Why I created this handbook!
There are 3 main reasons for this, they are:
1. Accessible support
2. Affordable support
3. Scope of reach
Since 2016 when I began my first company, New Beginnings, I have been developing and delivering mindfulness programs in schools and community groups. Most of the programs delivered were in primary schools, delivering to children with additional needs: neurodevelopmental conditions, mental health issues/conditions and/or social/emotional needs.
The outcomes from the programs delivered have always been very positive and impactful. I support the participants to discover how to cultivate conscious awareness and gain and harness the capacity within the self to attain emotional/physical/mental regulation through self-managing mindfulness strategies.
Each time I delivered to a group of children in a school, the school would ask me if I delivered programs to adults. They were interested in me delivering to their teaching staff and/or to their parents. The high prevalence of ASD/ADHD/and other neurodevelopmental conditions and the high rise in mental health issues/conditions within mainstream schools is a high-factor contribution to the stress-levels of those within any school environment.
*According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, teaching staff and education professionals report the highest rates of work-related stress, depression, and anxiety in Britain. (https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/)
The years of experience spent delivering these programs has given me a real day-to-day insight into the very challenging, sometimes detrimental effects school life is having on far too many children.
The knock-on effects of this showcasing in the stress parents and many education professionals are living with. Both are struggling with some of the everyday challenges presented.
Mainstream schools teaching staff are not trained as therapists or counsellors, they are teaching staff who are having to find ways to adjust their classrooms and teaching strategies to accommodate the diversity of needs within the setting of a mainstream classroom. As are the children’s parents. Finding new ways of managing the myriad of challenging situations has become a necessity.
The insight I gained spending large quantities of time in primary school settings has been invaluable to the development of this book. There were many things that struck me while attending and delivering to schools, one of those things was the undeniable need for mindfulness, not just for the most in need children, but for all children, and for the adults (parents and education professionals).
I noticed that many of the teaching staff and parents have very little knowledge of mindfulness and all its benefits. A lot of the outside services that schools access that are offering holistic programs are aimed at children, and only to those most in need.
*Statistical facts show there is an issue when the figures show 5 children in a classroom of 30 are likely to have a mental health problem. https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/our-work/well-being/mental-health-statistics
There is very little accessible services out there offering mindfulness programs for the parents and teaching staff.
*2019 Teacher Wellbeing Index that 72% of education professionals describe themselves as stressed. https://www.educationsupport.org.uk/blogs/claire-renn/how-handle-stress-teachers
*“The stress of parents of children with ASD, which reaches clinically significant levels in 77% of the cases (Kiami and Goodgold, 2017), is greater than the stress of parents with children with typical development (Davis and Carter, 2008; Hoffman et al., 2009; Rao and Beidel, 2009; Giovagnoli et al., 2015).” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6418028/
I am certain you can see that the support available is not enough.
*The above statistics are pre-COVID – This is a statistic I found on www.mentalhealth.org “Half (50%) of UK adults reported that they feel worried about being able to cope with the uncertainty of the pandemic” https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/wave-9-pre-christmas-2020
So many parents and teaching staff will seek me out when I am in their school ground’s and ask for advice on the art of mindful living, particularly for stress management, balanced living, and mental/emotional wellbeing.
I would listen and ask myself “how can I reach them?” I needed to find a way that my programs were accessible and affordable to all, in a way that was suitable to them.
Unfortunately, all schools across the UK are struggling to cope with funding cuts, and therefore cannot access some of the many outside providers that are there to support some of the highly prevalent issues currently presented. Over the years a lot of schools have found the funds for the service I offer, but only for their most in need children. The few schools that can afford outside providers are on a very tight budget, even with applying discounts it could still be too costly for them to have me in for more than one group.
I wanted to find a way I could support more children to discover the benefits of mindfulness. I knew delivering to groups of 10 on my own was not supporting as many children as I wanted to, so in 2018 New Beginnings acquired funding from Awards for All – National Lottery funding, to deliver some mindfulness techniques to four individual schools in the Merseyside area. I explored an entire-school approach, delivering to all year groups in an assembly setting. This meant I was reaching approx.:750 children. Approx.:750 children (Age 3/4–11) discovered some basic mindfulness; breathing, walking, gratitude, kindness etc. Some of the children would show their parents, siblings, and friends outside of the school they attend. The ripple effects invaluable and immeasurable.
This gave me the thought of how I could extend the reach of the service I offer at an affordable rate to all.
Scope of reach:
The answer I came up with was to write an inclusive handbook of my programs for adults (parents/educational professionals) and children. To make it accessible and affordable so that I could extend my reach and support more individuals to discover mindful living.
Be it to teach it!
‘Be it to teach it’ is a simplistic handbook to support as many adults living/working/engaging with children as is possible. I have merged my mindful adults and mindfulness4kids programs into one easy to use handbook. I have developed it so that the adult can take the time to discover for themselves some mindfulness techniques, for them to feel its benefits and for them to then feel comfortable enough to practice and support the children in their environment the techniques within the book that are specifically for children.
Be it to teach it!
This handbook is a support tool, it is simplistic and impactful to your journey towards mindful living.
It has been developed as a person-centred program, giving scope and flexibility to customise this resource.
It is available via our website: www.woowi.co.uk
Making it accessible to all, not just schools, or community groups, but to the individual. And making it affordable to all is how I hope to reach out further to YOU the individual. To support YOU to discover mindfulness, so that you can support your child/ren.
And if all children discover all the amazing benefits mindful living has to offer, from as young as possible, then surely the world will be a better place for us all to share!!
Love, light and peace!