This series of five video sessions from March 12- 16, 2018, organized by the Mind & Life Institute, features leading mindfulness scientists and expert practitioners sharing information with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his longstanding interest in learning how to best educate the hearts and minds of young people. Each of the five sessions are two hours in length and focus on social-emotional education in early childhood, elementary and middle school. Presentation of research findings and model curricula,sprinkled with discussion and words of the Dalai Lama, demonstrate how compassion, ethics, and attention training can be more fully integrated into existing educational frameworks. Enjoy the videos at your leisure, and feel free to begin with whichever session sparks your interest most. https://www.dalailama.com/videos/mind-life-xxxiii-reimagining-human-flourishing
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” –Unknown
At the beginning of August, over 175 staff from Troy Public Schools took time out of their vacation to attend a one day mindfulness training provided by MC4ME. There was so much interest that participants were turned away. Stephanie Snider, an elementary school social worker, has been the driving catalyst to bring mindfulness more widely into the lives of teachers and students in the Troy School District.
We are happy to share that MC4ME is partnering with the leadership efforts of Steve Norman responsible for bringing together the first of three summer IBME Teen Retreats to Michigan. The first retreat will be held at Fetzer Institute, July 20-26, 2019 and capped at 22 participants due to venue size. Contact Steve Norman (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more or to become involved in planning, mentoring or recruiting efforts.
The morning of August 23, brought together a wide array of 35 educators and health professionals from across the State committed to supporting mindfulness practices in children, parents and staff. Four mini-presentations from a k-8 principal, Spanish middle school teacher, guidance counselor and mindfulness teacher described successes in weaving mindfulness throughout a school and/or school district. We were inspired by seeing participants actively engaging in sharing stories, and information on ways they are implementing mindfulness in Michigan schools and higher education institutions. A groundswell of skilled teachers in mindfulness is bubbling up in our Michigan communities!
Beaumont Health & Wellness Center, Royal Oak
Half-Day Retreat with gentle yoga and guided meditation
October 14, 2018
Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness
Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
Featuring Elisha Goldstein, PhD
October 19, 2018
Register here for full day workshop
Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness
Trauma-Informed Mindfulness Workshop and All-Day Retreat
Featuring Trish Magyari, MS, LCPC
October 20-21, 2018
Register here for one or both days
Mindfulness in Sports
Featuring George Mumford
October 25, 2018
Register here for evening talk
The Executive Director position is ideal for an experienced, mature professional with a mindfulness meditation practice and a diverse skill set interested in stewarding the growth of an organization and adept at juggling numerous responsibilities and tasks. The available position is part-time at .40 or .50 FTE for the first year, with the expectation that the prospective ED, together with the Board of Directors (BOD), will work to obtain continuing support as well as its future growth in FTE, staffing and programs.
The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for operations management, marketing/communication and program development activities.
The ED works with the BOD to develop the annual budget, and prioritize, implement and evaluate activities that support its strategic plan. The ED supports the work of the BOD as appropriate and reports to the Board Chair on a weekly basis.
Day-to -day responsibilities include but are not limited to:
The ED also manages all details related to event planning that occurs several times throughout the year, including but not limited to
The ED provides oversight, maintenance and enhancement of the website of marketing materials, social media initiatives, production of the MC4ME newsletter and annual year-end report.
The ED assists with grant solicitations and fundraising, including but not limited to:
Desired Qualifications and Skill Set
A letter of inquiry outlining qualifications, skills and interest, along with a resume or CV is requested. Interviews will be scheduled in mid-fall. Please send to: info@mc4me with the subject header:
ED Applicant. Please only apply if you reside in southeast Michigan.
To begin, I am a teacher. I teach middle school and my primary subject is Spanish. I absolutely love my job and feel privileged every day that I get to work with youth.
I got involved in yoga and mindfulness when I was a new mother. I realized that I could not control what was happening around me and that brought anxiety and confusion. I went through yoga teacher training at Ethos Yoga Studio in Holly, MI and my instructor Kathryn mentioned that she had attended a 10-day Vipassana retreat. I was so intrigued. So my first intense experience was a 10-day Vipassana retreat. I am not sure that I would recommend that to everyone but this was my experience. During that retreat I realized how impermanent things are, how much control I don’t have, and what really mattered in life. I also learned how the techniques were helping me handle my own emotional landscape.
From then on I had a pretty consistent mediation practice because I felt the benefits in my daily life. Then about 4 or 5 years ago, I attended a webinar that MC4ME and the Genesee ISD had put on that talked about mindfulness in schools. My two worlds collided… Teaching in Public Schools and Mindfulness. This practice that had helped me so much was starting to be taught in schools… Amazing. Of course I wanted my students to learn mindfulness but I was afraid of the stigma attached to meditation or mindfulness. What would the community think? Would parents boycott? Would I get in trouble?
Trice Berlinski from MC4ME directed me to take some classes with Mindful Schools. I started right away and was humbled about what I was learning. I took every class that was available and eventually completed course work to become a Certified Mindful Schools Instructor.
I am now teaching two push in hours of mindfulness at my middle school. When this year is over I will have visited 34 classrooms for mindfulness. I still teach Spanish and this year have one section of math. I am also very excited to be starting an after school mindfulness program for our teachers in the district. -Jennifer Casper
Six years ago, I was asked by the mother of a friend to contact her daughter, Kristin Ervin, who was offering mindfulness training in the classroom. I was able to secure several classes where she could initiate mindfulness training for students in the 5th and 6th grades. The following year we presented mindfulness to our grade level mentoring group called Sister 2 Sister. I had the opportunity to be a co-facilitator and witness mindfulness strategies and mindfulness discussions with females in grades 6th-8th for multiple weeks.
At the same time, I completed a Mindfulness 9-week course offered by Rita Benn through Oakland Schools. I then enrolled in the 6 week Mindful Schools online course, attended Daniel Rechtschaffen’s training offered by MC4ME last March and began a yearlong national fellowship sponsored by Daniel Rechtschaffen and other mindfulness leaders, entitled, “Transformative Educational Leadership”. Each one of these opportunities has helped me increase my personal practice and gave me multiple techniques to share with my staff and students.
In my school, I’ve now integrated mindfulness during building wide announcements in the AM and PM, using the acronym S.T.O.P. Staff meetings begin with a mindfulness strategy from deep breathing to figure 8 movements and tapping, led now by several staff members who are embracing the benefits of mindfulness with their students. We have acquired a lifetime membership with Inner Explorer which is typically used with K-5 students after recess or during transitional times.
I ‘ve collected over 100 glass water jars to make “Calming Jars” which gives adults and students a physical item to serve as a calming trigger. They are used during meetings and throughout the building for students who request or need ways to self-regulate.
This past summer 14 teachers and administrators throughout the district completed a 6 week Mindfulness Fundamental course. This experience gave me pause and I now see the fruits of our labor. This year, our mission is to send letters home to our families introducing mindfulness formally, offer training to a new cohort and offer the next level course to the first cohort.
Support from the district had been given through the approval of funds for the online course and my partial scholarship for the TEL fellowship. I’ve also been able to write Mindfulness Education in our school improvement plan. -Paula Lightsey
I am a school counselor for Mt. Pleasant Public Schools. I was trained through Mindful Schools to offer Mindfulness Lessons and am beginning my 4th year of doing what I like to call “Proactive Counseling”. My district has allowed me to use my car as my office and I travel to 5 different elementary buildings, offering the Mindful Schools curriculum to students grades K-5. Last year I was able to provide the series of 16 mindfulness lesson to 983 students. We are working towards building a common vocabulary for staff and students regarding what it means and how it feels to have a mindful body and a curious mind. We are working slowly to influence the culture of our buildings in hopes that we can nurture a more calm inner and outer experience for everyone, staff and students alike.
This year, I was asked to do a short introduction to Mindfulness for our entire district at the back to school professional development day. This included 260 teachers and support staff, including the superintendent.
For the first time, I am offering an after school Mindfulness Sitting Practice for K-12 staff and all employees of our district. I will be at Central Office each Tuesday from 4:00-5:00 p.m. for anyone who wants to come and explore mindfulness practices. I will offer a guided sitting practice from 4:15-4:30 and then be available for Q and A. No reservations needed. Drop in any time. I plan to do this all year and see what happens in an effort to grow a Mindfulness community among the staff in our district. -Laura Gourlay
Developing Mindful Schools: Enhancing Resilience in Early Adolescence
With a grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, MC4ME provided and evaluated the delivery of a comprehensive mindfulness training (MT) program to educators and staff at a middle school in the larger Detroit Area. The MT program consisted of group based sessions for teachers held primarily after school for 2 hours weekly over an 8 week period, followed by MT to students during several of the teacher’s classrooms for another 8 weeks. The teacher MT used an adapted evidence based Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction Program (MBSR). The classroom MT used the Learning to Breathe (L2B) curriculum of push-in lessons twice a week for 9 weeks. MT was offered by MC4ME mindfulness instructors.
Participating teachers in the weekly MT included a cross-section of 6th, 7th and 8th grade as well as counseling staff. Students in fifteen 7th and 8th grade English classes subsequently participated in the 9-week classroom-based L2B mindfulness curriculum. Pre-post standardized questionnaires were administered to staff and students, along with open-ended surveys to assess teacher and student perceptions. The study was approved through the Institutional Review Board William Beaumont School of Medicine Oakland University.
Teachers reported that the program greatly benefited them personally and professionally. MT significantly increased teacher’s level of mindfulness, self-regulation of mental states, positive affect, and self-compassion as well as decreased their negative mood and perceived level of stress. Prior to MT, teachers on average scored at high risk for clinical depression. Upon post training, these scores worsened despite the overall positive impact of the program they experienced.
Classroom teachers agreed that learning mindfulness prior to seeing it practiced in the classroom setting greatly assisted their understanding of how to engage mindfulness in their students. While the teachers found the push-in L2B lessons somewhat disruptive to their teaching schedule, this was not true for the students. During MT, students were highly attentive: 70% reported that they often or always practiced mindfulness during the formal lessons, and only 13 percent indicated non-adherence.
When students were asked how satisfied they felt with learning mindfulness, 35% reported they were highly satisfied, 25% somewhat satisfied and 40% indicated they were not satisfied with it. Slightly over 40% of students offered concrete examples of how they applied mindfulness at home or at school a week after the training had been completed. The examples revealed a reliance on and success with using a breathing practice for emotional self-regulation of stress during a variety of contexts, e.g., studying, test-taking, arguments with parents, disappointments, etc.
Post MT, teachers agreed that they observed substantial changes in their classrooms. Statistical analyses on pre-post student measures concur with this observation. MT had a significant positive impact on students’ capacity for mindful attention, regulation of distressing moods and abatement of anxiety and stress. The effectiveness of MT on modulating students’ emotional regulation and anxiety and increasing mindfulness overall, suggests that students learned and benefited from mindful practices, even though they may have felt some dissatisfaction in learning the practices in the classroom.
These findings suggest that intensive MT has a significant beneficial impact on both middle school teachers’ and students’ emotional life. Future exploration is needed to assess ways to pragmatically offer MT to all teachers in a school year, and provide opportunities for ongoing coaching and practice in implementing mindfulness activities in the classroom.
To learn more about the specific instruments, or results, feel free to contact us or comment below!
Blue Cliff Monastery Fourth Happy Teachers Will Change the World Educators' Retreat, Pine Bush, New York: August 1-5, 2018
Omega’s 10th Annual Mindfulness & Education Conference brings together influential leaders in the fields of mindfulness and Social and Emotional Learning, Rhinebeck, NY: Jul 20 - Jul 22, 2018
CARE for Teachers: Twelfth Annual Retreat, Garrison Institute, NY July 30 - August 3, 2018