Lessons in mind­ful­ness of­fered to Fife pri­mary pupils

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS -

Pri­mary school pupils in Fife are be­ing of­fered mind­ful­ness lessons in a move to boost their men­tal health.

Four schools in the re­gion have signed up for the Do-BeMind­ful Ini­tia­tive, which in­cludes ex­er­cises on breath­ing and lis­ten­ing, as well as strate­gies for man­ag­ing emo­tions and im­prov­ing re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers.

Louise Smith, who leads the ini­tia­tive, said mind­ful­ness had the po­ten­tial to raise at­tain­ment in schools by nur­tur­ing chil­dren’s abil­ity to fo­cus their at­ten­tion – a life skill she de­scribed as fun­da­men­tal in learn­ing

She said: “This is not an airy­fairy thing. It is backed up by sci­en­tific ev­i­dence. Ini­tially the re­search was all about adults and men­tal health, look­ing at mind­ful­ness as a way of help­ing with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

“Then there was a move to look­ing at how mind­ful­ness af­fects young peo­ple, and the ben­e­fits were pretty phe­nom­e­nal.”

She added pre­lim­i­nary ses­sions with chil­dren af­fected by at­ten­tion deficit hy­per­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der had shown pos­i­tive re­sults.

“What is quite unique is that all the par­ents be­long­ing to the school get ac­cess. The rea­son for open­ing it up to par­ents is there’s a huge fo­cus on clos­ing the at­tain­ment gap in Scot­land.”

Jac­que­line Price, act­ing head of Fife Coun­cil’s ed­u­ca­tion ser­vice, said: “We know that young peo­ple can face chal­lenges and emo­tional health is not sep­a­rate from their gen­eral health and well­be­ing.”

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