[Tis the season of millions of children in America returning to school. As more and more teachers are trained to introduce mindfulness and emotional intelligence skills in the classroom, we hope more and more students will experience the benefits of focused attention, relaxation, and feeling at home within themselves. Here are four pioneering and delightful resources to help make that happen, at home as well as in the classroom.]
Awakening Joy for Kids was just published in August 2016. Co-authored by James Baraz, co-founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and developer of the phenomenally successful Awakening Joy course online and in Berkeley, CA, and Michele Lilyanna, a classroom teacher in British Columbia who has taught these practices to students, parents and teachers for many years, foreword by Tara Brach.
From my own endorsement of Awakening Joy for Kids:
Awakening Joy for Kids is the new “go-to” resource to help parents and teachers help children manage fears and worries and develop a deep inner wellspring of well-being.
From basics of breath, touch, and movement to broad applications of mindfulness, social and emotional learning, positivity and resilience training, the authors provide masterful guidance to hundreds of age-appropriate lessons that are fun, playful, practical, and easily adaptable to the materials at hand in home and school.
For each of the 10 steps of awakening joy, this well-organized and beautifully illustrated book interweaves principles and purposes, simple lessons and practices, examples and heartwarming stories of how and why the lessons actually work, and resources from adult and children’s literature for further learning.
Awakening Joy is “kid-tested,” reader friendly, and life-changing. Highly recommended as the treasure-trove it truly is.
Little Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance by Jennifer Cohen Harper, a pioneering teacher of yoga for young people in New York City, foreword by Dan Siegel.
From my RRR post of April 28, 2016, Layers of Sound:
Jennifer introduces the many meditations and yoga poses that help children improve attention and emotional balance with a thoughtful exploration of neuroscience’s discoveries about attention, psychological research into children and stress, the importance of emotional intelligence for children’s thriving, and practical suggestions for incorporating yoga and meditation practices into a child’s daily routine.
Master of Mindfulness: How to Be Your Own Superhero in Times of Stress, by Laurie Grossman, Angelina Alvarez and Mr. Musumeci’s 5th Grade Class, foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
From my own endorsement:
Master of Mindfulness brings such joy to the reader – students, teachers, parents – by showing us the power of mindfulness to help young people cope with their own thoughts, their peers, their world, more resiliently, more authentically, more creatively. A true gift.
And a bonus from 2010:
The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, More Compassionate by Susan Kaiser Greenland. A classic in the field by a pioneering teacher of mindfulness in schools and home.
Mindful awareness works by enabling you to pay closer attention to what is happening within you-your thoughts, feelings, and emotions-so you can better understand what is happening to you. The Mindful Child extends the vast benefits of mindfulness training to children from four to eighteen years old with age-appropriate exercises, songs, games, and fables that Susan Kaiser Greenland has developed over more than a decade of teaching mindful awareness to kids. These fun and friendly techniques build kids’ inner and outer awareness and attention, which positively affects their academic performance as well as their social and emotional skills, such as making friends, being compassionate and kind to others, and playing sports, while also providing tools to manage stress and to overcome specific challenges like insomnia, overeating, ADHD, hyper-perfectionism, anxiety, and chronic pain. When children take a few moments before responding to stressful situations, they allow their own healthy inner compasses to click in and guide them to become more thoughtful, resilient, and empathetic. The step-by-step process of mental training presented in The Mindful Child provides tools from which all children-and all families-will benefit.