Tag Archives: Mindfulness

Ridley Exploring Mindfulness as Part of a Positive Education

Ridley strives to be at the forefront of educational development, to ensure our students become successful members of the global community. For this reason, our school was an early adopter amongst independent schools, embracing positive education as a fundamental approach to learning.

Being on the leading edge of positive education means continuing to explore new ideas and research as it becomes available. This semester, the students of Lower School have been part of a pilot programme to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on students. The programme developed by Jacqueline Oscvirk, creator of The Mindful Family, involves students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 practicing mindfulness twice weekly.

Mindfulness meditation focuses the human brain on what is being sensed at each moment, instead of the past or future. It is a way to calm the mind and develop clarity, calmness, empathy, and positivity.

Within educational systems, mindfulness has shown an improvement in students’ attention and focus, emotional regulation, creativity, as well as problem solving skills. Studies have shown youth benefit from learning mindfulness, in terms of improved cognitive outcomes, social-emotional skills, and well-being. These benefits may lead to long-term improvements in life.

“Our intention is to equip all of our Lower School students with the tools to overcome everyday challenges.” – Hanna Kidd, Lower School Counsellor

There is substantial evidence that skills which increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement, and meaning can be taught to school children. In this way, without compromising either, Ridley teaches both the skills of well-being and the skills of achievement.

“It’s another tool for teachers to use,” says Hanna Kidd. The Grade 7 and 8 students will begin their mindfulness training in early April, with the goal of using mindfulness to help reduce stress and anxiety as they prepare for exams.

Ridley is incorporating the latest research in positive education from around the world. Discoveries such as gritthe ability to persevere through challengesby Dr. Angela Duckworth, and flowthe ability to become immersed in a challenging taskby Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, have already been added. Based on this science, Ridley equips students to deal with the daily demands of life and learning by creating an environment that:

• Generates positive emotions
• Practices mindfulness
• Builds on strengths not deficits
• Models grit and resilience
• Nurtures positive relationships
• Encourages goal setting and accomplishments
• Fuels our vitality

Ridley students are empowered to embrace their individuality, develop who they are, strive for who they will be, and define the lives they will lead. They develop the intellectual, physical, emotional, and social skills needed to succeed. They are inspired to acquire the knowledge, explore the truths, and nurture the values that will allow them to lead flourishing lives.

Growing in Nature

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 6.09.26 PM

Graced with beautiful weather, Lower School students from grades 7 and 8 travelled to the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC) for a day filled with learning, creating and being inspired by the nature around them.

BOERC has acres upon acres of forested land, large fields and ponds, teaming with wildlife. It offers a great area for students to escape the classroom and grow in a different environment.

With that in mind, Lower School teacher’s led the students to the countryside to participate in an array of activities that allowed them to express their creativity, test their knowledge of the world around us and burn off some steam.

Divided into their tribes, the students rotated to various stations, consisting of unique activities. One such station was dedicated to frisbee golf. Using the expanse of land, students relayed discs, as a team, towards a net competing for goals. Students had to work as a team and support one another in order to claim victory. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of laughs and cheers.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 6.11.33 PM

At a nearby station was an ecology activity, where students had to identify varieties of trees located on the surrounding land. This helped educate the students to be aware and appreciative of the environment in their own backyard, while testing their knowledge of ecological terminologies. Upon gazing up at the leaves and searching the ground beneath their feet, the students stumbled upon caterpillars, acorns and a beautiful array of coloured leaves.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 6.09.10 PM  Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 6.10.56 PM

Our students also got into the Thanksgiving spirit with a mason jar craft station. The rustic DIY project called for the children to their jars with items they had found in nature, including leaves and acorns.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 6.11.18 PM  Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 6.10.10 PM

Finally, the students sat pond-side for mindfulness and meditation time. Settled together, the students made beaded bracelets , with each bead representing a symbol that would remind its wearer to be mindful ­– water, symbolizing  personal reflection and calmness; air symbolizing freedom and breath; mountain symbolizing strength and grounding; and flower symbolizing inner beauty.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 6.11.04 PM

As the day came to a close, the students piled on the bus; their arms full of their creations and minds full of new knowledge and perspectives.

How grateful we are to have a place like BOERC in our own backyard, where students can experience nature in its purest form, flourish in a new environment and be inspired by all that is around them.