Activity Introduction

succulent1-heroQuick summary: In this series of 15 minute activities, students will examine the colours, shapes and elements of nature and discover how mindful observation and stillness can change the way they feel. Their observations and reflections will deepen their relationship with nature and help them develop greater self-knowledge and resilience. 

Activity developed in partnership with the    GWF logo

Following this lesson is an ideal way for students to participate in Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day – the largest nature-care event in Australian schools. So, get growing! It only takes a minute to register for Schools Tree Day.

Learning goals:

  • To discover colour, shape and elements in nature.
  • To encourage curiosity, attentiveness and delight in being present in the fullness of each moment.
  • To create enhanced focus and improved concentration.
  • To develop self-knowledge, empathy, emotional regulation and resilience.
  • To cultivate present moment awareness so that calm, considered and conscious choices can begin to replace impulsive, unconscious reactions.

General capabilities: Personal and Social Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2

Australian Curriculum content description: These activities can be used with all subject areas to enable deep focus and engagement within students; however, the following curriculum links directly relate to these activities.

Foundation Health and Physical Education

  • Identify and describe emotional responses people may experience in different situations (ACPPS005)
  • Identify actions that promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS006)

Year 1 & 2 Health and Physical Education

  • Identify and practise emotional responses that account for own and others’ feelings (ACPPS020)
  • Explore actions that help make the classroom a healthy, safe and active place (ACPPS022)

Year 3 & 4 Health and Physical Education

  • Explore strategies to manage physical, social and emotional change (ACPPS034) 
  • Identify and practise strategies to promote health, safety and well being (ACPPS036)

Year 5 & 6 Health and Physical Education

  • Plan and practise strategies to promote health, safety and well being (ACPPS054)
  • Examine the influence of emotional responses on behaviour and relationships (ACPPS056)
  • Investigate the role of preventive health in promoting and maintaining health, safety and wellbeing for individuals and their communities (ACPPS058)
  • Explore how participation in outdoor activities supports personal and community health and wellbeing and creates connections to the natural and built environment (ACPPS059)

Syllabus OutcomesCOS1.1, INS1.3, IRS1.11, SLS1.13, GDS2.9, PHS2.12, SLS2.13, PHS3.12, SLS3.13, COS3.1, INS3.3, IRS3.11, SLS3.13, ALS3.6.

Topic: Nature of Mindfulness.

Time required: 15 minutes for each activity – these activities have been designed to ‘punctuate’ the day. 

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in mindfulness activities.

Resources required: 
Activity 1: A sketch pad for each child, coloured pencils and crayons to share, a selection of flowers and specimens from nature (depending on what is available in the school grounds). 
Activity 2: Your choice of instrument to provide a strong, clear sound, e.g. singing bowl, chimes, drum, etc.
Activity 3: Your choice of a loud, clear instrument, such as cymbal, gong or drum. You may also like to source a copy of the Winnie the Pooh book titled ‘ The House at Pooh Corner’ written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by E. H. Shepard and read a simple story with students before introducing the activity.

Keywords: mindfulness, nature, focus, concentration, attention, well being, health, happiness, resilience, Artology.

The curriculum writer: Janet Etty-Leal is a highly experienced educator who designs mindfulness programs within schools. Find out more about Janet here and check out her website.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

succulent4-heroTeacher Preparation

Overarching learning goal:

An inquiry based approach to fully engage each child is shared in these 15 minute activities. Opportunities are shared for first hand experiences to make mindful connections and insights to deepen students’ relationships with nature.

Teacher’s background information:

Video: Mindfulness in Schools: Richard Burnett (https://youtu.be/6mlk6xD_xAQ)

The benefits of mindfulness

We are a culture increasingly becoming addicted to instant communication and ever-changing technologies. While technologies such as mobile phones bring wonderful opportunities, children are spending more and more time being passively engaged in these technologies rather than actively engaging in the world around them. This includes the natural world and our environment. There is growing concern about the lack of time young people spend in nature and the consequences of this disconnect.

The practices of mindfulness and meditation offer people of all ages an effecti

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