How Can Guided Imagery Be Used in Schools?
Put a headset that’s playing some guided imagery on the super-receptive little ears of a first grader, and you’re giving that kid the gift that keeps on giving for the rest of his or her days.
And what a gift is is! We’re talking self-soothing at will; mood regulation as needed; de-stressing at the flip of a switch. These are invaluable skills and habits. And when they’re learned in childhood - the most absorptive, receptive time of life possible- they become embedded on the inside, a building block of strength and resourcefulness that is forever available going forward. A gift just doesn’t get better than that.
Luckily, schools, pre-schools, sports programs, and many other after school activities have figured this out, and are offering guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, yoga, simple breath work, and qi-gong – to students.
There’s a meditation room at Baltimore’s Robert Coleman Elementary School that upset, angry, troubled kids get sent to instead of a date with the detention room. (great video here: https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/04/health/meditation-in-schools-baltimore/index.html/)
High school students at East Baltimore’s Patterson High School practice yoga in their meditation room. (It may not look it, but adolescence is another super-receptive time to initiate learning a meditative practice.)
The School Yoga Project in Westchester County, NY teaches students from pre-K to 12th grade the practice of both yoga and mindfulness, at their desks and on mats. The staff puts it really well: We help students build strong inner resources so they can thrive in a challenging world.
There are free guided meditation lesson plans all over the internet; live streaming yoga classes from several organizations designed specifically to teach yoga in schools; and mindfulness coaching for teachers all over the place.
The reason for the sudden uptick in popularity is simple and clear: the research shows that regular practice improves social behavior, concentration, academic success, performance under pressured conditions (exams, recitals, high profile sports, etc), augments creativity and feeds a sense of balance, strength, mastery and – well, happiness.
We can all do our part to keep this happy trend climbing – introduce a kid you love to some simple but potent mind-body techniques, and watch them thrive. As luck would have it, we’ve already curated for you a wonderful collection of imagery, meditation and yoga materials for kids. Have a look and listen (https://www.healthjourneys.com/audio-library/kids/)