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Mindfulness in school

(15 Posts)
DuncanDonut Thu 12-Oct-17 15:56:00

Does anyone’s (adopted) child do this? We’ve got a very eager teacher this year, who’s decided to give dd8 ‘enrichment’ sessions of this and cooking (on top of three extra things she already does, including music and sport).

I’m already concerned at how
many normal lessons and playtimes she’s missing, but I think mindfulness concerns me especially, as they seem to discuss problems and worries they have, and I’m not sure it’s the right time and place for her to discuss any adoption issues (not that there’s been any really). On the flip side; she says she enjoys it.

Anyone have any experience, or opinion on whether they’d put a stop to it or let her carry on?

BewilderedBeaver Thu 12-Oct-17 19:21:42

Discussing problems and worries is the opposite of my understanding of mindfulness. My experience is that it is about being present and fully experiencing this moment rather than focusing on what has been or what might be. It's about giving your mind a break from all the thoughts wizzing round and stripping it right back to thinking about now and nothing else. I find it incredibly useful for managing my anxiety and feeling things in perspective. It helps me clear the clutter and focus on what needs doing next.

BewilderedBeaver Thu 12-Oct-17 19:22:47

It also helps you truly understand what emotions you are experiencing which surprisingly is not always what you think you are feeling.

iamnotstinky Thu 12-Oct-17 20:04:18

I agree, that mindfulness is supposed to be the awareness of the here and now, a time for being quiet and listening. It is supposed to be very good for children, to help them feel calm and centred and self aware, to help with concentration and self control and emotional intelligence.

You could talk to the teacher more about she means by it. It is possible that it may lead to your dd becoming more self aware and therefore talking more to you and/or the school, and you could ask the teacher to provide feedback to you of anything significant so that you are aware and can provide dd with the support she needed.

Jellycatspyjamas Thu 12-Oct-17 20:54:44

Mindfulness is trendy at the moment and gets cited as a cure all in many circles. It can be really helpful but not everyone finds it so and it isn't always good for people who have been traumatised where being fully present may be overwhelming. Worth talking to the school about what they're actually planning and really check out with your little one whether they enjoy it/find it helpful.

iamnotstinky Thu 12-Oct-17 21:45:11

I think it is just the name which is trendy. It is basically a form of meditation which has been around for centuries.

Jelly when you say it isn't always good for people who have been traumatised, where did you get that from, exactly? I ask as I thought the opposite, in that the way it is usually practised with children is extremely good for children who have been traumatised, and I have never come across the idea that being "fully present may be overwhelming"?

iamnotstinky Thu 12-Oct-17 22:19:36

Sorry, what I meant was that I had not come across a criticism of mindfulness for traumatised children where it is adapted for use with traumatised children.

Jellycatspyjamas Thu 12-Oct-17 22:28:11

I get it from 20 years experience of working with traumatised children (and adults) for some of whom being present in the moment and being aware of their bodies can trigger off flashbacks to earlier trauma, particularly pre-verbal trauma where memories are held in the body rather than being stored away as a narrative memory. I also have post grad qualification in trauma specifically, research supports the view that for some people mindfulness practice can be triggering.

I think as ever there's a danger of taking something that works well for some people in some situations and assuming the theory holds for everyone. For some children, and adults, they will need a lot of support and work before they can tolerate the level of presence engendered in mindfulness and may never be able to. In my personal experience, my DD cannot tolerate being fully present in herself, she has no real emotional vocabulary, is very often dissociated from her physical sensations and can't link physical sensation to emotions or feelings. Mindfulness at this stage would be unbearable for her.

It's excellent for some kids, but not all.

thomassmuggit Thu 12-Oct-17 22:34:12

That's really interesting, Jelly.

iamnotstinky Thu 12-Oct-17 22:47:41

I can see what you mean. I might have (probably have) misread this but are you also dismissing it as a fad?

I think that it is done with a very light touch with children and the awareness of emotions and self and the impact this has on their ability to concentrate and relate to others is a very positive thing generally, compared to what might have been done with the same children in the past.

But you are absolutely right about who it would not suit. My dc is pretty much recovered (after several years!) and it is very good for them, but there is a huge difference between where they are at now compared to what your dd is going through now from the sound of it.

I am not sure I would be keen about it affecting play time or other lesson time, though, going back to the OP.

Jellycatspyjamas Thu 12-Oct-17 22:48:07

Im guessing too that mindfulness practiced in mainstream schools won't have been adapted for traumatised children specifically - it will be adapted for children, yes but I doubt the practitioner will be particularly trauma informed in their practice.

It may be fine, it is for most kids, but might not be ok for some.

Jellycatspyjamas Thu 12-Oct-17 22:52:27

And no, I'm not dismissing it as a fad, it has its place in a wide tool box of strategies and interventions. Like all things that are fashionable, it'll have its strengths and it's weaknesses and I don't think it's the panacea it's made out to be. Useful though, absolutely - my own mindfulness practice is sometimes the thing that keeps me sane.

DuncanDonut Thu 12-Oct-17 23:13:21

Thank you all - Jellycat, this is exactly what worries me, afaik it’s not an experienced and qualified practitioner taking this group, and today they definitely talked about worries they had (murder, stabbings, volcanoes apparently!) I’m concerned it will do more harm than good.

School are great, but not sure they completely understand, and can’t be expected to gear it to just her, in with a group of kids with a diverse set of issues. I suppose I’m a bit annoyed I wasn’t consulted in the first place; after many discussions with them about how to allocate pp+

Will have a chat with the teacher, as I think 4 in-school-time extra things is ridiculous anyway.

6isthemagicnumber Fri 13-Oct-17 16:32:41

I'd share your concerns duncan.
Can you withdraw your child from the group...did you have to consent?
Nice that school are trying to help, but like you say, could do more harm than good.

user1471134011 Fri 13-Oct-17 17:29:59

Im guessing too that mindfulness practiced in mainstream schools won't have been adapted for traumatised children specifically - it will be adapted for children, yes but I doubt the practitioner will be particularly trauma informed in their practice.


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