Mindful Think Summer
When students come to Think Together, they glean skills that are useful for the rest of their life. Along with robust academic and career-oriented tools, we also encourage the mindset to match these life-long abilities. Think Together’s social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum helps students build a growth mindset and provides opportunities to increase self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness.
Enhancing the Approach
The SEL competencies promoted in our programs were recently enriched by the addition of MindUp and Mindful-Based Stress Reduction for Teens, or Stressed Teens, programs. Both mindfulness-centered, MindUp is geared towards K-8th grade students and Stressed Teens is intended for 8th-12th grade students.
Adrian Arvizu, one of Think Together’s Learning and Development (L&D) Facilitators, was recently certified in both curriculums and works within the L&D team to integrate the lessons into our Think Summer and Core Program enrichment schedules.
The organization behind the older youth curriculum, Stressed Teens, defines the term “mindfulness” as “noticing your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in the present moment without harmful judgment.” In relation to SEL, Adrian says, “I like to see it as while SEL aims to build competencies, mindfulness supports the management of those competencies with sustainable practices.“
Implementing Everyday Mindfulness at Think Together
When Think Together’s L&D team trains new staff on mindfulness, they facilitate actual activities from the mindfulness curriculums so the staff can experience the learning firsthand. After staff participate in mindfulness activities, they see the impact it has on them, and can’t wait to pass it on to students!” We’re overwhelmed with the amount of ‘aha!’ moments that staff have” Adrian and the L&D team share.
A strength of the mindfulness lessons that Adrian points out is its focus on increasing the quantity and quality of positive experiences or stimuli for not only students but for staff as well. He says that “when we are able to provide that type of environment for students and staff, it will support the overall SEL experience and development, and ultimately influence the environment that the students and the staff are in.”
Train the Brain in Think Summer
Curbing learning loss is at the center of Think Summer. Learning recovery and readiness for the new academic year is not only about academics but also about mindset. With MBSR-T and Mind-Up, the Think Team is set to successfully walk through their learnings with students.
The lessons first take time to show students how their brain works. After laying a scientific foundation, the students learn methods to train their brains to be ready to learn. With guided practice, Think Summer students develop autonomous mindful practices that they can use anytime during the academic year.
During Think Summer, the Think Team will not only intercede but introduce sustainable practices to change a child’s trajectory leading into the new school year. “For those kids that may feel like they’re in a hole because of the learning loss, we’re teaching them now how to build resiliency, autonomy, and people are empowering them and helping them discover that they inherently have that capacity for happiness and wellbeing.”
Where should I start?
Mindfulness can take place anytime, anywhere! Adrian’s go-to practice is mindful breathing. When he meets a student who is struggling, he recommends pausing, breathing, and being in the present moment. Adrian observes for so many of us today, there is an increased number of distractions: on our phones, social media, you name it.
Engaging in these distractions “results in folks being mindless,” says Adrian. For kids and adults, “doing something like mindful breathing, definitely helps folks discover more about their emotions and the beauty of functioning without judgment.”
Controlling our breathing is a low-maintenance strategy to improve your mindful mindset. If you are looking for more in-depth strategies to try with the family, check out these three lessons, and build mindful habits with the whole family