What Is Mindfulness?
Simply, mindfulness is about focusing on whatever is happening moment-by-moment without being judgmental. However, it is more than just calming and concentration exercises. A mindfulness program is distinguished from relaxation or attention training in that children in the former learn about the mind and develop certain qualities of awareness—like openness, curiosity, and care. Developmentally, for a preschooler, the ability to learn these skills are just coming on board.
FocusedKids is not a mindfulness program in the true sense. Rather it is informed by the premise that learning to use the breath, the body, and the senses is a way to manage feelings and behaviors. We draw from brain-based research on mindfulness to define the exercises we use in our program.
For instance, we know that anyone who practices focusing and calming activities regularly will strengthen the related neuorconnections in the brain. As with any new skill, those neuro-connections become wired together over time, increasing the ability to pay attention for longer periods of time.
Toddlers and preschoolers are prime for this kind of learning as their brains are more pliable than any other time in development. FocusedKids uses a daily goal of moments of practice, many times. This works well for children in the age group, as well as for older kids and adults.