These are big buzz words being heard in the media lately and if there is anything good the media can produce it is bringing light to these ideas in a positive way. There is a group in the Vail Valley who are passionate about bringing the concept of Mindfulness to the classroom and have come together, forming UB.U, to bring these concepts to life as tools of growth for the children of the Eagle County school system.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
Two women, Anne-Marie Desmond and Emily McCormack, were and are passionate about addressing the needs of children in their community. They have seen a tremendous need to address brain health education, social-emotional wellness and resilience in schools. Each has experienced firsthand; the pressures kids face from peers, parents, teachers and even of themselves. In school, this translates to anxiety, aggressive behavior, bullying, and even mental health concerns. Academics often tend to suffer due to this emotional stress as well. To inspire resilience and overall wellbeing, UB.U creates programming that centers on the powerful connection between the brain, the body, and the breath. In this space, UB.U shows students how to stay present, recognize emotion, trust themselves, self-regulate and practice awareness and acceptance of self and others through the concept of mindfulness. This process assists the child in learning self-care, something every person could use a lesson in. Another very important part of their programming is to get kids moving. The sad fact is that kids are not getting enough movement in the day. Exercise is a huge need for people of all ages to help reduce and remove stress from their lives and to allow their brains space to perform complex tasks. Exercise also assists in preparing the body and mind for relaxation. The group uses various styles of movement to get young bodies moving. UB.U teachers work with all school-aged children in Kindergarten through 12th grade and are trained in mindfulness through a variety of national mindfulness organizations, including Mindful Schools, a mindfulness-based organization impacting over 300,000 students worldwide. Other training programs and affiliations include Mindful Life, Mindfulness in Education, Calming Kids: Creating a Non-Violent World, Signs of Suicide and Yoga for Young Warriors.
These women have worked hard over the past few years. Their goal to incorporate the program into every Eagle County school is getting close. Ultimately they would like to see every school system in the nation embrace mindfulness and movement into their curriculum and not just at the grade school level. Middle School and High School students are in dire need of stress reduction exercises especially as they head into the testing mode for college acceptance exams. Teacher and Educator Wellness programs are another key component to their company’s training. If the teacher is stressed and unable to handle their emotions then the students too will be at risk of stress because they are regulating off of the teacher.
The more we get this into the community the more acceptance the program will have so it can grow. This is valuable for everyone “The pause becomes the possibility” is similar to the old adage of “Think Before You Speak’; both stemming from the Virtues of Kindness and Compassion. If you would like to have a program of mindfulness and movement inserted into your child’s school system you can contact them through their website:
by Holly GoSpritely
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