1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Should we teach four-year-olds about mindfulness?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    A dad of two believes in the power of mindfulness and thinks it could be the key to good mental wellbeing:

    ‘…I’m teaching my four-year-old son to meditate. I’m not sure why it’s so surprising. Although the concepts of mindfulness and meditation have become almost ubiquitous in adult society as a means of managing stress, the use of mindfulness meditation with children, particularly with little ones, has received less attention. Perhaps that’s why my fellow parents look a bit confused. Or perhaps it’s the stereotype that those who meditate are beacons of calm and serenity; something which my children could never be confused with being.

    Teaching children to be emotionally aware and resilient is incredibly important. Currently, children in primary schools are at higher risk than ever of experiencing stress or anxiety. In 2017, the House of Commons cross-party education committee concluded that Sats tests were placing children and teachers in a "high-stakes" system of testing damaging their mental health and wellbeing. Let’s take stock of that for a moment: the system of education that we’re placing our children into is systematically placing them under the sort of stresses comparable to adults who work in high-pressure environments. The difference is that adults are emotionally savvy enough to manage such stress, and when this is not the case, at least there are clear and definable pathways and opportunities for help.’

    Dr Richard Sly is a psychologist and freelance writer.

    Do you agree? Could mindfulness techniques help young children cope better with the stress of school life and worry less? Could it help to improve their mental wellbeing as they get older? Are you a fan of mindfulness meditation, has it helped you cope with stress better? Would you be happy for it to be taught in school by qualified professionals?

  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Four year-old children can barely think. They are certainly not equipped to meditate in any meaningful sense.

    No, absolutely not, whatever passes for 'qualified'.

    Teaching children about anxiety makes them anxious.
  3. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    No. There's no such thing as a professionally qualified mindfulness instructor. There are charlatans who speak in breathy voices though.
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    I think this is a great idea. We should also teach them tai chi and the wonders of a vegan diet.
    Billie73 and Mrsmumbles like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    There may well be some 4 year olds who need to learn more mindfulness. In general a healthy 4 year old is bouncing around exploring the world and learning the discipline of school-like interaction.
    I am open to correction, but I can't envisage compulsory mindfulness every Tuesday afternoon in an infant school.
  6. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

  7. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    4 year olds ARE "mindful" what ever exact definition you care to attach to it....

    mindfulness isn't new or special, or extreme, it is just protrayed in an extreme way by the new faddies, even though I think its actually "out" rather than "in" now, its been thrown onto that humungous heap of dated educational fads.

    meanwhile, back in the real world, four year olds are plenty mindful enough

    we should just take care to not accidentally teach them not to be
    monicabilongame likes this.
  8. ABCCBA123321

    ABCCBA123321 Occasional commenter

    They're proclaiming to be doing this in one of my kids' classes at the moment. Funnily to me it looks a hell of a lot more like colouring in with some nice music playing in the background. I have no objection to colouring in with nice music on - but cut the edu-twaddle.
    neddyfonk likes this.
  9. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Established commenter

    I would rather encourage a child to have a go at 'finding their inner self' rather than trying to impose any religion.
    As an aside i encountered a lady plus youngster shopping for christmas elves. The joyful little girl (3 yrs old) was hugging a big elf and mum was trying to convince her they needed dads consent (and wallet) to buy it. I intervened and asked if she liked magic tricks. Without stopping the girl glared at me and said 'No'. Undeterred I did a little trick with a shoelace i often carry in my pocket. The girl refused to cooperate so I asked her mum to assist. The girl was unimpressed but I am not sure what problem she had with 'magic'.
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Yes, that must have been it. She had a problem with magic.
    Jonntyboy and Jamvic like this.
  11. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    I agree with the rest of your post, but never underestimate the thinking skills of a four-year-old.
    camillagallop likes this.
  12. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Established commenter

    You are right - it must of been because I was not wearing my wizards outfit. She already knows proper magic is only done by people wearing the right costume and I left my top hat with wand and rabbit at home
  13. camillagallop

    camillagallop New commenter

    I agree @Lalad. A Guardian article from January 2018 discussed the issue that children as young as three are self-harming in the UK. Anxiety doesn’t discriminate based on age. We shouldn’t either.
  14. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Also, we should teach them all tumble-tots yoga skills and the best way to make politically correct sock dolls...
  15. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

  16. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    "Children as young as three are self-harming". Hmm.

    Young children have always vented their frustrations in many ways, some by biting and kicking others or the furniture and walls, some by rubbing, biting or hurting themselves. In most it seems to pass, as indeed it does with many teens who do the same. But what the many and varied underlying causes are, and how serious they can be, is a different question. In what way is stimulus of the three year old self-harming similar to that of the thirteen year old, if in any?

    I'm not sure how valid the psychobabble is in that Guardian article. Clearly it's in the interests of those in the field to maintain the needs for their own work. I'd need to see a lot of independent evidence before drawing significant conclusions. But then, I've always been a bit cynical about people explaining how necessary their own particular area of expertise is...
  17. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    I think it depends partly on how you present it to the children. Someone mentioned colouring in with nice music on, another example could be the 'forest school curriculum'. These are both ways which encourage young children to switch off from stress and could be described using the language of mindfulness. I am very happy for my young children to engage in this kind of activity.
    However, discussing heavy subjects like self-harming with a whole class of 4 year olds sounds like a recipe for disaster. I am guessing this is not part of the planned programme.

Share This Page