Inside: Book review of Everyday Mindfulness, ideas for classroom use, a free journal cover, and a giveaway.
Hi Friends! I just had the pleasure of reading Everyday Mindfulness by Melissa Steginus.
When the publisher asked if I’d be interested in reviewing this book I was hesitant at first because usually my reviews are confined to children’s books. But then my curiosity got the better of me as I wondered if the practices in this book could be translated into the classroom. I think they can.
But first, a quick review.
This easy-to-read book about mindfulness is laid out in 6 sections: Physical, Emotional, Rational, Spiritual, Occupation and Network.
Within each section are 18 simple exercises, each of which is meant to be focused on for a total of 108 days. Each day includes a purpose, the practice, and a reflection.
It’s a slow and steady approach that encourages you to pay a little extra attention to a variety of practices (deep breathing, journaling, etc.)
What’s different about this book though, is that it doesn’t demand you turn your life around and develop several new habits. It’s more of a gentle nudge and soft encouragement on a daily basis.
What I Thought:
Since this is a blog for parents and teachers of young children, I’m looking at the book from that point of view.
Certainly, in these crazy pandemic times, any book that offers some useful strategies to relax and just be, is a book worth recommending. Teachers, like a lot of other people, experience high levels of stress on a daily basis. What’s lovely about this book is that it only requires a few minutes of reading a day so it would be very suitable for any busy person looking for some simple ways to be a little more mindful.
But what really struck me is the book’s potential for classroom use.
Here’s what I think teachers could do with the book:
- Find a suitable exercise (not all of them would work in the class, but most will) and print the title on chart paper, e.g., “Take a deep breath” But leave out some letters and work with your class for a few minutes figuring out what the missing letters are. Before you even begin the practice, you’re sneaking in a bit of phonics.
- Read the purpose for the exercise and have a little discussion about it. You’ll be amazed, with practice and prompting, what young children will come up with.
- Practice together. In this example, the teacher and students would take a few minutes to practice mindful breathing. Nothing difficult. Just take some deep breaths and focus on your body.
- Reflection: The author provides questions. Use these to ask the children how the practice felt. If appropriate, they could even write some reflections in their Mindfulness Journals (yes, it would be fun and easy to start one. And to help you get started I have 3 versions of a cover you could use for your students’ journal. See below).
- Leave the chart where everyone can see it, and throughout the day refer to it and practice some deep breathing again (or whatever the day’s practice is).
As I said, some of the exercises won’t work well in the classroom or with kids, but with a little imagination on your part, most of them will!
For example, on the day you work with “Declutter Your Space” you could have a desk clean-up. And what a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness while accomplishing a routine classroom task. With this one, I would up the game and challenge the students to quietly do their deep breathing while they clean out their desks.
As I was reading the book I noticed that some of the ideas mesh nicely with The Zones of Regulation: checking in with yourself and being aware of your emotions. All great things to do to grow a stable and happy inner life.
All in all, I happily recommend this book to add a little mindfulness to both your own and your students’ lives.
DOWNLOAD: 3-page PDF Journal Covers
Click here for more mindfulness books and activities.
BOOK GIVEAWAY UPDATE: The winner of Everyday Mindfulness is Francesca.
Thank you to everyone who entered!