Now that we are back in school, it is a good idea to prioritise our own wellbeing and get the new school year off to a healthy start.
STOP is an easy way to remember this four-step mindfulness practice.
Stop whatever you are doing.
Take a moment to just sit or stand with awareness, concentrate on the breath allowing the mind and body to settle.
Observe thoughts, noticing strong thinking patterns trying to pull you into action. Notice the body and try to get an overall sense of how you are really feeling at this moment. Can you identify any emotional states? If not, just continue to be an observer of your internal world.
Before Proceeding, bring your attention back to the breath, get ready to transition to your normal mode of being, perhaps with a new sense of clarity and calm.
As reflective practitioners, let’s add another element while we familiarise ourselves with this mindful practice. Each
time you practice STOP, make a mental note of your learning. Better still, grab a journal and record your insights – go wild with drawings, ideas, and notes. You have now begun your own wellbeing journal which will be useful to come back to as you incorporate your own wellness goals from the very beginning of the new academic year.
Mindfulness and wellbeing in the classrooms
The acronym STOP is a simple mindfulness skill which with practice you can pass onto your students.
1. Teach the STOP mindfulness practice twice a day, before circle time and home time perhaps. Sharing information about its benefits and why you use it will motivate your pupils to learn from you.
2. Integrate the STOP mindfulness practice into the whole school culture at assembly. Use a visible display board,
agree on the language used and be sure to congratulate pupils who use it and are then ready to proceed with
3. Create calm down jars/bottles, keep the jars in class, pretty soon your pupils will self-regulate by reaching for their calm jar. Just shaking it and watching the glitter settle is grounding. These bottles are great for children with sensory needs and useful after emotionally upsetting situations.
4. Use the learning to build empathy within the classroom. We are all familiar with overwhelmed ‘shaken up’ feelings
and we all appreciate taking a breather to pause and begin again.
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