I spoke at DeSales University today, to Early Childhood Department students who are all aspiring teachers (except for the would-be accountant in the front row who needed an extra course credit).
We talked about mindfulness, movement, and music, and how to incorporate these three M’s into the classroom with young children. We tried some tools of mine (using rhythm to give instructions, chair yoga, simple and kid-friendly mindfulness exercises) and then I asked for ideas from them. They came up with fantastic, fun movement breaks, breathing exercises, and compassionate ways to handle a melting-down toddler.
They told me stories from their student teaching of children who are clearly experiencing toxic stress with little or no support, of very little time for movement even in kindergarten, and of 6-year-olds on Ritalin; they see that nearly all the children have a tablet or device or phone they can’t wait to get back to after school.
But these college students, these teachers of the future, are full of enthusiasm, creativity and optimism. They’re on it.