Bringing mindfulness into schools
We spoke to Alice who received an Opportunities Award grant to train with the Mindfulness in Schools project, which helped Alice learn the skills to bring mindfulness lessons into local schools.
View the video, along with the transcript, below:
Here is the full transcript:
I’m Alice Lowrie, I teach in primary schools across Gloucestershire, I teach mindfulness and I also run after school sessions in mindfulness in Stroud and give talks to charities and different events, introductions for mindfulness.
All my life I’ve struggled with worry and anxiety and depression and I struggle with my mental health, and then developed PTSD and had quite a lot of symptoms from that which made it very difficult to work. I left my job in the charity sector and was at quite a low ebb really and thought am I going to get back from this. I luckily got some support from the NHS, the 2gether Trust, to do a compassionate resilience course and learned to be kind to myself and to use mindfulness every day.
I’ve built on that and it’s really changed my life, I feel much calmer, I don’t really get anxious any more, it’s really improved my wellbeing, and I felt so passionate about it that I wanted to share that with children and others.
The things that I’ve learned mostly is how to how to sort of control my mind when I’m feeling quite overwhelmed.
It’s what you really do to calm yourself down and now I use it as a stress relief, just breathe in, breathe out.
I’ve learned to be a better person than I am and I’ve learned how to concentrate and be myself.
Sometimes I get scared and I use it and it calms me down.
I think teaching children about how their brain works from an early age is really important because I think if I’d have known that my brain was reacting in a really natural way when it got anxious or depressed or panicked it would have helped me understand it a lot earlier.
It’s proven that teaching mindfulness to children at a very young age just sets them up for life really, to know how to deal with their emotions. So in our sessions we’ll do a mixture of breathing exercises where they come into their own space, alongside the compassion side of it. So talking about how we are kind to ourselves and kind to other people and just talking about feelings really, so not being scared of feelings.
I’m so pleased to have been given an opportunities award by the Barnwood Trust to enable me to train. I trained with the Mindfulness in Schools project and there was a point where I was so anxious when I used to be a primary school teacher I thought I would never teach again and now I can’t quite believe that I’m here in schools loving what I do and just loving the feedback from the pupils as well, and the effects have been amazing. I’ve had lots of parents and teachers come and say “we can’t believe the difference.” I’ve noticed in my groups here there will be children that will start very jumpy, not able to sit still, making noises maybe and then after two or three or four weeks they’ll settle and they’ll be able to do up to ten minutes mindfulness. So, quite amazing and they seem to enjoy it.
I like that it’s a place you can just go to do mindfulness and get your feelings out with people who will understand and not judge you about it.
I’m lucky enough to be teaching in Stroud Valley School at the moment primary school year 5 and 6. Absolutely lovely class. We’re doing the 12 week Paws B course with the Mindfulness in Schools Project and they’re learning all about how their brains work and learning some different mindfulness techniques.
So they’re doing amazingly, they’re really engaged, we’re in week 4 of a 12 week course.
It’s helped me relax and not get frustrated with things before I actually go and do things.
Paws B has made me chill out and it hasn’t made me frustrated about what I do and what I will do and I’ll be mindful, not mindless.
Mindfulness has helped me sit back and decide what I need to do before I actually do it.
I feel that before I do something really stressful or something really big, I can do Paws B quickly and it relaxes my muscles.
I use it probably more than anything else that you’re taught.
I absolutely love it and I just want it to keep going and keep growing. It seems to be taking off and the feedback’s been amazing, and I couldn’t have done it without the Barnwood Trust. I’m so, so grateful.
I guess what I’d say to anyone is be open about your mental health, go for things, don’t let it stop you and it can actually inform what you do because I don’t think I’d be able to do what I do in the same way, if I hadn’t been through those experiences.
So yeah, it was life changing and I’m very grateful.
About the Opportunities Award
The Opportunities Award opens up exciting new possibilities – such as training, equipment or clothing that may help you towards a job, volunteering or setting up a new business. It can also be used to help with materials for a hobby or equipment for a sport you enjoy.