A Mindfulness Center for Parents and Teachers- A Children's Cooperative
Weekly & Monthly Classes for Adults & Programs for Children Preschool Age-Teens
The Children's Cooperative- a Mindfulness Based, Waldorf Inspired Program
children's co-op is a unique weekday morning program for children preschool and
kindergarten age and their parents. Children attend 2 to 5 days per week throughout the year, in a small group of up
to 12 children. During the children's active creative playtimes outside and in our classroom, parents
practice mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness practice in our
shrine room, in a 1/2 day retreat format that includes sessions of sitting and
walking meditation. Parents and children come together for "eating
meditation" in a warm twinkly quiet that parents and children enjoy. Each
family with children in the children's co-operative, has one parent come to
practice on-site, 1 or 2 mornings per month. In this way, parents' practice
provides a warm, loving, mindful atmosphere for the children.
Recent research indicates the benefits of parental mindfulness practice for children's development. In our program, while a teacher leads all group activities, parents bring the quality of their mindful presence to the children during quiet snack and lunch times. Parents' quiet presence creates an atmosphere in the morning class that encourages the development of positive qualities in children.
According Daniel J.Siegel of UCLA, author of The Developing Mind, over 600 studies have been done on the results of mindfulness practice. Recent research, supports the view that mindfulness practice leads to structural changes in the brain that support the development and enhancement of qualities of kindness, patience, compassion and attunement to others, increased executive function, better impulse control and longer attention span. Current neuroscience research supports the conclusion that when parents and teachers practice mindfulness, children, through their highly attuned mirror neuron systems, may neurologically mirror the adults in their environment. This leading to enhanced brain development and an increase in the positive qualities mentioned above. Recent neuroscience
research supports the benefits of parental mindful presence for children's development.
Weekly Mindfulness Groups for Older Children
Older children attend vacation programs and monthly groups that combine teaching mindfulness practice, hatha yoga, dharma stories, games, arts processes, with council process and outdoor adventure. These groups are a place to make new friends and form a practice community of children.
In academic research with older students, children practiced 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation before a lecture and were tested after the lecture on their learning. In comparative studies the students who practiced mindfulness for 20 minutes prior to the lecture retained 40% more information from the talk.
Our children'groups have the potential to be benefical for children academically as well as emotionally, socially, and spiritually. It is a place for older children to have fun recognizing their inner life and the inner life of their peers.
Children who attend the cooperative during their preschool and kindergarten years, may continue on in mindfulness/Dharma programs during monthly family practice evenings, school vacation and monthly Saturday morning groups for girls and for boys 7-11 years old. New children are also welcome. Older children and teens can participate in camping trips and develop confidence and competence in the nature and discover the spiritually opening experience of wilderness adventure.
Parent's & Teacher's Education, Mindfulness, Dharma & Discussion Groups
In our program, both teachers and parents practice mindfulness and metta, loving-kindness practice inwardly, while teaching and attending to children. Children in our program often take what they are learning home by asking parents to practice meditation with them. Children also develop a greater understanding of the reasons that parents pracitice meditation, and are then more supportive of parents having time to themselves for meditation and yoga practice.
In parent's and teacher's groups, parents learn ways to integrate mindfulness practice with an understanding of child development based in Waldorf Inspired education. The groups are a place to share with other parents on the path and to grow community together.
'Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, saw the teacher's inner spiritual practice as one of the most important factors in the child's development. 'He felt that even the child's physical development, was affected. Now current neural research is showing the effects of mindful presence on brain development. Both the child's own mindfulness practice, and the parents practice, benefit the child. ('For more information on this see Daniel J. Siegelís books, The Mindful Brain and The Developing Mind.)
The Mindfulness Co-operative is located in San Anselmo, CA call( 415) 451-8175 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org