Mindfulness in education

All schools should introduce a daily “stillness” session to give pupils time for reflection away from the frantic pressures of modern life, according to a leading headmaster. Children should be required to keep quiet for around two minutes each day to give them respite from social media and school work.

Dr Seldon, the master of Wellington College, Berkshire, said anxiety levels and rates of depression had increased in recent years because of the pressure to meet exam targets.

Pupils’ concentration has also been eroded by the “incessant chatter” of modern life, he said, with children spending a large amount of time on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Wellington College has introduced a mindfulness programme for pupils and staff that involve two-minute “stillness” periods each day – a time for silent reflection. Pupils aged 13-to-15 also have a weekly 15-minute stillness session led by their teacher.

Dr Seldon, who has previously pioneered initiatives such as happiness and wellbeing lessons to improve children’s mental health, said: mindfulness has been shown to be an invaluable tool to help bolster young people’s resilience to psychological stress.

“It also boosts concentration, depth of thought, happiness and achievement. It is the most simple and natural technique to learn – indeed it is not really a technique at all, it is all about being yourself, making the most of yourself, and making the most of the opportunities that life presents to you. It promotes trusting relationships, healthy living, and psychological and emotional security.”

(Daily Telegraph March 2014)

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