After a decade of independent initiatives to bring mindfulness to school children across the UK, it will now for the first time be part of the national curriculum in 370 schools in England, with children taught exercises and techniques to help them regulate their emotions.
Why? because our young people are victims of the “attention economy” and need help to resource themselves to cope with the challenges of modern living.
It is critical to teach young people of all ages the skills to develop this type of resilience, but especially needed as an anecdote to the rising tide of mental health difficulties in young people. Emotional intelligence (or EQ) skills are far more important than technical skills in our modern world. THESE are the skills that will help young people as they enter the working world (or create their own businesses!).
Our Dragon workshops are designed in “Brainwise” ways ….check this great video from Sentis on Emotions and the Brain.
As every successful business leader will tell you, great businesses are built on relationships. Those with good relationship skills can work together and harness cognitive and neural diversity in ways that create great solutions to worldwide problems.
Additionally, with the advent of AI, it is necessary to ensure that our young people harness and maximise their creative skills. Creativity is at the heart of our success as a human species and needed more than ever. To be creative, we need emotional resilience and the capacity to make mistakes and bounce back. This is the route to true innovation.
Our young people are facing unprecedented levels of stress and distress and it’s clear that mainstream services are unable to meet the demands made upon them. From the growing medicalisation of childhood experience (ADHD, depression and anxiety) to “eco” or “extinction anxieties”, our young people need help. There are some great resources at Young Minds.
Although it is helpful to train young people in schools, it is important to recognize that these young people live within a system that includes their families. Parents as well as young people need the skills to help cope with the increasing challenges of modern living. If you know a young person who is struggling …connect them to ChildLine or the Parent line at Young Minds.
Critical in these moments is great communication. We need to develop a shared language of emotions. One that helps us to get our needs met but doesn’t overwhelm the other. Developing this language together is the intention behind the What colour is your dragon? workshop.
Cross-Cultural Collaboration Rocks!
This Brazil/UK collaboration is a new series of workshops and training for parents and their children (ages 7 – 11). The aim is to work together to develop the most important skill our children need – emotional intelligence.
At the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence we take a systems orientation that recognizes that parents and children need to work together on these skills and create a shared understanding of what it means to be a fully feeling, fully thinking human being. We want everyone to harness their full brain power – left and right hemisphere.
See this great animation from Ian McGilchrist on the left and right hemisphere ways of engaging with the world.
More about the “What Colour Is Your Dragon?” Workshop
We are developing a fun language for families to communicate with each other about their emotional life. The coloured dragons represents our three brain modes and systems of regulating emotion as outlined in the work of Professor Paul Gilbert.
The red dragon is on the look-out for threat; the blue dragon is our drive and focus; and the green dragon is what soothes and keeps us calm and safe.
This knowledge is based on the neuroscience of how to live in a ‘Brain-wise’ way. This is a way to face life’s challenges mindfully, with curiosity and compassion, by using both internal and external resources.
The workshop is a pilot for a further series of events presented by the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence in collaboration with Raquel Barboza Lhullier, a Brazilian cognitive behaviour therapist for children and adolescents, and Tony Langford, a researcher investigating creative and technological solutions to enhance mindful awareness and broaden attention. The Dragons are also supported by mindfulness teacher and mindfulness in schools specialist MaryLousie Morris, the most recent member of our team.
The model for this workshop is inspired by the work of Dr. Tamara Russell and Raquel Lhullier to integrate the BMT model (Body in Mind Training ) with Paul Gilbert’s Compassion Focused Therapy for children and families.