Meditation in Schools

Fostering Emotional Intelligence through Meditation for young people

Nikki has been working in local senior schools in Pembrokeshire for more than five years with some very positive results. The sessions offered are structured depending on the class needs, but all based on reflective practice with activities to foster personal exploration, coping strategies for anxiety, concentration difficulties, insomnia, anger and self-esteem issues.

Throughout the session, Nikki strives to hold a calm, reflective, honest and respectful space, with the understanding that being the example is how we evoke positive change in others. We explore all principles of meditation; gratitude, loving kindness, mindfulness, non-judgement, respect and non-violence, as the young people display behaviour or share stories and feelings, (starting by treating themselves with the principles before they can do so with others).

Example structure of Meditation in Schools class in school:

The sessions are presented in four sections to offer structure to the pupils to foster self discipline and a sense of safety.

  1. Check In – Reflection how they are feeling (often using coloured scarves or other tools to help), sharing of how they have used techniques through the week that have helped them etc.
  2. Seated Mindful Activity – this fosters a sense of calm, promotes the ability to sit still, offers a quiet space away from over-stimulation, but also helps to focus attention in the moment through concentration exercises (develops frontal lobe of brain). We also start breathing activities to learn how and why managing our breath can manage our emotions and actions.
  3. Creative Visualisation (lying down) – This part of the session is about using the power of the mind (using top sports people as examples) and how they can use their self scripts and imagination to manage themselves and their lives. This section also uses deep relaxation methods to begin to remind the pupils what it is like to feel relaxed, through the concept of neuro programming, the more they experience this, the more they will be able to become relaxed more easily. I also use meditations such as the inner smile , loving kindness, anger management by focus on soles of the feet and gratitude meditations all of which have been proven to change brain chemistry through research).
  4. Reflection of the session and how they feel. Ultimately, they feel calmer and better than when they walked in, this helps them to realise that whatever they feel, they can manage this and they can make choices to do so.

The pupils, teachers and parents have noticed the benefits of regular sessions not only at school but within their home environment.

Excerpt from Milford Haven School Feedback;

“We have had some amazing results such as improved behaviour, self-discipline and mood management. Teachers and parents have noticed positive changes in the classroom and in attitudes to work. The pupils themselves have commented on their use of the methods learnt, both at home and in school, enabling them to control stress levels and become more relaxed.
The pupils had the opportunity to be still and reflect on their own lives. They found that they were able to settle quicker, listen to others with empathy and share their own experiences of using the tools they had been given at times when they have struggled. As a result their sense of self-worth improved and therefore self-esteem. Of the pupils highlighted to continue with the provision 99% responded positively.
The meditation provision has offered a measurable benefit to the school. We have seen an increase in the coping mechanisms pupils are utilising in order to manage their emotions and behaviours. They have, and continue to, develop their emotional intelligence as well as their ability to cope within their daily lives. It is important not to under estimate the positive impact this represents on the school and the wider community.”
R. Francis, Head Teacher

Teacher Training

For continuity, teaching the teachers is an important part of working within schools. Nikki can offer training days for the staff for their own well-being and to learn effective tools to use within the class room.

Having seen the positive impact of meditation in schools on the pupils, time was set aside during an inset day for Support Staff to experience meditation techniques. This enabled staff to develop an insight into the skills and strategies offered to the pupils. Sharing this experience has allowed the staff to encourage and facilitate the use of meditative techniques within the school environment and in the wider day to day life.
Teacher feedback

Managing Exam Anxiety for school pupils and older students

Nikki offers one hour sessions for groups of up to 20 pupils.

The aim is to drop anxiety levels in exam students. High anxiety might prevent the person from reaching their ability level through poor performance induced through stress

Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy theory, anxiety theory and simple neuroscience concepts, Nikki develops the pupil’s understanding of how to manage themselves. She then gives the students tangible tools to help them reduce anxiety levels around exams and their performance. The theory and tools can be used not only during exam periods but for any anxiety provoking situation in life.

Every pupil that I have spoken to since the meditation session yesterday has had really positive feedback. Many have said that they would like to do it again. I also had other pupils asking if they could join at the last minute. I would definitely support any further opportunities for this in the future.
Michelle, teacher from Milford Haven School