Mindfulness in Education

8th December 2015 | Jean Watson

A case study:  Broulee Public School, NSW, Australia.

The Background

Situated in a remote area south of Sydney Broulee is a primary school that has embraced mindfulness training into the curriculum. Jean Watson the mindfulness consultant and trainer has been working with Sue Lowe the Headmistress and Nerida Bourke the Kindergarten teacher to develop and implement mindfulness into the school curriculum.

Sue, Nerida, Jean  and the teaching staff at Broulee realised that introducing mindfulness into the school is most effective when the teachers are trained first. They appreciate that teaching mindfulness is a little like teaching swimming – it is best done when you have experienced it yourself and have actually been in the water. Teaching the children from their own personal experience of a daily mindfulness practice means that the teachers can encourage the children to learn the mindfulness skills in a very effective and authentic manner. Not only will the teachers be able to teach mindfulness to the children from their own experience in a sustainable long-term manner, but the teachers also benefit personally.

The process of the teacher training

Sue and Nerida had not practised Mindfulness before and they began the process by enrolling on the mindfulness course especially designed for teachers, delivered by Jean in Sydney, called –  .b Foundations Mindfulness Training for Teachers. Over a period of 2 months they developed their own daily mindfulness practice by attending the three day course: Day 1-Introduction course; Day 2- Intermediate; Day 3 – Retreat for Teachers Advanced course. After this Nerida and Sue continued to develop their own daily mindfulness practice and began to run sessions at school for teachers to have a taste of how mindfulness worked for them.

Jean came to the school and ran a full taster session for all the teaching staff. After this the teachers decided that they would like to do the two day training to develop their own daily mindfulness practice. Jean returned to Broulee to deliver this training and the teachers completed the .b Foundations in Mindfulness qualification in October and November 2015.

Current Outcomes

Mindful Teachers

At Broulee Public School all the staff have been trained as Mindful Teachers, including the Headmistress Sue Lowe.

Mindfulness Specialist Teacher

Nerida Bourke has done extra training for 4 days to learn how to teach the 10 session Mindfulness programme to the children, to help them in the transition into secondary school.  Nerida is now the specialist mindfulness teacher at Broulee Public School.

Mindful Children

The mindfulness programme, that forms the basis of the teaching at Broulee, is called Teach .b and has been developed by the Mindfulness in Schools Project. It is based on firm psychological principles and is backed up by emerging scientific evidence. It is being used to help the older children in the transition into secondary school.

Ongoing Mindfulness Training and Consultation

Jean Watson is continuing to work with Broulee School to help integrate mindfulness into the whole school curriculum, to develop the Early Years programme and to help cascade good teaching practice into the schools in this area.

Future plans

These include:

  • Continuing to teach the children, 10-12 year olds, the Teach .b program to help the transition into high school.
  • Development of an Early Years programme for 4-6 year olds
  • Development of the Paws b programme for 7-10 year olds
  • Mindfulness Workshops – to share good practice with teachers in other schools in the region.

Research Results

Questionnaires were completed on the effect of the training on stress, development of mindfulness skills( focus, attention training) and the development of self-compassion.

These were completed at the start of session 1 and the end of session 8 and will be completed again in 6 months time.

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