• Mindfulness for Student Mental Health in Schools

      Hayward, Lindsay
      Studies have shown an increase in mental illness among school-aged children, and schools do not provide adequate programming to meet the emotional needs of children and youth. Mindfulness is defined as present moment thinking with individuals focused on the current task at hand instead of past experiences or future desires. Research on the benefits of mindfulness within therapeutic and medical settings has been prominent; however, little research has connected the health benefits of mindfulness for school-aged children. Evidence shows that mindfulness has tremendous benefits in regards to stress management, self-efficacy, emotional regulation, academic achievement, and overall emotional wellbeing. This paper addresses the growing need for mindfulness as a form of prevention and intervention within schools. It provides the background and benefits of mindfulness, meeting all 3 learning domains and building a positive classroom culture. It also highlights a variety of approaches to mental health including the newly created REAL model for classroom teachers.
    • Mindfulness Practices and Children’s Emotional and Mental Well-Being: Activities to Build and Strengthen Everyday Resilience Adapted for Primary School Teachers

      Peacock, Jennifer (2014-11-12)
      This project reviewed current research on mental health and Canadian children, and then examined the practice of mindfulness as a means of supporting well-being and circumventing the potential detrimental effects of mental health problems. By contextualizing these findings within the recently released educational vision of the Ontario Ministry of Education (2014), which identifies well-being as one of the core principles of education in Ontario, this project investigated how mindfulness-based practices can be brought into the primary grade classroom. The ultimate purpose of this project is the development of a handbook for Ontario teachers of students in grades 1 to 3 (ages 6 to 8). This resource was developed from a comprehensive literature review and provides educators with easy-to-follow activities to use in the classroom to encourage the development of resilience and emotional well-being through mindfulness. The handbook also includes additional information and resources regarding both mindfulness and mental health that may be helpful to teachers, students, and parents.
    • A Specialized Yoga Handbook to Build Self-Regulation and Aid Transitions in the Go Girls Program

      Touchette, Tiffany
      Go Girls: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, A Specialized Yoga Handbook For Mentors is designed for mentors to implement a specialized yoga practice into each mentoring session as a way to enhance adolescent females' self-regulation development and to assist them during transitions back to regular school structures. The intentions of the handbook were to provide mentors with simple, easy to follow lesson plans to use nearing the end of each session to encourage mindfulness among the group. The handbook offers a five- session lesson plan that is to be used as a cool-down exercise to conclude each Go Girls session. The girls will learn a variety of skills through mindful yoga practice. Throughout this unit, the girls will learn general objectives, breathing technique, and basic standing and balancing poses, and they will lead fellow peers through their created yoga sequence. By the end of this experience, the girls will be able to perform their own yoga sequences and reflect on the “why, how, and so what” of yoga, so that they can continue to incorporate yoga into their daily lives. The project began with a comprehensive examination of current literature surrounding the use of yoga with adolescent populations. Through the literature review, and from personal and professional experience, it became apparent that yoga practice with adolescent populations has numerous personal, physical, and psychological benefits.
    • Using Poetry, Story, and Reflection to Understand Professional Self After Personal Loss

      Lenover, Cheryl (2014-07-21)
      This research investigated professional identity transformation after personal loss. Through autoethnographic methods, I explore how my personal experience of my sister’s breast cancer and death affected my identity as a diabetes educator in the health culture. I discover a transformation of a professional who focuses on evidence-based medicine to a professional who values connection, therapeutic alliance, and mindfulness with patients and self in the diabetes education encounter. Using a holistic perspective on transformational learning, I integrate the poem “Wild Geese” to a collection of written narratives to connect my personal loss experience to my professional life. By unpacking the generated stories and using poetry, I conduct a process of critical and self-reflection to discover how my identity as a health professional has transformed and what makes meaning in my role as a diabetes educator in the health culture. I consider concepts of a conscious self, social relations and language and discover themes of knowledge exchange, food, and empathy as forms of language expression. These language expressions are not present in my professional life as I focus on rational, logical facts of evidence-based medicine and standardized education methods. Through this reflexive process, I hope to understand how my professional practice has changed, where I place an importance on connection, therapeutic alliance, and mindfulness. I move away from always “doing” in my professional life to focus on my state of “being” in my professional world. Rather than knowledge acquisition as the only factor in professional development, this study contributes to an understanding of additional qualities health professionals may consider that focus on the patient education encounter.