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Mindfulness in Action: The Mind With Heart Network

In this article posted in The Guardian, The Mind With Heart Network is described as dedicated to giving children the space to “investigate what happiness, empathy, altruism, and compassion are.” Founded by a group of four educators in the UK in 2010, the organization offers a mindfulness curriculum and trainings to teachers all over the world who are willing to participate.  

Mindfulness requires consistent focus on the present moment and a heightened non-judgmental attentiveness to your actions and reactions to others -- basically, it is conducive to really listening and appreciating what others have to offer.  In this way, mindfulness is put into action as a tool for cultivating kindness, confidence, and increased academic performance-- and happiness as a result.

The teachers willing to participate in such a program actively work with the children in a way that changes the dynamic of the traditional teacher-student relationship so is more interactive: both the teachers and the students are actively practicing mindfulness and therefore contributing to each others’ social and emotional development.

It is highly revolutionary and, what’s more, research suggests that it is highly effective.

On the other hand, there are many who might be opposed to such practices, as this article from the New York Times suggests.  Yoga -- which also teaches aspects of mindfulness -- is being introduced to school systems throughout the United States and is the subject of much controversy, the Times reports.  Many believe it is a violation of the First Amendment, and that it influences children too much toward “ancient Hindu beliefs.”  Children are being taught “how to think and make decisions,” not just how to do certain “poses.”  

Basically, giving children the space to investigate what mindfulness and awareness are is giving children too much space, as it challenges the religious views that parents have and want to instill in their children.  Despite whatever research might prove in terms of its benefits, teaching yoga, meditation, or mindfulness seems to be a direct threat to the values of many parents.

Photo Credit: Morguefile

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