SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – This school year, Roosevelt Elementary School will be the site of ‘Pause-itivity,’ a pilot program focusing on empowering teachers to bring mindfulness techniques into the classroom.
“I am really excited about the program and I think it is great that we have been chosen as the pilot school for it,” said Roosevelt Principal Dr. Robert Goman.
Run by Lou Redmond, author and founder of New Jersey-based One Mindful Education, the ‘Pause-itivity’ program is designed to positively shift the school’s culture and increase the mental and emotional wellness of faculty and students.’ A mindfulness approach, according to Redmond, can help regulate emotions, manage stress and anxiety, improve focus and attention, increase compassion, create connections, and improve sleep.
“We offer fun and effective ways you can immediately start implementing mindfulness into your school,” said Redmond, noting that today’s children are facing stress and anxiety at an early age and the goal is to provide them with the tools ‘to pause, develop self-awareness, and become more aware of how their environment is impacting them. [Through the program] we are giving them a tool belt to use to help them feel better.”
Based on the 5 Element methodology – ‘connect,’ breath,’ ‘move,’ ‘focus,’ and ‘relax’ – the goal of the ‘Pause-itivity’ program is to help both teachers and students ‘improve their overall well-being as well as create a positive environment for learning to thrive.’
“It all starts in the classroom and, if a teacher can have an impact, it can be a top-down approach. There is consistency there; they are with them every day and can make an impact,” said Redmond.
“There are times, in the classroom, where we need to take a second to pause, take a breath, think about what we are doing, and regroup,” said Goman. “Through this program, [Redmond] is going to provide us with techniques the students and teachers can use to reduce and manage situations when one may feel overwhelmed.”
Over the course of the school year, Redmond will hold three different professional development sessions focused on ‘empowering teachers to bring mindfulness techniques into the classroom.’ He will also host two age-appropriate assemblies at the school and lead co-teaching sessions in the classroom.
Objectives of the program include providing teachers with a solid foundation of what mindfulness is and is not (Mindfulness 101) and showing them experientially the effect the nervous system has on emotions and how they can influence their feelings through mindfulness (Stress Response Management) .
Through the ‘Pause-itivity’ program, Roosevelt teachers will also be provided with concrete examples of how stress can affect students and child development and presented with practical tools they can use to help boost energy, reduce stress/anxiety, increase ability to pay attention, and help improve sleep quality . Additionally, teachers will receive scripts and online links to use on their own.
“As educators we are seeing the absolute need for something to combat our students’ stress and anxiety levels that are at such an all-time high that the bottom line - their education and ability to learn - is undeniably being greatly affected,” stated South Plainfield’s Director of Guidance Sam Fierra on the One Mindful Education website. “…Lou [Redmond] gives us simple, easy to use concepts and strategies to implement quickly and effortlessly—while speaking our language in getting us to understand ‘the why’ and ‘the how.’”
While participation is voluntary, Goman said almost all of Roosevelt’s staff expressed interest. “This is something new and I didn’t want to force it on anyone but when I sent an email out to see if there was interest almost every single teacher in the building said they wanted to be a part of it,” Goman said, adding, “I think this program will bring a different level of self-awareness to not only the students but also the staff and, in the end, we will have happier students and happier teachers, which will lead to a better learning environment."
For more information on Lou Redmond and One Mindful Education, visit https://onemindfuleducation.com.
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