If you are a childcare educator, or Director of a centre, then you are probably reading this article because you’ve heard about how the practice of mindfulness can really help even young children pay attention more, and stress less. And if you have been working in the industry for many years then you have probably also noticed how kids are suffering more from anxiety and an inability to pay attention than ever before. So let’s get into it and begin learning how you can begin to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre.
The following article has been provided to help you make a start.
Here’s 21 ways to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre
1. Designate a specific space in the childcare centre for mindfulness activities, such as a reading corner, or designated area for yoga mats or meditation pillows.
Make sure you let the kids know they can come to the space when ever they feel they just need some time to chill and relax. You might even put up a sign post to name the space something that encourages the children to use it for mindfulness. For example, ‘Our chill zone; or, Our Mindfulness Corner; etc’. You might even get the kids to help you think up a name for your corner just to get them feeling involved in creating the space – which in turn will help to encourage them to use it. Here’s a YouTube link for more ideas on creating a calm corner.
2. Establish a daily mindfulness routine by setting aside 1 minute, three time a day to practice mindfulness of breath with the children.
Yes, that’s right. Just one minute of mindfulness of breath is long enough – perfect actually, for this age group. The main reason behind this is because we want to ensure above all else they they enjoy the practice and feel it is something they can master.
In fact, it doesn’t even need to be one full minute. For example, when all the children are sitting ready for a story time we might ask them to use their fingers to count of five breaths. Additionally, rest time can become the perfect time to guide the children through a balloon belly mindfulness of breath meditation.
Here’s a link for more information to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre with children aged 18 months to 2 years – practice mindfulness of breath with children aged 18 months to 2 years.
Or you might like to download this free printable from one of my other articles. This print out will give you a variety of different ways to practice mindfulness of breath. This is great because when you do begin to implement mindfulness into you childcare centre you will want to give the children a variety of different ways of practicing. This keeps things novel and therefore even more enjoyable for young ones.
3. Introduce simple mindful activities such as mindful breathing, body scans and guided meditations to help kids learn how to focus on their breath and become aware of their bodies and surroundings.
Rest time in the perfect opportunity to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre through offerings guided meditations to the children, e.g., through a simply body scan; breath work; loving kindness; gratitude; and imagery meditations. Rest time, or before going out to play can also be the perfect opportunity to fit in a loving kindness meditation. And a wonderful way to grow their social and emotional intelligence.
Here’s a beautiful guided meditation from one of our Mindfulness For Children Practitioners Katie Briance: Gratitude meditation for early childhood: white star
Here’s a free downloadable loving kindness script to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre through introducing the children to meditation that has a focus on experiencing feelings of loving kindness.
4. Incorporate Yoga, or Flow Form into the daily schedule, which can be beneficial in teaching children how to pay attention and strengthen their concentration skills.
Yoga is designed to help us go within ourselves, beginning with a focus on our breathing. Flow Form is a mindfulness based combination of yoga, tai chi qigong and somatic and dance movement. Flow Form Level 1 is designed specifically for children under 6 years of age and also includes StoryTime and role playing.
Below is a very easy yoga sequence you are welcome to try with the children as a way of implementing mindfulness into your childcare centre.
You might also like to introduce the children to a Flow Form session using this free downloadable introductory session: Trip to the Moon. These types of lesson plans create fun physical activities to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre.
5. Have age-appropriate books about mindfulness available in the classroom for StoryTime with the children.
There are a growing number of children’s books on mindfulness available. I have complied a list in our public Facebook group: Mindfulness For Children. Here’s a link to the list.
6. Play calming music before transitioning from one activity to another, children can take deep breaths while listening and close their eyes if they choose to do so.
There are so many beautiful tracks available on YouTubbe – heres a playlist Ive created in our public Facebook group Mindfulness For Children
7. Utilise outdoor movement activities such as group walks and outdoor scavenger hunts as opportunities to discuss nature and build awareness of self and environment with the children.
This is the perfect opportunity for practicing Spidey Senses with the children. Here’s a link to a free script: Spidey Senses – mindfulness for Young Learners
8. Invite guest speakers, such as community members or local professionals who specialise in mindfulness practices and activities that are appropriate for young children
Check who’s available in your local area. Additionally, here’s our Find A Teacher list of some of our accredited Mindfulness For Children Practitioners and Flow Form Instructors. Locations currently include Australia, Ireland, Canada, and South Africa.
9. Have children create their own mindful journals by encouraging them to write or draw what comes up when they take a few moments of stillness throughout the day
Journalling after an activity is the perfect way to encourage a form of therapeutic art, where the children use paper and colours to express how they felt or what they learned form an activity. For example, one of our Mindfulness For Children Practitioners created a beautiful mindfulness based lesson plan in which the children listen and/or move to different pieces of music and then use paper and colours to express how the music made them feel. Justin has a wonderful Facebook group; Calmful where is constantly shares lesson ideas for childcare educators.
10. Organise field trips aimed at connecting with nature – going to parks, visiting farms, attending local events etc…
You don’t need to go far. Hopefully, there’s a park or field not too far from your centre, where you can take the children to explore. Encourage the children to smell the flowers; look for bees and butterflies. Point out all the different colours and shapes in the environment. Have the children feel their environment – the sand, dirt, trees, leaves and grass, etc.
11. Set up a sustainability project where kids can get involved in gardening/taking care of plants or animals.
Growing something in the centre is a wonderful way to introduce a variety of chats on sustainability; healthy eating; and mindful eating.
12. Use creative outlets like painting, drawing, dancing etc…to explore emotions.
This can be a wonderful way to teach children the art of a somatic check-in. Learning that our emotions show up inside our bodies is a very powerful way to help children (or people of any age) to understand that with mindfulness we can notice the sensations of our emotions, which can help us deal with them when we really need to, for example, before they get out of control.
You can create a fun role playing lesson where the children pretend to be happy; then sad; then angry; then kind, etc, etc. Each time they role play an emotion guide them to notice and observe where the emotion is showing up. For example, is happiness showing in our lips with a smiles; did anger show up with a frown, etc, etc. This exercise is brilliant for developing both mindfulness and emotional intelligence.
13. Teach relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation
This is where you have all the children laying down and ask them to tense a muscle somewhere in their bodies and then let it go. We can also have them push certain body parts, or example the legs or arms down into the floor and then let go. This is a great exercise to show us where are tension is being held…and how we can release it.
14. Allow ample time for unstructured playtime during which kids can use free choice resources
As you implement mindfulness into your childcare centre, you will also find ways in which you can integrate mindfulness into the Early Years Learning Framework.
15. Give everyone an opportunity to lead a mindfulness activity
Here’s a perfect example of how a 3 year old can lead the group in a mindfulness of breath activity.
16. Offer group discussions at the end of each day dedicated solely to sharing stories from the day’s activities.
This is a wonderful way to have the children mindfully recall the day’s events and learn to free secure and express themselves in front of their groups. Always remember to bring the session with a 1 minute mindfulness of breath activity to help the children settle and focus.
17. Create individual projects related to mindfulness topics.
You might like to use affirmations cards to inspire a project. One of our Mindfulness For Children Practitioners, Vicki Schaefer has created a beautifully designed set of affirmation cards for you to share with the children.
Or you may like to download this resource – 40 Printable Affirmation Cards for young learners – for creating 40 mindfulness based lessons (includes blank page to create your own) to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre.
18. Show videos about mindfulness
You might use this one, that demonstrates how we can cultivate our thinking using the mind jar. Or, you may decided to simply watch it and copy the lesson to deliver it to the children yourself. There’s also plenty of other free Youtube videos that you might like to search for.
19. Ask questions related to what was heard/seen during workshops.
Always remember to follow up on the mindfulness based lesson plans that you have delivered to the children. This is a powerful to not only help them recall the lesson to help embed it into memory, but it’s also a great way to check their understanding of what they have just learn.
20. Lead group discussions where children have an opportunity to share personal experiences with mindfulness.
Along with recalling and sharing their ideas from your lesson plans, encourage the children to practice mindfulness at home and ask them to share their experiences with the group. Additionally, this exercise will also inspire you to ask parents to get involved with sharing mindfulness and meditation practices with their children in the home. Which will help to strengthen the overall results towards improve the child’s wellbeing through mindfulness-based intervention.
21. Sign up for our amazing 8 week internationally accredited mindfulness for children Practitioner training program.
I’ve saved the best til last – being a role model is the best way to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre!
If you are passionate about implementing mindfulness into your childcare centre then come and train with me. This course integrates the Early Years Learning Framework with mindfulness and meditation.
It’s accredited through IMMA and includes an additional certificate for 20 hrs of cpd through KOTUS Rising Pty Ltd.
If you are a Director please consider signing up one of your staff members. This is a super affordable journey with lots of bonuses and ongoing support.
Here’s an outline of what’s in the course
Our signature course is amazing! Deep drive into the world of mindfulness and meditation with this mind blowing journey – as you discover ways of knowing, being, belonging and becoming.
The knowledge you will gain in this course really does set it apart. Teach from your own training and personal insights to deliver mindfulness and meditation sessions that interconnect with the Early Years Learning Framework.
This is a research-based course that will provide:
International accreditation through the International Mindfulness and Meditation Alliance (IMMA) and you can find us on their website under accredited schools. Just look for the KOTUS Method and Elizabeth Mulhane
Module 1. Mindfulness and Wellbeing
Module 2. Implementing Mindfulness into your Centre
Module 3. Mindfulness, Wellbeing and Movement
Module 4. The Mind and the Self
Module 5. Self-Inquiry and Compassion
Module 6. The Mind’s Eye
Module 7. Mindfulness, Sound and Sacred Geometry
Module 8. Consciousness
A 60 page downloadable workbook.
… and you will also receive 4 bonus programs
Bonus – 10 week mindfulness based creative play program for children. Additionally, this program integrates with a 10 week wellbeing program designed for parents to use in the home (ages 3 to 6 years).
Bonus – Mindful eating program (ages 7 to adult).
Bonus – The Oneness program (ages 12 to 18 years).
… plus ongoing bonuses and support
Bonus – Ongoing lifetime support via our private Facebook group (priceless). Network with a growing number of like-minded people from around the globe.
Bonus – Monthly zoom meetings for Q & A; group meditation; and bonus content, e.g., brain games (for all ages); music and the brain – teaching through music; teaching through story time; teaching through dance; teaching through movement; gathering energy through form.
You will need around 3 hours per week to complete the course within the 8 week time frame – or take as long as you need.
Give yourself and our children the tools they need to flourish. Sign up today and start discovering ‘being, belonging and becoming’ in a whole new way.
The course has everything you need to implement mindfulness into your childcare centre and also into your own life and way of being.
Thanks for your time, I do hope you join us. And please share this article.
Elizabeth Mulhane B PsychSc (Hons), MMT, CYT, TCHQ INSTR
Become an accredited Mindfulness For Children Practitioner
Study online at a time that suits you
P.S Here’s a Student Review
‘I just would like to say how amazing the Facebook group is thank you Elizabeth Mulhane! For anyone that is considering doing the childcare mindfulness course, just do it! I have loved every minute of it and I have learnt so much not just about how to support children through mindfulness, but also about myself……thank you Elizabeth’
– Cath Howard
Listen to Cath sharing her journey after completing the course.