1. Who can train to become a dots teacher
1. For anyone applying to be trained as a dots teacher, previous experience of teaching or working in some capacity with groups of children in the relevant age group (3 – 6) is crucial. While there will be discussions and advice as part of the course about how mindfulness teaching might sit within a school/pre-school environment, it is assumed that you already have general classroom/group management skills and experience before attending the training.
2. dots teachers should also be based in a school/setting where the dots curriculum will be taught, or be a regular visitor (once a week minimum) to that school/setting. This could include:
- Regular classroom teachers or assistants working with ages 3 – 6 years.
- Those working with these age groups on a weekly (or more frequently basis) such as Special Educational Needs support workers, Local Authority Provision providers, or parent classroom support providers.
Particularly when working with younger children, it is important that the dots teacher is known to the children, and is able to support ongoing embedding of dots practices and exercises in line with the guidance provided during the training.
Unfortunately, we cannot offer places on the Teach dots course to those who do not meet the above criteria.
If you intend to be a self-employed teacher of dots going into schools or pre-school settings it is important to be aware that the current financial constraints on schools/settings are severe, and many schools/settings have very limited resources to pay for external providers of teaching and training. Before investing in training to teach dots, we recommend that you talk to the schools/settings that you are already working in and try to get a sense of whether or not they would be in a position to employ you as an external teacher.
By applying for this course you agree to meet the ongoing commitments of teaching the dots curriculum and agree that you will not teach dots as a public course, ie outside the context of a school, pre-school or other educational or youth-related organisations where safeguarding policies and procedures are not in place.
2. Ongoing commitment of a dots teacher
Being a dots teacher is not just about teaching mindfulness. If mindfulness is to become an established part of the education of children and young people, it is very important that the highest standards of professionalism and evidence-based integrity are maintained. We believe that this is in the interests of all those teaching mindfulness and the young people learning it. We ask that anyone applying to train to teach dots understands and agrees to the prerequisites and to continue to adhere to these standards on an ongoing basis.
2.1 – Personal Mindfulness Practice
Having an established personal mindfulness practice allows you to:
- Teach and work mindfully
- Embody mindfulness
- Model mindfulness to young people
- Guide practices with awareness
- Skilfully respond in enquiry
2.2 – Teaching Mindfulness to Young People
- Ability to engage pupils in a classroom setting
- Good class management skills
- Good communication skills
- To inform and include staff and senior leadership in the mindfulness work in the school in which you are teaching
3. Understand and commit to the prerequisites
3.1 – Attended and completed a face to face 8-week secular mindfulness course
You must have completed in person a teacher-led 8-week secular mindfulness course. The following courses are accepted:
- .b Foundations
- Finding Peace in a Frantic World (teacher-led group course only; PLEASE NOTE: self-guided courses do not meet prerequisites)
- Mindfulness-Based Living Course (MBLC)
- Mindfulness For Life
- The Present for Adults
Your course should have run for a minimum of 90 minutes per week for a period of 8 weeks.
You must be certified by a qualified adult mindfulness teacher that you have completed an 8-week secular mindfulness course with them and give the name of your teacher and the date of the course.
This training forms an essential foundation that is necessary for teaching dots and is not covered again in the dots course.
By applying for this course you confirm that you have completed one of the 8-week, face to face, teacher-led, group based secular mindfulness course listed above. You give MiSP permission to contact your teacher to confirm your attendance.
3.2 – Formal practice
A personal practice on 5 out of 7 days a week, for a period of at least 2-3 months between the completion of your 8-week course and the start of the training to which you are applying.
We would expect this personal practice to involve a range of practices, including the formal practices explored as part of an 8-week secular mindfulness course, such as Breath and Body, Sounds and Thoughts, Turning Towards Difficulty, Body Scan, Gratitude and Compassion practices. While shorter practices built into your day such as mindful eating, walking and breath awareness also form an important part of your deepening mindful awareness, we ask that you aim for a daily formal practice where possible for 20 consecutive minutes per day for the reasons outlined in 3. below.
For example, you may choose to focus in on body scan practices for one week, then explore other formal practices in subsequent weeks such as body and breath, sounds and thoughts or other silent practices. While it is important that you find practices that works for you, it is also important that you investigate and try the practices we list above. This allows you to develop both a broad and deep, experiential understanding of mindfulness practices. It will also form the foundation of your understanding and experience when it comes to leading a range of practices as part of the dots curriculum.
Such practices, commonly found in MBSR and MBCT courses provide the scaffolding that underlies and informs the dots curriculum, and it is assumed that those who attend our teacher training courses have a well-embedded experiential understanding of the key practices involved.
What does not count as formal mindfulness practice?
Informal practices are ways of integrating mindfulness into your daily life, using the breathing space or through mindful activity such as mindful eating, mindful cooking, mindful walking, mindful sports etc.
Although we strongly encourage you to use these techniques as a way of enriching your experience of mindfulness, on their own, they will not allow you the same richness of insight as more extended, formal practice.
Many other practices have elements of mindfulness within them but are not accepted under our prerequisites, as they are not directly related to our curricula. Common examples of these include yoga, relaxation, visualisation and transcendental meditation.
Where possible, use both silent and guided practice
Guided practices (using recorded guidance) are a helpful way of internalising the scripts and structures of the practices in question. They help you to learn specific techniques, as well as refresh your practice.
It is also essential that you develop your ability to guide yourself in silence before training to teach mindfulness to young people. Silent practice enables you to be responsive to what comes up in the present moment, which forms the basis of being able to guide others while remaining grounded in your own experience.
By applying for this course you confirm that you practise mindfulness as set out above for at least 20 minutes a day, 5 out of 7 days a week.
3.3 – Medical acknowledgment
Whilst dots is intended as a training to introduce basic mindfulness to young people in an educational setting, the course also involves attendees taking part in guided and non-guided mindfulness practices. As with any mindfulness course or workshop, it may not for everyone. In particular, if you have recently experienced trauma or bereavement, or severe physical or mental illness, you should consult your GP or other medical adviser before undertaking this, or any form of mindfulness training or practice.
For more information, please read this article by Ruth Baer and Willem Kuyken.
If you wish to discuss any concerns you might have about the Teach dots course in this respect, please contact email@example.com
By applying for this course you confirm that you have read the information above and confirm you understand that this course is not a substitute for any medical treatment you might need. You agree that if you have, or have recently had, symptoms of physical or mental ill-health, it is your responsibility to consult with your doctor and/or other healthcare professionals and follow their advice.
3.4 – Why 2-3 months?
We are often asked why we ask potential teachers of dots (for 3-6 year-olds) to have such an established personal mindfulness practice of their own. There are two main reasons for this:
- The key ideas and practices that underlie the most well-respected and widely researched 8-week adult mindfulness courses such as MBSR and MBCT provide the scaffolding that underlies and informs the dots curriculum. Before training to teach dots to young children, it is assumed that those who attend our teacher training courses have a well-embedded experiential understanding of the key practices involved in these adult 8-week courses. This will then support you when leading young people in the range of practices explored in dots, and allow you to deal more skilfully with any questions or responses that arise out of them.
- This period of 2-3 months embedding helps to stabilise and deepen your practice, which leads to a level of familiarity with the subtle workings of your mind. This in turn strengthens your capacity to model mindfulness in holding the experience of others, and to respond skilfully if difficult situations arise for young people in the classroom/setting.
Can I apply before I have completed 2-3 months of practice?
Whilst we require a minimum of 2-3 months practice you may submit an application earlier than this to help you plan ahead and find a course location to suit you. This is with the understanding that you will maintain your practice.
By applying for this course you confirm that:
- You will have practised mindfulness for a period of at least 2-3 months between the completion of your 8-week course and the start of the training to which you are applying.
- You have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions for booking a Teach dots course AND THE Terms & Conditions of teaching the dots curriculum.
- You have read and agree to MiSP using my data for the purposes set out in the Privacy Notice.
If, due to exceptional circumstances, you would like us to consider an alternative training pathway, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we are unable to hold places until an application form is received.
5. Complete the Application Form
Please read each question carefully, and respond as fully and accurately as possible.