A few days ago the sun was shining and my family decided it was finally safe to set up the trampoline the kids had received for Christmas (never mind that there is now a coating of snow on my driveway!). So we all trucked out together and hauled the pieces to the spot we had selected. Everyone played a role in setting it up. My oldest (11) read the instructions with my husband. The youngest (4) handed out screws and tools. My 8 year old fit parts together and wielded the special tool they gave us to get the springs to connect the mat to the frame. It was a rare team effort. No one (well, mostly) got frustrated, everyone got their hands on the project, and in the end we had a completed trampoline that we got to use all afternoon. The kids were even more excited about the end result because they had helped create it. In reflecting on the whole experience, I tried to figure out why it was such a success, as it could have easily ended in frustration, yelling, and a half built trampoline. I realize what worked were three things: 1) my husband and I did a better than usual job of allowing everyone to choose an authentic and important role to play; 2) it was a hands on project that got us all using our bodies and our minds; and 3) there was a tangible end result that offered some value to each person.
Although many of us hear about March Madness, here at CI we are focusing instead on March Mindfulness! Although to some mindfulness may seem more fad than focus, research continues to show that being able to focus your mind, your physical being, and your emotions may help you achieve in many different areas of your life. How can we, as people who work with children of all ages, develop our own mindfulness routines in order to better teach and model the practice to the youth we work with?
Erica Ebert is the Webster Central School District's newly added Instructional Specialist focusing on student wellness and mindfulness across K-12 classrooms. Students rave about the difference mindfulness can make in their day, whether it's prepping for an exam, tackling a big project, or getting centered in the midst of a hectic semester. Erica also owns and operates Balance Fitness, a yoga and meditation studio in Webster. In our pursuit of mindfulness experts, we were able to get her insight on impactful practice and how to get started.
Why does it seem like the shortest month of the year is actually the longest? It could be because of those cold, short winter days that encourage us to cocoon in our homes. However, the best ways to fight off the winter blues involve getting out!
How do social emotional skills play a part in the day-to-day functioning of your facility/program?
Building the social emotional skills of our youth is an essential part in what we do, from intake to discharge. Whether we complete formal assessments or engage in teachable moments via daily interactions, our goal is to support youth and families in increasing self-awareness, and empowering them to take control over their lives. A secondary goal, no less critical, is supporting staff in understanding their own needs and triggers so as a team we can provide better service to families by developing better understanding of ourselves and our communities.