Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Belfast Telegraph: 'Mindfulness' classes considered

The Belfast Telegraph published an article online on 12th March 2014 in the Home>Breaking News>Offbeat section titled: 'Mindfulness' classes considered.

Here are some key quotes:
"Ministers are looking at whether schoolchildren could benefit from classes in "mindfulness", David Laws has said.

The schools minister said that the topic should be taken seriously, although there needed to be careful scrutiny of the evidence of its effects.

His comments came days after a leading private school headmaster suggested that a ll schools should make time each day for pupils to ''be quiet and reflect''.

Giving over of the timetable to a ''daily stillness period'' would help youngsters learn how to concentrate and help prevent mental health issues like anxiety and depression, according to Dr Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, a private school in Berkshire.


 During a Commons education select committee hearing on child wellbeing, Siobhain McDonagh, Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, asked Mr Laws: "What part do courses in mindfulness play in raising child wellbeing, does the Department for Education plan to promote such courses?" 

In reply, the minister said: "I think we are very interested in promoting this and we certainly think that it's an area that merits consideration based on the evidence we've seen to date.  "My colleague (education minister) Liz Truss actually has been looking at this recently."


'Mindfulness or meditation has been shown to be an invaluable tool to help bolster young people's resilience to psychological stress," he added.

''It also boosts concentration, depth of thought, happiness and achievement.
"It is the most simple and natural technique to learn - indeed it is not really a technique at all.
"It is all about being yourself, making the most of yourself, and making the most of the opportunities that life presents to you." 

Pupils at Wellington College often take part in a two-minute stillness period during assemblies taken by Dr Seldon, while teenagers in Years 9 and 10 have a timetabled weekly ''mindfulness session''."

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