Mindful Schools Program

We run four 8-week courses onsite at schools to help embed Mindfulness practice into the school culture and assist families to maintain alignment with Mindful values at home. We also regularly offer 90 minute introductory talks on Mindfulness for teachers and parents as well as 1, 2 or 3 hour workshops for teachers, parents or students to explore the philosophy, practice and integration of Mindfulness into their lives.

Mindful Parents.jpg

Mindfulness Foundations for Parents

This course covers the Mindfulness Foundations content but also focuses on bringing mindful awareness to parenting interactions

The course aims to help parents more mindfully attend to their children’s needs, while exercising emotional regulation and wise choice in their actions. As well as exploring core mindfulness content, we explore the five pillars of Mindful Parenting:

Listening to our children with full attention

Aims:

• To increase our ability to correctly discern our child’s behavioural cues • To increase our ability to correctly perceive our child’s verbal communication • To decrease our use (and the power) of rigid narratives about our child and our parenting

Nonjudgmental acceptance of self and child

Aims:

• To create a healthy balance between child-oriented and parent-oriented goals • To increase our parenting confidence • To increase appreciation of our child’s traits • To decrease unrealistic expectations of our child.

Emotional awareness of self and child

Aims:

• To increase our responsiveness to our child’s needs • To decrease our behaviours that act to dismiss our child’s emotions

• To decrease discipline that arises reactively from our own negative emotion (e.g. anger, shame, disappointment)

Self-regulation of emotion

Aims:

To increase our ability to regulate our own emotions as a parent • To parent according to our deeply held values • To decrease ‘autopilot’ discipline • To decrease our dependence on our child’s emotions

Compassion for self and child

Aims:

• To increase the amount of positive affection in the relationship with our child • To take a forgiving stance about our parenting efforts • To decrease the amount of negative emotion displayed in the parent-child relationship • To decrease the tendency to blame ourselves when our parenting goals are not achieved

As with all our programs, the development of mindful awareness and mindful parenting skills happens in a small group through practice, instruction, activities and discussion. All levels of mindfulness meditation experience are welcome.

Details:

Eight weeks (2 hours per week class time plus home practices and readings)

Group size is kept small (ten people maximum) to ensure individual attention, a safe environment and depth of discussion

The course uses an evidenced-based curriculum format and blends this with activities from ACT to help participants develop a solid understanding and practice

Training and strengthening the ‘muscle of attention’ through meditation is central: we progress from a 10-minute meditation in Week 2 to a 40-minute meditation in Week 8

Open to all parents

Facilitated by Briar Jacques

Mindfulness Foundations for Kids

Mindfulness for kids and teens.jpg

This course includes the Mindfulness Foundations content but is more activity based to bring awareness to interpersonal interaction, understanding emotions and making choices about behavior based on values

This course follows the Mindfulness Foundations format but also draws from the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Children approach. As well as practising the fundamentals of mindfulness together, the focus is on how to manage difficult emotions (e.g. anxiety), exam pressure, interpersonal relationships and change. An exploration of values, empathy, emotions and the relationship with the thinking mind is central. The course aims to help children or teens:

• Recognize their own natural mindfulness and learn ways to keep it strong • Become more emotionally resilient • Respond well to thoughts and emotions • Understand how unhelpful thoughts can trigger feelings like fear, anger, sadness, jealousy or loneliness, how these can lead to acting out and how to instead accept them and respond to them with wisdom • Practice acceptance of self, others and things which we cannot change • Expand the ability to respond rather than just react. To choose their actions based on their values • Understand themselves and others with wisdom and compassion

Learning happens through practice, instruction, activities, group discussion and fun.

Details:

Eight weeks (2 hours per week class time plus home practices and readings)

Group size is kept small (ten maximum) to ensure individual attention, a safe environment and depth of discussion

The course uses an evidenced-based curriculum format and blends this with activities from ACT to help participants develop a solid understanding and practice

Groups are divided according to age:

Kids – years 5 to 8 (aged 10-13)

Teens – years 9-12 (aged 14-18)

Facilitated by Dominic Watts

Young adult mindfulness.jpg

Mindfulness Foundations for Young Adults

T h i s c o u r s e c o v e r s t h e f u n d a m e n t a l s o f m i n d f u l n e s s p r a c t i c e b u t f o c u s s e s e s p e c i a l l y o n t h e c h a l l e n g e s o f l i f e a s a y o u n g a d u l t

You will learn the foundations of Mindfulness practice, which include:

• What mindfulness is, and what it isn’t • How to meditate • To identify your habits of mind through observation and experience

This course has been specifically tailored to help young adults establish a mindfulness practice which brings them wellbeing and enriches every aspect of their lives. The teenage years can be extraordinarily challenging in many ways, and the pace and technology of the modern world present new problems for young adults which have not been encountered by previous generations. Throughout this course, you will develop a mindful way of living through meditation, observation, experience and group discussion. Through the practice of meditation, you will discover how to remain centred and grounded amid the turbulence of life, and how to consistently act according to your deeply held values. The modern education system focusses too much on academic progress at the expense of educating people about their inner world, and it does not sufficiently equip young adults for the world they are living in and moving into. This course aims to re-balance this and to allow young adults to feel a deep sense of harmony within their own lives.

This course will specifically allow young adults to:

• Develop the ability to remain grounded in pressured and stressful situations • Understand the value of present moment awareness and attention • Develop and maintain a healthy relationship with technology and social media • Examine, nurture and live according to their values • Understand the relationship between thoughts, emotions and actions • Understand themselves and others with wisdom and compassion

D e t a i l s :

Eight weeks (2 hours per week class time plus home practices and readings)

Group size is kept small (eight people maximum) to ensure individual attention, a safe environment and depth of discussion

The course uses an evidenced-based curriculum format to help participants develop a solid understanding and practice

Training and strengthening the ‘muscle of attention’ through meditation is central: we progress from a 10-minute meditation in Week 2 to a 40-minute meditation in Week 8

Open to teens aged 14-18

Facilitated by Dominic Watts

Mindfulness for teachers.jpg

Mindfulness Foundations for Teachers

This course covers the Mindfulness Foundations content but also focuses on meeting the inherent challenges and opportunities of teaching with mindful awareness

This course aims to help teachers become more mindful as individuals and then focuses on how they can bring their full mindful self into the classroom and other daily interactions at school. According to research, teaching is rated as the second most stressful occupation (after ambulance driving) and burnout, extended sick leave and presenteeism are all real issues effecting the profession. Why? Apart from external pressures regarding performance of self and students and high expectations from a variety of stakeholders, teachers must constantly shift their attention while remaining open, responsive, effective and accurate, all within a distracting and unpredictable context in which they are highly scrutinized. This can all be very difficult to deal with when the ability to hold one’s attention where it best serves the current reality is underdeveloped. Having a strong muscle of awareness, cultivated though meditation and other mindfulness practices, greatly serves teachers – helping them be more present,

responsive and healthy in dealing with their own feelings and the feelings of their students. In this course we will explore the values that drew them into teaching, the profession’s challenges and the huge daily opportunity (and responsibility) for affecting the life trajectories of their students.

Aims:

• To build a sustainable daily mindfulness meditation practice • To learn and practice ways to manage stress and anxiety well • To free their creativity and connect with their own child within • To minimize the risk of burnout • To be more awake to the opportunities to plant ‘mindfulness seeds’ during the day and positively impact the lives of their students through what they model

Details:

Eight weeks (2 hours per week class time plus home practices and readings)

Group size is kept small (ten people maximum) to ensure individual attention, a safe environment and depth of discussion

The course uses an evidenced-based curriculum format and blends this with activities from ACT to help participants develop a solid understanding and practice

Training and strengthening the ‘muscle of attention’ through meditation is central: we progress from a 10-minute meditation in Week 2 to a 40-minute meditation in Week 8

Open to teachers of all year groups and specialisations

Facilitated by Briar Jacques or Dominic Watts

Dom pic.jpg

Dominic Watts

Manager - Mindful Schools Program

Dom previously worked in education as a classroom teacher and mindfulness trainer for students, teachers and parents. He oversees our program for schools, working with them to design the most impactful training plan according to specific needs and context.

More about Dom…

He has been studying Mindfulness and personal transformation since the age of 15, when he was at school under the guidance of Chris Cullen, who started the Mindfulness in Schools Project. He always sought to apply Mindfulness in the classroom in his previous work as a teacher and has taught workshops and courses of Mindfulness in schools to children (ranging from 4-18), teachers and parents for 5 years. In the UK, Dominic also worked for the British Tennis Association as a Sports Psychologist, creating a Mindfulness-based program for a player in Britain’s top 5 through exploring the links between mindfulness and top performance under pressure.

Approach to Mindfulness

Dominic’s work focuses on helping others to flourish in their lives by seeking to understand themselves and their way of being in the world. He uses simple, enjoyable and direct inquiry to teach Mindfulness to people of all ages. He has a relaxed but dynamic teaching style which allows difficult topics to be explored in a lighthearted and open way, which allows people from all walks of life to feel comfortable in his groups.

Training

Dominic has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Nottingham (UK). He also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Buckingham (UK). Dominic has learned Mindfulness teaching from Chris Cullen, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Schools Project; Laura Hyde, Director of Education at St. James’ Schools in the UK; and David Brazier, current Head Master of St. James’ Senior School for Boys.

Contact:

+971523572027

dom@thefreespiritproject.earth