Teachers – prepare for a Mindful return to school

WITH just weeks to go to schools returning, it is clear that the September 2020 return will be like no other.

Across the world fears and concerns regarding coronavirus are spreading quicker than the virus itself and return to school is not an exception. However, amid the real danger that coronavirus poses to many the fear may be in overdrive and doing little for our health and wellbeing.

The reality is that when our minds become anxious and fearful, the stress response kicks in. The heart rate speeds up, the breath increases and a cocktail of stress hormones flood through the body.

At this time a response is needed in order to remain calm and healthy and connect with the peace and ease we deeply desire.

One simple way to deal with day to day anxieties at this time is to pause for a moment of kindness towards ourselves, perhaps even imagining a kind wish for today. Another mindful way it is to take a nice slow deep breath, to use the breath as an anchor as you notice the breath as it comes into the body and as it goes out.

School principals and management teams are busily preparing to welcome children and staff members back to school and doing everything possible to ensure their safe return. Many schools are preparing a mindful return being particularly aware of pupils' needs and also that it can be an anxious time for teachers, parents and children.

Mayo schools are supported by the Mayo Education Centre which is offering primary and secondary school teachers a great variety of online courses and resources throughout July and August. Their mindfulness courses offer teachers and pupils a welcome opportunity to learn and practice mindfulness and wellbeing and gain new and fresh ideas for the coming school year.

Entitled Mindfulness, Self Care and Classroom Wellbeing and Mindfulness, Wellbeing and Resilience for Schools, these courses offer simple practices for a mindful responses to thoughts and feelings. They also provide skills and knowledge that provide teachers and pupils to make confident and healthy choices when required.

The courses are designed by Dr. Ann Caulfield and Derval Dunford and are available until August 14.

Primary and secondary school teachers can log on to these summer courses at https://www.mayoeducationcentre.ie/ in order to find calm and new ideas for creating a mindful classroom and school as the new term begins.

* Pictured, Derval Dunford (left) and Dr. Ann Caulfield

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