"Understanding what’s happening in the brain is the first step to empowering students with tools to respond and function optimally. More often than not, our students can be overwhelmed by their big feelings – anger, fear, sadness – and don't know what to do with these feelings when they arise.
Having a basic knowledge of the brain gives us the ability to normalize and make sense of what is happening. It also empowers us to communicate our emotional experience to others more clearly and respond to our feelings more effectively.
This knowledge is equally powerful for our students as for ourselves as teachers: knowing how the brain works allows us to better understand and relate to our students, as well as support them when they need help."
With young students—pre-K through about third or fourth grade—using kid-friendly, fun concepts like blowing on a cup of hot chocolate, or breathing like sleepy, hibernating bears (listen here) are the best way to effectively practice mindfulness without necessarily labeling it as such. But with older children, who want to know WHY, and who may be a bit more resistant—explaining some of the brain science behind what’s happening when we feel stressed or out of control, and how mindfulness actually works to help us self-regulate, is extremely empowering.
This wonderful article by Yoga Ed is clear and articulate, depicting the brain as a house with an emotional, reactive downstairs, and a thinking, problem-solving upstairs.
Read it here: https://bit.ly/2DuBD9b
As the author points out, all of us who work with (or have!) children, need to keep the following in mind: "We must be conscious of the expectations we place on our students because sometimes, calming down and getting it together right now is just not neurologically possible."