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4. Implementing a Whole School Approach
School culture

To change behaviours of students, staff and parents, the school’s culture needs to reflect one of mindfulness.  This can be created in several ways but broadly involves communication, role modelling and whole-school activities.


Strategies for Action

Communication

  • Newsletter items;
  • Notes and flyers home to families;
  • Discussion at assemblies;
  • Discussion at staff meetings;
  • Integration in to daily notices;
  • Tips and reminders within school diaries or planners; and
  • Information discussed at parent evenings.

Role Modelling

  • Leadership Team role model mindful practices in all activities;
  • Mindful activities modelled at staff meetings / professional development;
  • Staff supported to practice mindfulness in stressful situations; and
  • Staff encouraged to role model and help students to use mindful practice while managing student behaviour

Whole-school activities

  • Assembly items and discussions;
  • Incursions / Excursions;
  • Whole-school activities such as Yoga, Zentangling, Meditations; and
  • Extra-curricular activities offered (lunch time activities, before or after school).

Examples for Developing a School Culture

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    Meditation and staff meetings

    What is it

    Taking time to meditate or breathe before or during staff meetings.

    How it works

    Many organisations lead a 5-10 minute meditation before staff meetings.  Schools can also commit to doing some deep breaths before a meetings commence.

    Instructions

    Have a member of the school faculty lead a meditation at the beginning of a staff meeting. You can use one of MMA's scripted or recorded meditations or one of Smiling Minds recorded meditations.

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    Mindfulness for dealing with challenging behaviour

    What is it

    Using mindfulness to work with young people or staff who are emotionally triggered.

    How it works

    There are many techniques available for dealing with challenging behaviour in a mindful way. Schools may select a number of strategies to use throughout the school when dealing with behaviour issues.

    Instructions
    • Doing breath work before dealing with issues
    • Dealing with issues in an outdoor setting not in an office
    • Committing to a cool off period before discussing problems
    • Recognising that some more challenging young people will not be able to take part in normal class activities some days and finding other ways they can help in the school
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    Short daily practice over PA system

    What is it

    3-10 minute daily practice over the PA system.

    How it works

    Create a school wide commitment for doing one daily meditation over the PA.  This can be done at the beginning of the year in school assemblies.

    Instructions

    Electing a member of staff or student to lead a daily mindfulness or meditation practice over the schools PA system. You can choose a recorded meditation from MMA or Smiling Mind or have a staff member or student deliver the meditation.

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    Committed practice before exams

    What is it

    Use mindfulness and meditation to prepare students and teachers for exam time.

    How it works

    Have teachers commit to doing a 5-10 minute meditation before sitting any exam at the beginning of the year in staff meetings.

    Instructions

    Teachers can choose to play a recorded meditation from MMA or Smiling Mind or lead a the practice themselves. The type of meditation used might include some time to relax and visualise a successful exam process. Meditation's that support this links:…..

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    Integrating mindfulness into the school’s existing Values Program

    What is it

    Sustainable way of embedding mindfulness

    How it works

    Mindfulness is linked to the values program to ensure its sustainability and to demonstrate its clear linkage to the school's current activities

    Instructions

    Look for ways to link mindfulness to the school's current Values (or similar) program.  As every school will have a different set of values or way of embedding values, this integration process will look different in every school.  Ideas for linking values to mindfulness include changing some of the values messages to reflect mindful practice.

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    Encouraging calming after breaks

    What is it

    Committed meditation after lunch or recess.

    How it works

    Create a school wide commitment for delivering a 5-10 minute practice after all breaks. Young people can take part in some quite time to calm and prepare for learning.

    Instructions

    Take part in MMA's Body Breath meditation if there is not much available time. For longer meditations a recording can be played or custom meditation can be delivered by a staff member. Links to suggested recorded meditations:

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    Newsletter items

    What is it

    Continual promotion of mindfulness messages to families

    How it works

    Short reminders about mindfulness are added to weekly or fortnightly newsletters or family communication channels

    Instructions

    Use MMA newsletter items

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    Whole school Body Breath commitment

    What is it

    Easy fast and effective practice.

    How it works

    This practice can be adopted school-wide with little training. It's purpose is to calm and reset. This can be done before dealing with issues, after breaks, in meetings, or on-the-spot throughout the day.

    Instructions

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    Reminders in school diaries / planners

    What is it

    Weekly and daily reminders for students and staff

    How it works

    Tips and reminders placed in the diary or planners before being printed/published by the school

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    Mindfulness month

    What is it

    School-wide wellbeing focused month.

    How it works

    Dedicating a month in each school year to wellbeing. The month can be advertised to parents, staff and young people and might include a mental health style activity everyday of the month to give young people some understanding of the different tools they can access for personal support.

    Instructions

    School might engage external facilitators to lead yoga, meditation and mindfulness workshops. Staff and young people might dedicate more time each day to mindfulness and meditation activities. The school might choose this month to learn about emotional regulation and mental health techniques.

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    Daily Notices

    What is it

    Ongoing regular reminders to the whole-school community of mindfulness

    How it works

    If using PA announcements etc, the Principal or Deputy integrates mindfulness reminders on a regular basis

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    Staff role modelling mindful behaviour

    What is it

    Students witnessing adults role modelling mindfulness

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    Excursions or Incursions relating to mindfulness

    What is it

    External agencies reinforcing mindfulness messages

    Instructions

    If you would like recommendations please contact MMA

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    Extra-curricular activities offered at break times or before/after school

    What is it

    Activities offered to support students who may require additional social or emotional support

    How it works

    Chess clubs, meditation groups, colouring or yoga sessions etc

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