Welcome to MiSP’s series of 20 Top Tips for 2020. We have gathered together the 20 questions we are asked most often and, using a decade’s worth of experience in delivering mindfulness in schools, plus the experiences of our mindfulness community of more than 5,000 trained teachers, we provide the answers!
#12: How can we involve our parent community?
Parents are an important part of the school community, and involving them in school life can be a fantastic opportunity whilst also sometimes feeling like a challenge.
We encourage all schools who are teaching mindfulness to their students to let parents know that they are doing this. You can download information leaflets and template letters home to parents, explaining what mindfulness is and why you are teaching in, on our Hub.
You can also include information about mindfulness on your school website, and include links to the MiSP website for parents to investigate themselves.
Offering information sessions for parents
Many schools offer an information session about mindfulness to parents. We recommend you deliver the Introduction to Paws b or .b lesson which is designed for this purpose and should include all the information you need to share. This may be offered alongside a parents’ evening, or before or after another event the school may be holding such as a PTA meeting. Now that schools are offering more information online, you may choose to offer this as a webinar for parents to attend.
You can also recommend that parents look at information on our website, and of course they would also be very welcome at our free Information Webinars which we run regularly. You can find details here: https://mindfulnessinschools.org/information-events/
Showing the curricula to parents
Some schools like to offer the whole Paws b or .b course to a parent group, to help them with the following:
- Understanding what the students are learning about.
- Sharing a language around the practices, e.g. amygdala, FOFBOC, Beditation etc
- Perhaps stimulating their interest so that they in turn might want to go on and do an adult mindfulness course.
This has worked well and adults seem to respond just as well to MiSP materials as students do, but please note, these sessions are not intended as adult mindfulness courses, just a way for parents or staff to better understand what their child or the pupils will be doing.
Offering a mindfulness course to parents
For schools that want to offer a full eight week mindfulness course to parents (or to staff) there are several options:
- Support a staff member to become your School Mindfulness Lead. This will qualify them to teach .b Foundations, an 8 week introduction to mindfulness, to adults in the school community, including staff and parents. This is the most sustainable way to be able to offer this in-house on an ongoing basis.
- Contact us to arrange us to host a group of parents or staff on .begin. This is a live, online eight week introduction to mindfulness and a really convenient way to encourage participation. We usually run these in the evenings so parents or staff can access the training from home. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Invite in an external .b Foundations teacher. You can find teachers on our map here.
- Visit the British Association for Mindfulness Based Approaches website to find a teacher in your area. They will be able to deliver MBCT or MBSR to a group of adults in your school.
Over to the children and young people!
We have learnt that one of the most effective ways of parents learning about mindfulness is them being shown practices by the children! Pupils, particularly the younger ones, often can’t help but tell their parents all about it, demonstrating practices and explaining how they can help.
This can often begin conversations, which you can then build upon.