Hi there! Welcome to the Educalme Community! We’re excited you’re here!
In this super practical blog post, you’re going to learn how to start a classroom mindfulness practice with success using Educalme (pronounced edu-calm). And if you don’t plan on using Educalme, you will still have all the steps you need to do this on your own by the end of this post!
Educalme is an evidence-based, fully bilingual (English & French) co-regulation program created by teachers for the K-12 classroom. It gives you and your students the tools, strategies and common vocabulary to manage emotions and behaviours mindfully. No prep required!
This mindfulness program will help you and your students find calm during the busy, often hectic school day. You and your students will learn to manage your emotions mindfully. This will help you both to thrive in a calm and focused learning atmosphere.
Mindfulness is a practice of paying attention to the present moment on purpose.
It’s a skill that is developed through practice and repetition.
In school, we take the time every day to explicitly teach our students to read using various methods and through lots of repetition and practice before they are able to read independently.
The same is necessary with mindfulness. If we want our students to be able to manage their emotions and self-regulate independently, we have to teach them how to do so with a daily mindfulness practice.
Educalme is intended to be a daily practice. We provide everything you’ll need to do this with no prep. Just as we don’t expect our students to learn to read after only one lesson, we can’t expect them to become masters in self-regulation right away. Practice and repetition are the key ingredients. With a daily practice, you’ll notice that you spend less time and energy on classroom management, giving you more time for academics.
The Educalme content is organized by themes.
The first theme is called Start Here. This unit is free for all teachers.
In the Start Here theme, Start Here, there are two units.
In the first unit, there are support materials to help you, the teacher, where you will find a video on exactly how to teach mindfulness in your classroom.
The second unit is where you’ll find the content you’ll use with your students. There are audios, a lesson plan, student booklets and other supporting resources. So many great resources for K-12 teachers!
Ok, now that you have an idea of what Educalme is, let’s dive into the 5 steps to a successful classroom mindfulness practice in the K-12 classroom!
We’ll walk you through the basics of how to use this program by breaking down the planning phase, the practice phase and the reflection phase.
This phase contains 3 steps. It’s all about planning and pre-teaching so that the daily mindfulness practice can then go smoothly!
Don’t worry, we have all the resources you will need for this phase (and all the phases!).
Step 1 is to consider if you would like to share with your student’s parents or guardians or not that you’ll be practicing mindfulness in your classroom. This is a completely optional step and it’s up to you to decide if it will be beneficial to your situation.
If this is something you would like to do, we have a pre-written letter in the Start Here section of Educalme. You can copy or use it as an outline for how to talk about mindfulness with parents and guardians.
Step 2 is to add 5-10 minutes for Educalme to your daily schedule. This will ensure that both you and your students see it as part of the daily routine. At first, this may seem like a big time investment. However, with a daily practice, in the long term you will actually gain time back for teaching and learning because of reduced classroom management challenges. We guarantee it!
A great time to do the practice is at the beginning of your time with your students. For elementary school teachers that are with their students all day, first thing in the morning right after the morning announcements and national anthem is perfect.
The mindfulness practice helps everyone start the morning in a calm and focused state and prepares students’ brains for learning.
For middle school, high school, and specialist teachers that see their students for a period and then get a new group of students for the next period, the first 5-10 minutes of class time is the best time.
If your schedule doesn’t fit these suggestions, choose whatever other option you would be able to keep consistent. Some teachers do their practice right after recess or lunch. Some phys ed. teachers do the practice at the end of class to help students calm down and be ready to go back to their classrooms.
Just remember: Routine and repetition is the key to success.
When mindfulness is on your schedule both you and your students will know when to expect it and it will become part of the routine.
Step 3 of the planning phase is to explain to your students why this practice will be beneficial to them. It’s important that they understand the purpose! You’ll also want to set clear expectations for when you are listening to the guided audios (in the Educalme program!) so they know how to have success.
Watching our Introduction to Mindfulness video with your students is a great way to start this conversation. You can find it in the Start Here theme in Educalme. Or, on our Youtube channel (there’s a version for primary and elementary, and another for middle and high school).
The explanation of why you’re doing mindfulness can be as simple as saying “we’re going to be doing this practice to create a calm and focused learning atmosphere”. Or, “this practice is going to help you get your brain ready for learning”. Or you could go deeper and tell a story to your students about why you decided to do this practice in the classroom. We like to explain to my students that mindfulness helps us to feel calm when we feel big emotions like stress, frustration or anger and that we want to share this practice with them so that they too can learn how to manage big emotions in a healthy way.
Since most students have never experienced mindfulness before, they have no idea what it should look like or what they need to do to have success. Before you start listening to the Educalme audios with them, set clear expectations. Decide what the practice should look like, sound like and feel like. We like to say: it should look like everyone is following along with what that audio is saying. It should sound quiet so that everyone can hear the audio. Lastly, it should feel calm and relaxed in the classroom. This is covered in the Introduction to Mindfulness video in the Educalme program. However, it’s a good idea to clarify expectations in your own words.
Now that you’ve completed the planning phase, you’re ready to dive in and practice mindfulness with your students! Step 4 is the practice phase.
Decide where and how your students will sit. There’s no right or wrong way to sit. Just choose what will help your students to have success. Sitting at their tables, sitting in a circle on the floor, choosing their own spots in the class. It’s up to you to figure out what will work best for your students to have success in listening to and following along with the audios with minimal distractions. Be sure to differentiate expectations based on specific student needs. Some students may need supports to be able to listen to the audios with success.
Remember that Educalme is a co-regulation program! So, this means it’s meant for both you and your students to have a moment of self-care every single day. While you listen to the audios, you’ll need to model the practice and follow along – since this is new for your students, they’ll be looking to you and mirroring how you practice. This practice is important for you too! You deal with so many things on your plate during the day. This should also be a time for you to feel more calm so that you are ready to be your awesome teacher self! It’s important that students see that mindfulness supports everyone, at all ages.
Step 5 is the reflection phase. After listening to the audio, it’s a great idea to connect and reflect to gain a deeper understanding and embodiment of what was learned. Give students the opportunity to think about and to share how the practice is supporting them, and to reflect on which strategies they are learning that are helpful to them. This reflect and connect time helps to build a strong classroom community and gives you the chance to hear how your students are doing emotionally so that you can do your best to support them.
Lastly, this reflection phase can be done in numerous ways. We’ve got you fully covered. There are free resources in the Educalme program to help you decide how to approach it!
The easiest way to bring mindfulness into your K-12 classroom and to prioritize social-emotional learning is with the Educalme program, because it doesn’t require any professional development, release time, lesson planning or preparations!
We hope this blog post gave you the information you need to get started with a classroom mindfulness practice. If you want a bit more information, watch the 15 minute training video inside the Educalme program and you’ll be completely confident bringing mindfulness into your classroom!
Get ready to thrive in a well-managed, calm and focused learning environment!
Kailey & Josianne
Teachers and Educalme Founders
Ps. Not quite ready to sign up for the Educalme Free Trial? Check out our other free social-emotional learning resources for K-12 teachers!