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Mindful : December 2013
MeMoves teaches children a series of movements they can do to foster learn- ing and communication. “Everything is designed to activate and suppor t a calm and attentive state,” says its co-creator, Roberta Scherf. There are 13 interac- tive segments, averaging about three minutes each, that take children through simple geometric patterns of movement. “The goal is not to do it perfectly but be fully engaged,” says Scherf. Though the program is par ticularly useful for people on the autism spectrum, about 70% of users are students in general education classrooms, from prekindergarten to fifth grade. To date, MeMoves has been used in 2,000 school districts across the United States. Creating the Peaceable Classroom offers strategies—from meditation and yoga to music and breathing exercises— to help teachers and parents create calm learning environments. “If we can be quieter and more relaxed in our class- rooms and homes,” says the book’s author, Sandy Bothmer, “ that’s going to help our interactions with one another.” Bothmer gives workshops at educational confer- ences and schools and also instructs at the University of Connecticut’s summer institute on teaching, the Confratute. Those dreaded SATs. To help students prepare for the high-pressure test, Eng- lish teacher Kate Rosselli has been using mindfulness in her nine-week SAT prep class at Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Three days a week, students learn strategies to focus on the task at hand. One student came to see her after a second attempt at the SATs, saying she felt “a huge difference in her focus and stress levels, compared with the first time she took it.”● Focus on Education December 2013 mindful 17 December 2013 mindful 17 Illustration by Gavin Potenza OVERHEARD “Meditation helps you when you age; your memory stays sharper longer. People go to the hospital less frequently, it helps people sleep better and lowers blood pressure. I can go on and on. You’re better spiritually, mentally, and physically.” — Ruth Fishel, author of Wrinkles Don’t Hurt: Daily Meditations on the Joy of Aging Mindfully, quoted in Newfoundland’s Daily Telegraph