The children also learn breathing strategies here. Deep, mindful breathing creates calm, and increases awareness, attention, and observation. You may have noticed signs throughout the school that say BREATHE. The children all recognize these signs, and they know when they see them (and their location changes constantly so it is always a surprise!), they will close their eyes, and take a deep breath in through their nose, and then breath out through their mouth, as though they are blowing out candles silently and lightly. Teachers also practice this mindfulness, and parents are welcome as well!
As you know, to enter our nature based play area, Heart Rock Hollow, the children stop, close their eyes, and breathe deeply three times before stepping onto the boardwalk path. It is a way to transition from active play to quieter, reflective, observant activities.
This type of breathing has proven to calm children (and teachers!). It is especially useful for our many children with attention deficit issues or hyperactivity. But we all can benefit from these calming strategies throughout our lives. Deep breathing results in a more relaxed physical and mental state. School age students at South Hills have told me they use breathing to calm themselves prior to tests or school presentations. I love to hear that! It is my hope that the children who learn strategies to calm themselves and to increase their attention at the preschool level will utilize them throughout their lives!
I will keep you posted regarding other mindful practices we incorporate throughout the year…