Cape Dorset Nunavut.
The landscape is a metaphor for mindfulness. An infinite expanse of time and space. Awareness and acceptance of present moment experience is a stark reality. In this inspirational setting, I recently had the privilege of working with Cape Dorset school teachers to explore the benefits of mindfulness.
School boards across Canada have begun to adopt a mindful approach to education by implementing the Mind Up Curriculum. A University of BC study has shown that the Mind Up program helps students develop self awareness, self management abilities, social awareness, relationship skills and a capacity for decision making. When schools decide to adopt the Mind Up curriculum it is the classroom teachers who bear the greatest responsibility for integrating it into daily classroom activities. And although it may seem obvious that teachers should have an opportunity to directly experience what they are expected to teach ahead of time, this is not always the case.
Recognizing the importance of practicing what you teach, and with the intent of empowering teachers to serve as mindfulness models for their students, Cape Dorset sponsored a two and a half day mindfulness workshop where teachers learned and practiced basic mindfulness skills.
Schools around the world need this!! People need this! Since the workshop all we have been talking about the shift we have felt in our own selves, and how powerful it is to actually be mindful of our own bodies, and to explore emotions and thoughts non-judgementally. Something we were all missing!
A workshop participant
Simply by practicing mindful movement (yoga), breath, and meditation the Cape Dorset teachers directly experienced the benefits that mindfulness brings. After just two days people were more relaxed, sleeping better at night, and were outwardly inspired to explore ways they could incorporate mindfulness into their personal lives, their classrooms, and into the culture of the school.
As a mindfulness practitioner and teacher I found it both gratifying and inspiring to witness the awakening that Cape Dorset Staff experienced and really hope to have an opportunity to share this experience with other schools and teachers. I sincerely believe that our children are our future. The path to a more peaceful world will be shaped by kind and compassionate people who take the time to think and respond rather than to simply react. My experience in Dorset leaves me without any doubt that schools, and teachers, can play an important role in making this happen.
So if you are an educator and would like to experience mindfulness for yourself please let us know. We would be happy to get you started so you can experience mindfulness first hand and develop an understanding for the ways it can be used for the benefit of all in a school setting.
Brendon February, 2017