Mindfulness, “The psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment,” is an integral part of our daily lives at Detroit Prep. Every day after lunch, our students (and staff) embark on a fifteen minute psychological journey of self awareness through various forms of meditation and calming strategies aimed to refocus attention on the present in order to be ready to learn. Though mindfulness may vary depending on the crew and crew leader, all students are participating in some form of meditation and calming strategies during this fifteen minute period daily.
One of the common ways to help crews become more aware and present during mindfulness time is through breathing exercises and yoga. Every Monday in community crew, the students are taught a new breathing exercise in order to gain a vast library of strategies to use for self regulating their emotions and to incorporate during mindfulness time. Along with new breathing exercises being taught every Monday, a great resource that crew leaders use during mindfulness in the classroom is GoNoodle.com. This website includes categories of mindfulness and yoga videos aimed specifically for children. Whether the students are doing yoga with Maximo, or practicing meditation and breathing techniques from the Flow Channel the website is sure to keep a crew entertained, invested, and mindful.
Other mindfulness strategies that have been incorporated in crews around Detroit Prep include: quiet rest and reflection time while sitting in a seat or lying on pillows and carpet area, free drawing, free reading, and playing with tactile materials such as play doh.
This time of the day can look many different ways and may vary from crew to crew because there is not just one right way to be mindful. In order to create an organic and authentic space where a crew can be mindful, crew leaders must also be mindful and receptive to the needs and ideas of their crew. As long as students are finding a way to be calm and mindful in the way that resonates most with them, they can grow to understand how to carefully observe, not judge, their own thoughts and feelings so that they can appreciate their current experience and live in the moment.