Is it too early in the year to declare my favourite school project for 2017? Because this is it. Kerry Lomas tells us more –
We live in a fast paced world and there is an enormous need for children to develop the skills they require to cope with these changes and the speed at which they are happening. This includes learning how to manage attention and developing skills in stress management, compassion and resilience. This was a strong focus in Kick Start Kew this year.
The whole school, including teachers, completed a mindfulness stone task. This fun activity helped create a buzz in the playground whilst providing an opportunity to be creative and promote a sense of unity by encouraging discussion across the year levels.
Each student from Prep to Year 6 created a character using a stone. Some were based on themselves and others were fictional. Many of the teachers created a stone that had a somewhat uncanny resemblance to themselves… perhaps more representative of a ‘bad hair day’.
Students painted, coloured, glued and attached features to make their stone unique and their own. They will be kept in the classroom all year and used for a variety of tasks. For example, they can be used to assist students in noticing and monitoring their breathing when they are both peaceful and when stressful situations arise. Many students find that merely holding onto their stone when they are unsure of their emotions can help them to focus and restore calm.
Some classes have also used their stones as writing prompts, creating detailed profiles and imaginative stories behind the character of their stone.
Last Monday all staff created a giant treasure hunt for the students by placing their own mindfulness character stone in a secret location outside in the yard. The excitement created a buzz and students spent much of their playtime running around in groups seeing how many of the stones they could find.
Classes also completed mindful walks, focusing on searching for the stones together and trying to match them up to their creator. Students managed to find all the clever hiding spots, from the stone hiding in a slushy cup in the canteen to the stone in the rafters of the shelter shed. No stone was left unturned in the race to find them (pardon the pun).