Report – Mind The Gap
Is there a place for mindfulness in children’s lives?
- Mental health is one of the biggest concerns of the modern world
- Mindfulness has been proven to be of benefit for children and adults
- There is a place for calmness alongside the excitement of life for children
Beth Wood, Artistic Director of Prospero, began the session by encouraging the audience to participate in some mindfulness exercises that she uses with children. She explained that “mindfulness practice is about bringing your attention to the present in order to experience life more clearly and fully”.
Dr Barbie Clarke, Founder of Family Kids & Youth, shared research that indicates that one in five children will experience mental health difficulty before they are 11. There is concern over the amount of time children spend on digital devices and an increase in self harm, suicidal thoughts and cyber bullying. As a result the UK government are investing £1.4 billion in improving mental health for children.
Barbie agreed with Beth regarding the benefits of mindfulness including reduction in anxiety, increased problem solving and focus and improved achievements for children. It is also shown to increase a sense of wellbeing and optimism.
But can we marry the need for peace, calm and tranquillity with what children want?
Mike Batt is bringing ‘The Wombles’ back to our screens and strongly believes programme makers have a duty to be responsible and to not create overly fast paced shows just to compete in the market place. He believes children’s attention will be held with the right comedy, music and story.
Chris Turley then detailed how she uses specific mindfulness practices with students to help them express themselves alongside their learning. She stressed that fast paced elements in life are important and exciting too but these need to be balanced with calmness.
Finally Martin Amor took us into the world of Cosmic Yoga and Zen Den, a YouTube channel which use yoga and story to entertain and teach children about yoga and mindfulness. This is a successful idea as a business and in terms of results – parents who strongly believe their children now have better strength, balance, and focus.
The panel felt strongly that mindfulness is not too introspective, is used alongside emotional literacy and is about awareness of self, other people and the world around us.
Cosmic kids yoga
Creator and founder
Dramatico Entertainment Ltd
Dr Barbie Clarke
Family Kids & Youth
Dr Jacqueline Harding
Digital Learning Delivery