In January the Karioi room will have been practicing daily meditation for two years. Looking back over the last 1 year and 10 months, there has been a monumental positive change in our room. The children are calmer, more in touch with their emotions and have a better awareness of their physical body. Meditation in the early years supports the development of self-awareness, self-regulation, compassion and empathy for others, understanding of feelings and emotions, awareness and skill in bodily relaxation, and reduces anxiety and stress.
Mundock (1979) states that meditation can be a “vacation from the external environment” (p. 6). Giving children the tools to take a ‘vacation’ from the everyday business of our lives is exactly what I hope to achieve by teaching daily meditation. Our lives are so jam packed with outside stimulation. Finding time to just be, tap into oneself, relax and concentrate on the here and now can be challenging and a practice that is often left out of our daily lives. To support the children to stop for a moment and become conscious of what is going on inside them physically and emotionally,
I start the session with a brief guided meditation. The focus here is that the children turn their awareness inward and notice their breath. They lie with one hand on their heart and one on their stomach to really feel their breath move through their body. I also guide them away from the sounds around them to focus on the sound that is closest to them, the sound of their own breath. Once all children are settled and comfortable I turn on some gentle music and we lay still for the next 15 minutes. I make sure that all children understand that this is a special time just for them. It is incredible to watch as all children participate fully in this daily ritual. Some children look fast asleep but as soon as they are invited back into the day, they will quietly open their eyes and sit up.
What brings me the most joy is how the children then move into the rest of their day with such calmness and intension. Bringing this calmness into our day has not only been hugely beneficial for the children themselves but has created a culture of mindfulness, calm and self-awareness at a usually very busy time of the day. ~ Petruschka Heinz, Karioi room