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1. What is MAP?

                    

  

 An overview  

 

MAP is a short programme which introduces both teacher and their children to Mindfulness. Developing skills in Mindfulness can help raise awareness of your emotions and their typical triggers. More importantly, this increased awareness can sometimes help with managing those emotions. Toward the end of their time at Primary School children will be heading toward the teen years, the transition to secondary school, and increased demands placed upon them - including academic demands such as more homework, tests and work pressures, to an increasingly complex social life they have to negotiate with greater independence. A little more skill in recognising and managing their emotions as they arise, may help them navigate this challenging stage of life, and hopefully help them to feel calmer, happier and more self confident.         

 

 

MAP is a nine session programme delivered weekly over the course of a term. It is aimed at children aged 9-13 and will work best if the nine lessons are supplemented by regular daily chances to take a 2-3 minutes break to step back from their busy day. In addition, supplementary short sessions are provided to add to the end of the children's PE sessions. This allows for further exploration of feelings in the body, a chance for longer guided meditations and opportunities to apply some of the ideas given in the nine class room sessions. Alongside the children's exploration of mindfulness, the teacher is provided with materials to allow them also to explore for themselves what it is like to develop mindful attention and the related attitudes to experience.   

 

The Nine Sessions      

 

The sessions typically involve presenting a quite simple idea  - such as how hard it is to maintain the focus of your attention - and then exploring this through some simple mindfulness experiences, short games or interactive exercises, and some discussion to help consolidate the main theme. All sessions include short mindfulness meditations varying in length from 10 seconds to 3-4 minutes. Supplementary PE sessions allow for further exploration and application of the main theme, and some longer meditation exercises of up to 10 minutes.

 

 Sessions 1-3 Learning how to focus

 

 

Session 1 Through thrilling clips of daredevil steeplejacks, the children are introduced to the effects of stress; on the mind and the body. We glimpse at how mindfulness might help us manage everyday stressors.

Session 2 Looks more closely at the body – the big sensations when we are stressed, and the smaller quiet ones that often go unnoticed. We try to bring a sense of curiosity and exploration to them all.

Session 3 Focuses on focusing – and we realise just how hard it is – whether it’s the small sensations in our body, or sounds in the room. We begin to discover some of the things that pull our attention away – over and over again.

   

 

 Sessions 4-6 Why it is difficult: Automatic Pilot, Emotional Reactivity and the Busy Mind

 

 


Session 4 Brings home the idea that we are often not really in control of our mind – it seems to work automatically; our mind has a mind of its own.  But our curiosity about this activity might be one of our best allies in working effectively with it.

Session 5 Continues from session 4 the idea of the mind jumping into action of its own accord – this time in response to things we like or dislike. We see how quickly we judge many of our experiences and how rapidly our mind and body REACT.

Session 6 Shows us that the mind is always busy – even when (or perhaps especially when), we don’t seem to be doing anything. One thought leads to another, and then another, and so on… And we find out it’s harder to stop thinking than you might imagine.

 

 

Sessions 7-9 What can we do to help: take a breath and step back

  

 

Session 7 continues with the theme of dealing with thoughts, but especially those that are worrying. The children will learn that some thoughts are exaggerated or distorted when we are upset. We will try to step back and be kind to ourselves.

Session 8 asks the children to notice their thoughts and feelings explicitly, and to take a break – a moments stillness and a breath or two, before returning to the situation. This is practiced in the midst of a frustrating exercise to embed the practice.

Session 9 provides a final opportunity to tolerate mildly difficult experiences and also to relish pleasant experiences. Moving toward challenges and being able to accept difficulty are encouraged. The programme is summarised and next steps outlined.

  

 

Participants on the training are provided with a substantial pack of digital materials to help them deliver the programme, including powerpoints for each lesson, workbooks for the children, the instructors manual and supplementary activities for PE sessions..