Where Minds Smile

30 November 2016 Michelle Sams, Guidance Counsellor

What are the benefits of using mindfulness and meditation to increase academic outcomes? What evidence do we have that being ‘still’ or living in the present moment is actually a preventative mental health strategy? What specific technology is available to help build wellbeing in school settings? Canterbury College contemplated these questions, researched the many and varied programs on offer, and then discovered Smiling Mind.

Over four years ago, our Guidance Counsellor began using the Smiling Mind web based tools with individual clients. The outcomes were so consistently positive that Mrs Donna Anderson (Head of College) decided to implement Smiling Mind across the entire college. In 2015, Canterbury College hosted a series of Smiling Mind training workshops for students, staff and parents led by Mrs Kay Watts – Research and Education Project Manager from Smiling Mind.

Mrs Kay Watts and Mrs Michelle Sams (Guidance Counsellor) ran a number of workshops for students with great responses and feedback being received from children in years 3 to 6, and young people in years 7 -12. Kay trained all academic staff at Canterbury over two Twilight sessions and Canterbury has continued to use the Smiling Mind Education, Individual, and Sport Programs across the entire college (K-12) via whole year-level workshops, assemblies, pastoral care classes, junior classes, and rugby training sessions.

Recognising the current statistics and dealing with increasing numbers of students experiencing significant stress and mental health problems made finding a well-researched and technologically friendly program essential. Smiling Mind utilises technology as a fundamental means to attract young people to the concept of wellbeing, and understands that web and app based programs are two of the most utilised method for sharing information in children and young people. The Smiling Mind program is easy to access and use, and is free, so everyone can gain benefit from its guided mediations.

Canterbury College is continuing to enjoy its journey through Smiling Mind’s Education, Individual and Sport Programs, seeing and experiencing the diverse range of meditations available as well as perusing the comprehensive manuals, downloadable MP3’s and videos. The program is so adaptable that any staff member, student or parent can use it. Many students and staff members have already downloaded the new app and accessed the new Smiling Mind website.

There is much research and media attention outlining the effectiveness for children and adults participating in regular mindful meditation including reductions in stress, better mental health, greater wellbeing, increased kindness, increased cognitive performance and enhanced job performance. Canterbury College is dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of its staff and students, and will continue to join Smiling Mind with the ultimate aim of enhancing positive mind states such as calm, acceptance, clarity, compassion and happiness in all members of our college community.

Enjoy this video highlighting mindfulness in our school

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