Quick summary: There are three 60 minute activities in this lesson that teachers can choose from. The first activity ‘Posy of Possibilities’ encourages students to appreciate the gifts of nature, as well as the inner gifts we all have, such as honesty, loyalty, creativity, generosity and humour. The ‘Chain of Life’ activity invites children to create a nature-inspired paper chain and think of ways they can help take care of the wonderful ‘chain of life’ in nature. In the final ‘Kindness Seeds’ activity, students plant some fast-growing and slow-growing seeds to understand that different types of kindness may be needed in different circumstances, and to explore different ways they can be kind to the natural world and to each other.
|Activity developed in partnership with the|
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.
- 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 well being for individuals and their communities (ACPPS058)
- Explore how participation in outdoor activities supports personal and community health and well being and creates connections to the natural and built environment (ACPPS059)
Syllabus Outcomes: COS1.1, 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: 60 minutes for each activity.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in mindfulness activities.
Activity 1: A large posy of gifts from nature, which could include gum nuts, wattle, grasses, reeds, branches of leaves, flowers and herbs (enough for every child in class to handle one). A beautiful thick coloured ribbon to bind the posy. A ‘speaking stick’ and a colourful cloth for children to sit on.
Activity 2: Strips of recycled paper to make a paper chain. Non-toxic, water based glue with applicators and a range of crayons and pastels.
Activity 3: Your choice of specimens from nature that produce seeds: apples, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, herbs and so on. Your choice of seeds to plant: fast growing (mung beans, lentils, alfalfa) and slow growing (tomatoes, beans, flowers – depending on the time of year and climatic conditions). A glass jar/rubber band/piece of tulle or porous fabric for fast growing seeds, small pots (or polystyrene boxes) with potting mix for slow growing seeds. Watering can or suitable container. Cutting board and knife to open fruit/vegetables to find seeds. Additional optional resource: audio recording: The Nature of Mindfulness: Kind Inner Seeds – Primary.
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 by checking out her website.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.