Paws b stands for “Pause, and Be”.
Certified Paws b Trainer
I am a self-employed Certified Paws b Teacher and I am trained to deliver the Paws b programme in schools to 7 – 11 year olds.
I can travel to schools in and around the Pulborough and Horsham districts in West Sussex.
What is Mindfulness?
On a basic level, young pupils taking the Paws b programme are taught that Mindfulness is about training the mind to be in the present moment. Whether that is good or bad, whatever is happening. Mindfulness trains our attention to be more aware of what is going on at that moment. This helps us to reduce worrying about what has happened in the past or fretting about something in the future.
Mindfulness skills support us to bring greater curiosity to what is going on around us. This in turn encourages a greater ability to better appreciate what is going on and to also make better choices in response.
This captures the essential meaning of Mindfulness but it is also a little more complex.
The benefits of training the mind have long been recognised. People of all ages who have taken Mindfulness courses report being able to learn new information more quickly, think more clearly and more calmly and also to feel less anxious. Mindfulness has also been introduced to the NHS under NICE guidelines as a way of supporting people experiencing stress and depression.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founding father of secular mindfulness, described the skill of Mindfulness as ‘being alive and knowing it’.
What is Paws b?
The Paws b programme is a leading classroom-based mindfulness curriculum for 7 – 11 year olds and training is provided by the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP). The programme is made up of 6 themes that can either be delivered as 1 hour sessions over 6 weeks or as 12 x 30 minute sessions over 12 weeks. The curriculum aims to introduce Mindfulness as a important life skill through a series of engaging, fun and practical sessions.
The programme was co-developed in 2012 by teachers and students from the Pen y Bryn school in North Wales along with the input of a senior Mindfulness trainer and teacher from the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University. Bangor is one of the most renowned institutions for the practice and research of Mindfulness.
The Paws b Curriculum
A key feature of the curriculum is the neuro-scientific content. Pupils taking the Paws b programme will come away with a clear understanding of 4 key areas of the brain that we know can be developed and brought together as a team. They will also learn how these areas support us in making good choices, paying attention, being the best we can, keeping ourselves safe and recognising basic bodily needs such as hunger, tiredness etc.
One aim of the Paws b curriculum is to serve as an awareness-raising exercise for children. It offers young people a chance to try Mindfulness so they know about it and can return to it at any point if they choose to do so.
Mindfulness in the classroom can support the following;
- Sustained voluntary attention
- Development of positive and nourishing attitudes
- Support improvement of memory function, learning and executive functioning
- Dealing with difficulties
- Support pupils to turn towards more positive, healthy and nourishing experiences
How Mindfulness Has Grown
In 1967 the average age for the onset of major depression was 49-51 years old. Over a 30 year period this age slipped down to a much younger age of 13-15 years old. There may be many different reasons this has happened. The important thing to recognise however, is that there is a very clear need to support the mental health of young people earlier on.
After the development of the Paws b programme in 2012, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was also launched in 2014 with the aim of studying the benefits of bringing Mindfulness into public policy. The Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) is one of several highly respected organisations aiming to provide an accessible introduction to Mindfulness for young people in a classroom setting. Paws b sessions can be offered as part of a school’s PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education) lessons.
More recently, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has also said that all pupils must be taught about mental health issues from 2020. There are also calls for PSHE to be mandatory in schools.
What is Mindfulness Not?
Mindfulness is not forgetfulness. Quite the opposite of forgetfulness in fact. It helps act as a torchlight of attention. It helps us to cultivate our attention and develop a focused mind along with an open attitude.
Pupils are invited to see for themselves.
Bring Mindfulness To Your School
If you are interested in finding out more about how Mindfulness can fit into your PSHE curriculum, I offer a free consultation presentation session. The consultation includes key information about the Paws b programme, an overview of the research findings and benefits of introducing Mindfulness to schools, the core values of the Paws b and Mindfulness in Schools Project and an insight into the materials and sessions the children would have.
Only someone who has fulfilled several requirements can be a Paws b Teacher. Paws b Teachers are required to have completed an 8 week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course, to maintain a formal Mindfulness practice of their own and to have attended a Paws b Teacher training course. Paws b teaching also calls for being grounded in one self as it is a bedrock and core value of Mindfulness.