A guide for busy elementary educators on how to easily incorporate mindfulness activities into existing curriculum
Teaching students how to focus and self-regulate at a young age can provide them with skills that will help throughout their schooling and adult lives. Like anyone, they need easy-to remember tools and strategies to calm their minds and focus on the moment. This interactive, research based curriculum helps preK and elementary teachers integrate simple, ready-to use stretching, breathing, and reflective exercises as well as other mindfulness practices into their daily routines. Includes digital content with reproducible handouts from the book.
About the Author
James Butler, M.Ed., has been teaching kindergarten and prekindergarten since 2002. He has a B.S. in education and early childhood from Indiana’s Manchester University and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University. He is now the SEL (social-emotional learning) mindfulness specialist for the Austin Independent School District (AISD), working with teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and grades preK–12 students. During the 2016–2017 school year, James helped implement a mindfulness curriculum in all 130 AISD campuses. He lives in Austin, Texas.
“Mindful Classrooms offers wonderfully concrete activities for teachers who want to lead mindful movement and breathing exercises with their students in the classroom. It’s the perfect complement to the daily guided sitting practices that more and more schools are embedding into the school day to benefit both students and teachers. This book can help educators foster a more mindful classroom in which to support their students’ social and emotional learning.” — Laurie Grossman, director of social justice and educational equity, Inner Explorer, Inc.
“I have been inspired by the research presented that shows the positive effects of secular mindfulness in schools. It allows time for reflection while reducing stress and anxiety. Learning how to relax and concentrate on the task at hand is important and worthwhile for students, teachers, and even superintendents. I’m hopeful for Mindful Classrooms, and I want to encourage everyone to reflect on the importance of having a proper balance.” — Dr. Paul Cruz, Austin ISD superintendent
“Mindful Classrooms has helped teach our students and staff to self-regulate when they are frustrated, angry, or anxious, or they need a brain break. Academics are very important but with the help of Mindful Classrooms, we are teaching whole-child life skills that will complement their academic work.” — Mark Overly, Carrcroft Elementary principal
“My students have been more aware of themselves and how their attitude affects themselves and others. They’ve even told me ‘I was able to do this when I was angry, and I wanted to yell but I just breathed, and I worked through it.’” — Callie Alldredge, Pflugerville Elementary third-grade teacher
“Students and teachers quickly embraced using Mindful Classrooms on a daily basis. Both groups stated it helps them be more centered and focused. It’s had a positive impact on my campus from kindergarten through fifth grade.” — Genia Antoine, Pflugerville Elementary principal
“One of my favorite parts of the day is walking into a classroom where the teacher is leading a mindfulness activity. Seeing a room full of kiddos, sitting on the carpet, working on their breathing together, with the teacher modeling it with them . . . it’s really amazing to see. The Mindful Classrooms activities have been huge for our campus climate and we have even started incorporating mindfulness at our morning assemblies. It’s that important.” — Brian Hill, Pillow Elementary principal
“I have experienced Mindful Classrooms as both a parent and an educator. Both my son and my students alike have learned how to use mindfulness as a tool to self-regulate. Professionally and personally I have learned how to use mindfulness as a way to manage everyday stressors that come along with being an educator, a wife, and a mother.” — Allison Hinojosa, Gullett Elementary preK teacher and mom