Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Four Opportunities to Learn about Mindfulness at this year's NAIS Conference

Chances are that like me you are racing around doing all the things one needs to do, both at home and school, to get things in order before leaving to attend this year's NAIS annual conference.   I encourage you to stop, catch your breath, relax, and consider taking the opportunity to learn more about the practice of mindfulness.  An increasing number of educators, including yours truly, believe that developing a mindful life is vital for our students, our colleagues and ourselves.

While the practice of mindfulness is trendy at the moment, it is not a passing fad.  People have been practicing mindfulness for millennia.  Now, thanks to science, we are obtaining meaningful data about the benefits of this practice.

Opportunities to learn more about mindfulness at this year's conference include a three-hour workshop and three one-hour workshops.  NAIS is also providing us with two opportunities for conference attendees to practice mindfulness together.  Both group meditations will take place at 7 am.  On Thursday we will meet in Room 301. On Friday we will meet in Room 311.  An online space has also been created where our learning about mindfulness can continue.  You are invited to join us at https://muut.com/naisac15#!/mindfulness

More information about the sessions being offered at the conference follow:

Wednesday's three-hour workshop, February 25, 1:00 - 4:00 PM($180)

W15. Mindfulness Approaches for School Administrators: Keep Calm and Carry On

Experience mindfulness meditation, see it used in a variety of educational environments, and load your laptop and mobile device with easy-to-use applications, all of which cultivate a focused awareness on the present moment. Get informed and inspired by learning how mindfulness can help you decrease stress, empathize with others, and use your leadership opportunity to improve school climate.
Presented By Julie Faude and Maggie Powers, The Episcopal Academy (PA); Andrea Sarko, Chill Expeditions (PA)

One hour-workshops include:
Simple Practice, Big Impact: Bringing Mindfulness Training to School Communities 
Thursday morning at 8 at room 101

Consider the implications the current research on mindfulness meditation has for independent schools and learn how an independent 6 – 12 school designed a training and practice program that is generating strong enthusiasm among faculty, administrators, students, and parents. Get a brief introduction to mindfulness and consider how the practice may benefit your school and how to successfully introduce and promote it.
Presented By Sam Shapiro, The Athenian School (CA)
Explore What is mindfulness? Why does mindfulness matter to schools? How can I get my school community excited to offer mindfulness training? 

The Mindfulness Revolution Arriving at Your School 
Thursday at noon in room 204
Experience a comprehensive survey of mindfulness programs at independent high schools nationwide. Take an in-depth look at one successful mindfulness program as you uncover tools and immersion opportunities to develop your own mindfulness program.
Presented ByPatrick Cook-Deegan, Patrick Cook-Deegan Mindfulness Mentoring and Consulting (CA); Jessica Morey, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (MA); Douglas Worthen, Middlesex School (MA)
Explore What is happening with mindfulness at independent high schools across the country?  What does a successful mindfulness program look like?  What organizations, resources, and immersion opportunities exist for my school? 

Mindfulness: How to Change Your School Culture by Doing Nothing
Friday at 8 in room 311
By practicing mindfulness (doing nothing – on purpose – for a given amount of time), we can reinvigorate and transform ourselves, our students, and our schools in positive ways. Benefits of mindfulness include improved academics and emotionally richer lives. See how cultivating mindfulness in schools is highly conducive to a design thinking culture.
Presented By Larry Kahn, Iolani School (HI); Christa Forster and James Houlihan, The Kinkaid School (TX)
Explore What is mindfulness, why is it so popular, and how and why does it work? How do we cultivate a mindfulness practice for ourselves, our students, and our schools? How is mindfulness related and conducive to design thinking? 

 I'm looking forward to exploring mindfulness further and learning with others, face-to-face at the conference, and online after the conference.