stem and leaves – just like the real seedlings that the children are growing this term.