Welcome to the Counselor Chronicles!

Welcome to The Counselor Chronicles! This is a way for me to communicate with you about what I’m doing with the boys in the Lower School, topics related to counseling and parenting, and additional items I think you may find helpful. On the Main page I’ll post news and thoughts. The About tab gives a description of the LS counseling program and how I can be a resource to you and your sons, and under the Bookshelf tab I’ll post articles, books, and links I hope you may find interesting. Check back from time to time for new resources and news!

Practicing Mindfulness

This year I’ve spent a good deal of time in the classroom teaching mindfulness, which is the practice of focusing on what is happening only in the present, in the here and now. Mindfulness activities help to teach children and adults stress reduction, relaxation, focus, and concentration.

From an article on the benefits of teaching mindfulness in schools:
  • Mindfulness has become a leading social-emotional learning trend in schools, and a range of studies have shown it to have positive effects on students’ emotional health as well as academic outcomes.
  • Edutopia reports a 2014 Dutch study found students who participated in 30-minute mindfulness sessions twice per week for six weeks had lower stress levels, greater well-being and better behavior than their peers — and a 2015 study of students in high-poverty, urban middle schools that participated in mindfulness-based stress reduction had less stress and depression and an increased ability to cope with challenging situations.
  • On the academic side, a 2015 study found fourth- and fifth-graders participating in a 12-week mindfulness program had 15% higher math grades than their peers, among other things, and a 2016 study of middle schoolers in a four-week mindfulness program found participating students had significantly improved working memory capacity.  

(Tara Garcia Mathewson, Education Dive website)

Our everyday lives are filled with almost constant stimulation and probably even more so for our children. In our current culture it is rare to be asked to sit still and silent AND find that relaxing and enjoyable! It’s been interesting to watch my students as we try simple acts of mindfulness. For example, we’ve done listening activities where they have to listen to a chime as long as possible or count how many times the bell is rung, breathing activities where they’ve had stuffed animals on their tummies to help them focus on their breathing. As with most skills, for some students this comes quite naturally and for others it’s a struggle. I remind them that with practice, and I encourage them to practice at home and school throughout the day, I’m hopeful that mindfulness will become a useful part of their day that they will really look forward to.