Mindfulness in Early Childhood- Connections to Capable, Confident & Curious

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This two-part workshop links mindfulness practices appropriate for children ages 2-6 with learning goals from Capable, Confident & Curious.

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Practising mindfulness is a way to keep us focused on the present moment. Studies of mindfulness with children have shown there are many health benefits as well as decreases in negative behaviours, increases in social skills and executive functioning and an increase in overall well being. There has been an increase in “mindful schools” and sharing mindfulness practices with children in various parts of the world.

With mental illness on the rise and the Mental Health Commission of Canada stating an estimated 1.2 million children in Canada having some type of mental illness, it is imperative children be introduced to skills for healthy minds, body, and spirits at a young age. These tools can be introduced to children during the early years and they can build on them as they grow allowing them to have a tool kit by their side when things get rough.

In Nova Scotia, there is a curriculum framework that early childhood educators are expected to follow. How does mindfulness fit within this framework? How can educators introduce mindfulness techniques to children while meeting the goals and learning objectives outlined in the Early Learning Framework?

This (2-part) workshop is designed to share mindfulness practices appropriate for children ages 2-6 with early childhood educators while connecting these exercises and practices to our key learning goals: well being, discovery and invention, language and communication and personal and social responsibility. We will also review how mindfulness practices fit in with holistic teaching and principles of play-based learning, inclusive, equality, and reflection all important factors to consider when implementing the early learning framework.

Week 1 (February 23) will focus on basics of mindfulness, benefits of mindfulness specifically with children, creating a mindful classroom and a brief introduction on how mindfulness can connect with the early learning framework.

Week 2 (March 2) will focus on specific mindful practices that can be used with children and where they fit in the Framework when thinking about documentation and planning programs.

Presenter: Lisa Harrietha has been working with children and youth for over fifteen years. She holds a Bachelor as well as a Master’s Degree in Child and Youth Study from Mount Saint Vincent University. Over the past three years Lisa has taken time developing a regular mindfulness practice of her own including finishing a 6-week mindfulness course which focused on the mindfulness program from UCLA as well as a mindfulness teacher facilitation course and a course specifically created for mindful educators. Lisa has also obtained a certification in Kids Life Coaching. She is passionate about the important of social skills as well as coping skills and helping children to become resilient. Lisa believes in whole person education focusing on the strengths of individuals. After overcoming anxiety and facing fears Lisa became very passionate about sharing mindfulness with others especially with children in hopes that teaching skills early would lead to less stress later in life.

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