The children and teachers of Little Ripples have been exposed to severe violence over a period of several years, yet they have very little access to psycho-social support for recovery. Often times, refugees from conflict zones continue to experience trauma from persecution and resettlement for a long time after they’ve reached their camp. We also now know that trauma from events like mass atrocities is passed down to children of those who have experienced the trauma, and affects how they react and recover from stress for the rest of their lives. As a result, Little Ripples purposefully integrates mindfulness into everyday learning activities and the classroom environment.
Mindfulness is defined as striving to reach the mental state of complete awareness of the present moment. The achievement of this “present-ness” allows individuals to acknowledge and accept their own feelings and thoughts and reconcile any negativity or trauma they experience, by focusing their awareness on the very moment they exist in – the present.
A key aspect of the Little Ripples curriculum is the introduction of mindfulness, so young refugee children may find refuge from the instability of camp life, nurture internal peace in the present moment, and carry that foundation with them as they grow. With trauma recovery support, the students and teachers can be part of breaking the cycle of violence and rebuilding with peace and empathy.
The curriculum includes a variety of modules that set the foundation for and integrate mindfulness activities, including:
Peace and Quiet Time
- Teachers create a peaceful classroom, lead children through mindfulness exercises, and give space and time for quiet reflection.
- Teachers lead children through mindfulness exercise, asking children to sit in a comfortable position, close their eyes, focus on deep breaths, and listen as the teachers talk them through a peaceful, present moment.
- Children learn various calming movements (move gently like a tree, wind, rain, etc.). Teachers use calming poses as transitions between lessons and when they feel children need it.
- Teachers create peace circles where children can share their feelings.
- Children learn to use inner and outer senses by taking the time to listen to sounds around them and identifying smells.
- Teachers create “peace corners” to allow children to have calming, reflective alone time when they feel angry,frustrated, or experience emotions they cannot yet regulate.
- Teachers incorporate techniques in their daily lessons that foster empathy and peace-building among students.
- Teachers discuss very basic values, attitudes, and behavior for peace with children.
- Teachers implement “teachable moments:” Moments when teachers stop the classroom and refer to or acknowledge an unexpected positive occurrence by a child in order to turn it into a learning opportunity and to reinforce positive, peaceful behavior.
- Teachers implement games that show similarities among children (e.g. mirror game, how we’re alike/different) as well as games that foster teamwork (e.g. relay races).
- Teachers use strength-based teaching.
- Teachers refer to Little Ripples pillars throughout the day (Peace, Helping, Sharing).
iACT seeks to share it’s Mindfulness approach and best practices.
Contact iACT to learn more about how we use mindfulness in early childhood education and across all our programs.