Fall brings us to a new beginning. In that light, remember to bring the sense of beginner’s mind to the forefront, whether meeting new students, seeing colleagues, or organizing family life activities. Join us for a half-day practice retreat on November 11 to reinforce your mindfulness practice and connect with MC4ME. Learn more and register here.
Registration is open for all these local events
Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education (MC4ME)
Restoring our Balance: Beginning Again
A Half-Day Retreat
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 8:30 am -12:30 pm
Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness (AACFM)
Mindfulness and Resilience
With Elisha Goldstein, PhD
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 9 am - 4 pm
Mindful City and Interfaith Council on Peace and Justice (ICPJ)
Mindfulness and Compassion Workshop
With Rita Benn, PhD and Julie Woodward, MA
Sunday, October 22, 1:00-4:00 pm
Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness (GRCFM)
Mindfulness and the Science of Habit Change
With Judson Brewer, MD, PhD
Friday, October 20, 2017, 9 am - 4 pm
Fall Weekend Mindfulness Silent Retreat
With Lucy Sternburgh
October 6–8, 2017
Donna Russotto, an early childhood educator from Escabana, reflects on the importance of meeting our thoughts just as a young child wants to be held. Here she shares with us how creating a mindful presence in the midst of a challenging encounter with 4 year-old Anna, revealed to her an inner knowing that helped her move forward.
Anna’s 4 year-old eyes sparkled as we sat and ate imaginary scrambled eggs in her preschool classroom kitchen. This bright-eyed, beautiful blond-haired child had already been in 3 different foster homes. With our eyes still connected, she stood up on a chair, keeping her tiny arms crossed. Her teacher had asked me for help to stop this type of frequent behavior. I did the only thing I knew. I walked over, picked her up, placed her on the floor again and reminded her that my job was to keep her safe. Her feet no sooner hit the floor when, still staring into my eyes, she playfully climbed up onto the next highest object.
I was at a loss for what to do next. Thoughts pummeled in, “Look, what you have done didn’t work! You are supposed to know what to do. The teachers are expecting you to help. You are a failure!” As I noticed these thoughts rapidly unleashing, I invited in some kindness. The thoughts quickly fell away. I walked towards Anna, although I had no plan. Gently, I placed my hands on her arms to lower her to safety, saying, “It looks like you wanted Ms. Donna to hold you”. To my shock, her playful, teasing stature totally shifted. Her body went limp. Sadness poured out of every part of her. Lying on the ground, she looked up at me and said, “No one can hold me now. I’m 4 and too big”.
I took a couple of deep conscious breaths to stabilize myself. I understood now why she had been climbing on top of high objects. I spoke slowly to her waiting eyes, “If you want someone to hold you, you can ask”. She nodded as if I had just revealed a secret code. “If your teacher, Ms. P is busy, you can ask Ms. R. and you can keep asking until someone is available”. She nodded a clear “yes” and sat on the couch until playtime was over.
After class, I suggested to the classroom teachers that they hold Anna whenever she asked. We put a glider chair in the classroom as well. Each day, there was always someone who held and rocked her. The climbing behaviors completely fell away.
Yoga in Schools: A Research Review
Sat Bir S. Khalsa and Bethany Butzer
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1373 (2016), 45-55
These authors are timely in highlighting yoga's potential for developing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills as mental health concerns are so pervasive. The authors suggest that yoga may have significant benefit for three key areas: 1) mind-body awareness, 2) self-regulation and 3) physical fitness. Forty-seven peer-reviewed studies published from 2000 on the use of school-based yoga programs in elementary school settings are included in this bibliometric analysis. Of these, 57% included a randomized control study design. Overall, findings were generally positive and varied. Significant changes in students' emotional balance, attentional control, cognitive efficiency and memory were reported. Two of the three studies that included yoga for teacher support purposes found positive effects on measures associated with well-being. The authors conclude that the published evidence to date suggest that school-based yoga interventions hold promise for enhancing students mental state, health, performance, and positive behaviors.
The Whole Brain Child
12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
Daniel J. Siegel, MD & Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D.
When children “melt down” in the middle of a store, on the baseball field or in the classroom, adults often aren’t sure what is best to do. These renowned authors suggest that such day-to-day struggles can be turned into teachable opportunities to positively influence our child’s development. They offer a brain-based framework to help adults grow the circuitry of neural connections in children that results in self-regulation and the “mindsight” for cultivating empathy, self-awareness and emotionally healthy relationships. While the book is steeped in scientific explanations, the graphic illustrations, stories and descriptions of the use of 12 strategies, such as “Name it to Tame it” or “ Move it or Lose it”, makes the reading very accessible.
In August, 23 participants engaged in a morning of restorative practices followed by a day-and-a-half of learning and practicing specific mindfulness activities for use with elementary and middle school students. The program was enthusiastically received and the ideas shared by the community of learners were equally impressive. We are excited to develop this community into an ongoing network of support. Join us at our November practice retreat, Restoring our Balance: Begin Again and/or attend our meet-up afterward to share how we can grow this work together.