In the GT classroom, we begin every session with a mindfulness practice. This is a prime opportunity for students to reset and refocus on themselves, their needs and their learning in the GT space.
I am sharing our practices here in the hopes that they would serve your child in other spaces.
Mindfulness Practice 1: Breath Work
This is our go-to practice… nothing recenters the kiddos better than breath work. Students sit safely in a comfortable position. Eyes are closed if that feels safe for them or they may soften their gaze to a spot on the table or carpet in front of them.
Four square breathing: inhale for a count of four, hold for four, breath out for four, breath out for four more, repeat as needed
Steady Breath: inhale for 6 or 8, exhale for 6 or 8, repeat as needed
Bear Belly Breath: students lay on their back, a counting bear or any other small object is placed on the belly, children begin by taking slow inhales and exhales focusing on the bear rising and sinking as s-l-o-w-l-y as possible. Next, have the kids take as full breaths as possible. The focus is on the bear rising as high in the air as possible on a deep inhale and sink as low as possible as they exhale completely.
Energizing Breath: inhale for 6 and exhale sharp for 1, repeat as needed
Animal Breath: this fun for littles! Lion breath- giant inhale and wide-mouth exhale, Cat/cow yoga breath, Snake breath- breathe flat on stomach, etc….
Mindfulness Practice 2: Visualization
Kids sit safely in a comfortable position. Eyes are closed if that feels safe for them or they may soften their gaze to a spot in front of them.
Oceans: Kids are encouraged to imagine their feelings like waves coming to shore. None are permanent. So whatever emotion or struggle they are having, they inhale and imagine it coming to their beach (take a moment to feel those feelings) and then exhale letting go of those feelings. Repeat a few times.
Balloons: Kids imagine they are a balloon. Guide them through a neighborhood of what they would encounter, focussing on the five senses. As the balloon, they are carried on a soft breeze. They may notice the orange, gold and red leaves gently gliding to the ground. They would hear a dog barking in a park nearby….
Guide them back home safely.
Full Body Check-in: Start at the head and have students intentionally relax or “soften” each area as they move down their body. (i.e. notice if your shoulders are tight or tense. Relax the shoulders and allow them to drop slowly. Follow down your arms and release any muscles that are contracted. Relax your wrist. And take a moment to soften each finger… one at a time.)
Mindfulness Practice 3: Affirmations
Children sit carefully in a comfortable position in a safe, independent space where they can write without disturbing.
I statements: Kids are prompted with I statements to redirect to positive thinking. “I am strongest when I ….”, “I feel my best when I…”, “I love me because…”
Journaling: The kids may want to journal how they are feeling and close with affirming statements.
Word Cloud: They will draw an outline of their head (or whole body) and fill the space with positive attributes they enjoy about themselves or are proud of.