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Lessons to be learned from ‘mindfulness’ – Borders Telegraph April 2017

Posted by on June 6, 2017

A TEACHER behind new ‘mindfulness’ classes in Biggar has revealed her plans to expand to schools across the Borders.

Children at Biggar Primary School are among the first to take part in the new lessons, with discussions already under way to expand classes to Biggar High School and West Linton Primary.

The programme encourages children to have fun, enquire and explore their sense of self, plus explore the ability to be kinder to themselves, others, strengthen their confidence and self-esteem and talk freely about their thoughts, feelings and behaviours to others.

Lead by Hayley Phipps, managing director of PROtential Coaching, the Coaching with Mindfulness programme has taught school children several psychotherapeutic approaches, such as; mindfulness, neuro linguistics, cognitive behavioural coaching and clean language.

The mum of two, who also sits on the panel for the parent council at Biggar Primary School, has worked closely with head teacher, Heather Graham over the past six years to develop the programme.

Hayley told the Border Telegraph: “I am extremely passionate about positive mental health and wellbeing in our kids and how we as adults can really shape and influence empowering beliefs, sense of purpose and being comfortable in your own skin.

“I always use comparisons of great performing athletes like Andy Murray – to stay at the top of his game and be the best version of himself – he cannot separate mental and physical agility, the two go hand-in-hand.

“That’s the same with our kids. Start coaching them now with positive mental focus and they will be able to coach themselves to their own greatness (whatever that is) and they believe it.

“The programme is bespoke for Biggar Primary School, unique to each class – age and cognitive level specific – and I work free of charge to provide those classes for pupils.

Hayley plans to extend the classes across the Borders over the next 12-18 months, with plans to venture to nearby schools first.

“I am being invited to meet with the head teacher at West Linton Primary after Easter, along with a discussion with Biggar High.”

Mindfulness is described as “a mental state focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations (without judgement)”.

A 2014 study by the University of Edinburgh exploring children’s experiences of the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme found various benefits, such as; strengthening attention and concentration, reducing anxiety, improving classroom participation, enhancing social and emotional learning, building self-affirmation, and empowering beliefs, plus creating stronger relationships with understanding.

Thanks to Border Telegraph for such a fabulous write up!



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