The Southern Universities Network (SUN) recognises that in order to support young people’s progression onto higher education, activities to boost wellbeing and resilience are vital.
Nadia Morad (SUN Project Leader) is a trained teacher of the .b mindfulness curriculum for students aged 11-18, developed through the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP). MiSP is the most established provider of mindfulness training for schools, delivering world-leading curricula for classroom-based mindfulness.
what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves training the attention to experience the present moment with greater curiosity and kindness. Rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen, it trains us to respond skilfully to whatever is happening right now, helping us to appreciate what is going well and to respond more skilfully to challenges. Studies of school mindfulness programmes provide evidence that they have the potential to improve students’ behaviour, psychological health and executive functioning, including regulating attention and behaviour.
SUN mindfulness offer
Evidence gathered from Phase 1 of Uni Connect, via feedback from schools and the SUN Young Researchers survey, shows a crucial need for sessions which develop resilience in young people. Mindfulness workshops equip students with basic strategies to boost resilience, handle stressful situations more effectively, and improve concentration in class and exams.
Prior to COVID-19, SUN offered mindfulness sessions to schools and colleges for small groups of students across Years 9-13. These sessions introduced students to mindfulness, involving some basic meditation and breathing practices. Mindfulness sessions have also been offered to students during SUN university-based residentials. Residentials can be nerve-racking for young people, taking them beyond their comfort zone and introducing them to a multitude of new experiences. Mindfulness sessions provided an opportunity for students to feel calm and settled.
Moving forward, SUN and MiSP are currently working in collaboration to deliver a virtual training course, planned for March 2021. The .breathe course will cover the science behind mindfulness, and how mindfulness can support individuals to enhance their wellbeing. Attendees will also be trained to deliver a mindfulness curriculum to young people in their schools. As this is planned for March, we hope it will prove timely and relevant, as following the course, teachers will be equipped to teach the mindfulness curriculum to their students which should provide some support in helping young people to manage anxiety associated with the pandemic and the transition of returning to school.