Co-Creating a Curriculum for Kid's Meditation
Updated: Mar 21, 2022
UPDATE 03/2022: I was able to visit Ms. Brumley's classroom and do a meditation with her students. I don't even think describing what I did in the classroom comes close to Ms. Brumley's message to me the following day:
"Holy s***! I honestly, 100% believe that your visit, and those bowls! changed my life. It is way, way too much to go into, but I am 100% serious when I say that yesterday was a complete 180 from any other day that I have had this year with these kids. And those days were not good. Yesterday was a completely different experience and I feel like I made some really good headway in terms of healing these kids from the emotional trauma they have suffered the last 2 years. I don't even know how to thank you!" -Ms. Brumley
Here is how this all started:
Synchronicities like this are pure magic. Let me explain.
It all started years ago, really. But more specifically, a few months ago Karah Pino and I were brainstorming meditation curriculum that centers around our mentor, Patricia Anne Davis' teachings of Indigenous Navajo Wisdom. There are many steps to see this vision come to fruition, but we specifically discussed how important it is to bridge the younger generation of today's children into practice.
Then, out of the blue, an old high school friend and teammate of mine, Sadie McNeeley Brumley contacted me. I hadn't talked to Sadie in over 20 years, but she saw that I was doing meditations on Facebook and she reached out. Sadie has been teaching elementary school for the past 20 years. Sadie was gearing up to go back to school in-person and was concerned for the mental health of her kids after this long Covid year.
Sadie is a 3rd generation teacher who teaches a 4th, 5th & 6th grades Highly Capable class in the Snohomish School District. Her classroom environment is a collaborative, safe and engaging learning space where students are gently pushed outside of their comfort zones as they work to discover their inner awesomeness. Sadie wanted to implement meditation into her daily curriculum and was asking me for advice.
I was so excited, a REAL teacher seeking out exactly what Karah and I had been discussing. This was the PERFECT opportunity for the three of us to co-create together. It felt like Sadie had heard our call to the universe. I have a feeling that there are other teachers out there who would like to implement the same thing, so I documented Sadie and myself during our first discussion about how and why she wants to weave meditation into her curriculum. You can listen to our conversation on My Virtual Campfire
The following information is everything that Karah Pino accumulated to give Sadie a good background on meditation. Karah has practiced and taught Qi Gong and meditation to adults and children since 2002. This is a wealth of information and I wanted to share it in full:
"My number one recommendation is still the 20 minute Observation of the Breath as a starting point because 20 minutes is the amount of time that has been studied and shown to decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels for up to 12 hours. Even if it is done once a week, like on a Monday morning to transition to the school week, the experience creates a body memory that can be accessed more quickly using 2 minute meditation techniques. The recent publication "Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art" has a lot of information and research on the proper way to breathe and why it is so important.
"The 2 minute breathing techniques are based on the average length of a breath. On average, we breathe 5 times per minute. In 10 breaths (2 minutes) we have the opportunity to quiet the production of cortisol and diffuse the biochemical markers of emotions. (Neuroscientist Candace Pert did extensive research into the biochemistry of emotions and published a book called "Molecules of Emotion")
Here is Karah's list of quick breathing techniques that act like a shortcut to stillness:
"Another fun one that is great for kids is a Humming technique. Everyone Hums at their own tone and pace for 5 minutes with their eyes closed. Then stop at the sound of a bell and sit in stillness for 10 minutes. The effects are truly profound.
"Some others a teacher might like to try: The Heart Coherence is based on research done by the HeartMath Institute. Turtle Breathing is an excellent technique for social studies to build compassion and peace when reckoning with the difficulties of the suffering world.
Karah's Visualization Techniques: