Mindfulness at the Museum
According to Mindful.org, mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” We at City Springs see mindfulness as an important skill that students should practice on a regular basis, in and out of school.
The students in Ms. McGuire’s class are learning the value of mindfulness through a program sponsored by the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Every Friday, they travel to the BMA to learn mindfulness practices via interactions with some of the museum’s prized artistic works. The students begin each session by practicing yoga and meditation with an instructor, focusing on positive things and releasing any negative feelings. From there, they engage in activities that deepen their appreciation of the museum’s various artworks while simultaneously strengthening their mindfulness practice. For example, after viewing Tomás Saraceno’s beautiful sculpture Entangled Orbits, students wrote a poem expressing their emotional reaction to it and discussed what they thought the artist was trying to communicate.
Ms. McGuire’s students are learning that consistent mindfulness practices can help unclutter the mind, reduce frustration, and focus their thinking on positive things. They also are learning to bring the mindfulness techniques taught at the museum back to City Springs. Practicing mindfulness in the classroom when students get frustrated or upset is helping them maintain a focused mindset and sustain a positive learning environment.