School health in action:
Mindfulness for mental health
Categories: Mental Health, Health Promotion, Junior High, Senior High, Elementary, Calgary and area,
When you step into many of the classrooms and schools within Rocky View Schools (RVS), it doesn’t take long to see, hear, or feel mindfulness in the air.
Take a moment. Here's what you'll notice:
- Daily mindful practices, like sensing activities during morning circle
- Mindfulness activities woven into lessons and activities, such as:
- Stretching, yoga, and mindful movement in physical education
- Mindful seeing in art
- Mindful nature walks
- Chimes, singing bowls, and other rich sounds to cue students and staff for brain breaks—reminding them to take deep breaths and calm themselves
- Mindfulness prompts, stations, and tools set up in school spaces
- Classroom conversations about how our brains work, with a focus on helping each student find the mindfulness techniques that work best for them
Mindfulness is infused into the routines, practices, and learning environments.
Trauma-informed mindfulness programming has been a priority within the school authority since 2017. It's part of a broader strategy led by Stepping Stones to Mental Health, RVS' mental health capacity building initiative.
Stepping Stones staff work in RVS schools and communities to support mindfulness and other mental health and wellness priorities. Their approach includes:
- Mentoring teachers and staff on mindfulness techniques
- Providing resources on mindfulness, like books, activity cards, and videos
- Facilitating professional learning sessions and communities of practice for teachers and staff to learn from each other about mindfulness across the whole school community
- Collaborating with local agencies that support mindfulness, including community and summer programs
- Partnering with AHS' Community Education Service to help parents learn about mindfulness and other ways to support child and teen mental health
Over time, many RVS teachers and staff have become champions for mindfulness as a way of life at school. Reflecting on the difference this approach makes, some report that mindful activities have helped their students better handle emotions, solve problems, and resolve conflicts. Others say that mindfulness builds empathy in their students, so they're more ready to help their peers through challenges.
"Students are happier and more engaged because they have confidence in their ability to manage daily challenges, without getting overwhelmed." – Program Manager, Stepping Stones to Mental Health, Rocky View Schools
Learn more about this story
- Keep your mindUP (video)
Rocky View Schools
- Mindfulness (video)
Rocky View Schools
For more information and tips to take action, go to: