Growing Kind Hearts & Healthy Minds
We teach kindness, mindfulness and related social & emotional learning to kids and youth in greater
Vancouver, British Columbia and provide related training for teachers, parents and program leaders.

Our programs grow kids' emotional
intelligence and their happiness, and help them thrive in school and life.
 
About

We teach social & emotional learning to kids in school and after-school programs in greater Vancouver, Canada. Our training grows kids' emotional intelligence or 'EQ' and their happiness, and helps them thrive in school and life. Kids learn to pay attention, and are given tools to manage their emotions and calm their minds when they are stressed or upset. They are taught about gratitude, appreciating happy experiences, replacing negative self-talk and other evidence-based practices that enhance kids' kindness to self and others and their well-being. The enhanced focus and ability to 'ready the brain' for learning gained through our training promotes better grades at school and enhanced performance in sports and the arts.

We also educate parents, teachers, after-school program leaders and others who care about kids on growing their own happiness and well-being and on incorporating practices that grow kids' well-being into their work.

Our principal and chief instructor, Melody Schalm, teaches social & emotional learning (SEL) programs in school and community programs in greater Vancouver and provides related adult workshops and training. Melody is trained in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) used in hospitals and health centres around the world, Mindful Schools and other evidence-based programs and curricula and has studied under North American leaders in the field. She is a committed advocate for growing kindness and emotional health in our communities, and regularly writes in the area and assists schools and community organizations with implementing kindness and emotional health building initiatives. She is a member of the Provincial Advisory Network for Y Mind: BC's New Provincial Mindfulness Initiative funded by the Ministry of Health, supporting the mental health needs of BC youth experiencing anxiety.

Melody holds a bachelor of arts degree with distinction in psychology from the University of Alberta, and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She practiced law for many years before leaving the profession to pursue her passion: Creating a kinder world by teaching children to be mindful and kind.

 
Mindfulness

We have all experienced 'mindful moments,' when we are so 'in the now' that our judgements, worries, ruminations, to-do list and other distractions of our busy mind temporarily fall by the wayside. These moments may come when we're walking in a beautiful forest or experiencing other wonders of nature, or when we simply catch our child doing something new and find ourselves looking at him or her with fresh eyes and a sense of wonder, noticing: "Wow, just look what you can do and look what you have become." These mindful moments are often accompanied by a feeling of joy and contentment and a sense that 'all is alright,' regardless of our actual life circumstances.

The goal of mindful awareness training and practice is to make these mindful moments a way of life rather than fleeting encounters with happiness that we may not know how to recapture. With practice, mindfulness can become a lasting 'trait,' wherein we experience life's moments with fresh eyes and joy, rather than through a lens that may be clouded by our past experiences and patterns of thought that have developed over time.

Research clearly shows that mindfulness practice actually rewires the brain in ways that lead to greater personal effectiveness, kindness, and happiness.

 
Benefits & Research

Benefits of EQ-Building Programs

"Social and emotional learning" (SEL) programs teach kindness to self and others, empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, impulse control, attention skills, relationship skills and other competencies that are often broadly referred to as emotional intelligence or "EQ." Extensive research shows that such competencies are extremely important for kids' mental and emotional well-being and for school and life success. For example, a recent meta-analysis involving 270,000 students found that classroom SEL programs teaching such competencies result in a significant increase in positive peer relationships, empathy and other healthy social/emotional outcomes and a significant decrease in emotional distress and conduct problems - together with an average 11 percentile-point academic gain. Another study found that social competencies at grade 3 had greater predictive value of later academic success than did grade 3 academic results.

Many SEL programs are now mindfulness-based learning programs - meaning that they teach mindful awareness as a chief component of the program - as research has shown mindfulness to be a key tool for enhancing mental and emotional well-being.

Benefits of Mindful Awareness Training

Mindful awareness training and practice has been used in medicine and mental health for over 30 years, and the benefits on adults' physical, mental and emotional health are very well-documented. Reduced stress, anxiety and depression, enhanced focus, memory and immune system function, enriched interpersonal relations and increased compassion are a few of the key proven benefits of mindfulness practice on adults.

Mindful awareness for kids is an emerging - and rapidly growing - area. Many of the world's leading child development experts view this training as a key tool for enhancing kids' mental and emotional well-being. Research results to date on children are largely mirroring results seen in studies with adults. Key potential benefits of mindful awareness training for kids include:

  • increased attention and focus
  • increased impulse control and self-regulation
  • enhanced personal well being
  • increased kindness - both to oneself and to others
  • decreased anxiety and depression
  • decreased aggression and other problem behaviour
  • better school grades and enhanced performance in sports and the arts
 
For Teachers & Schools

Growing Happiness & Well-Being Workshops for Teachers

We provide half-day and full-day workshops and 6-week training for teachers and schools. Emphasis is placed on assisting teachers with cultivating their own mindfulness, happiness and well-being, to help them reduce stress and grow presence, calmness, compassion and joy in life and the classroom. Please contact us to enquire about availability.

Mindful Kids Classroom Workshops

Our interactive classroom SEL workshops help grow students’ focus, self-regulation, confidence, kindness and other key SEL competencies of BC’s new curriculum. The evidence-based practices taught in our workshops help reduce student stress and negative behavior, and grow students’ and teachers’ happiness in life and the classroom. First Nations content is included to assist in students' learning. Accompanying resource materials for teachers provide practice scripts for immediate use in the classroom and other tools teachers can use to help create a calm, caring classroom environment and further grow core student SEL competencies throughout the year. Comprehensive resource materials for parents are also provided, enabling parents to continue the learning at home.

Our series of four 50-minute workshops are scheduled over the course of 4 weeks at times that work for you. For younger grades (K-3) we offer eight half-length workshops.

8-Week Classroom Program

We also provide an evidence-based, 8-week mindful awareness- based social and emotional learning (SEL) program to assist greater Vancouver elementary schools that do not have full-school SEL classroom programs in place. The program involves a trained and experienced outside instructor coming into the classroom for 20-30 minute instructional sessions, twice per week for 8 weeks. Classroom teachers are given a unique opportunity to experience the twice-weekly mindful awareness learning sessions, rather than leading lessons themselves.

Our school program is based on the evidence-based Mindful Schools curriculum, with additional time given to gratitude work, appreciating happy experiences and other positive psychology that research has shown increases kids' kindness, self-regulation and mental and emotional well-being.

 
For Parents

After-School Programs and Private Instruction for Kids

We provide after-school group Mindful Kids classes at public and private schools on Vancouver's North Shore. Our after-school program is a 'jazzed up' version of our Mindful Kids classroom SEL program. Through simple instruction and fun practices and games, kids learn practices that reduce their stress and grow their happiness, well-being and kindness to self and others. We also offer social & emotional learning by private instruction, including for kids with autism (ASD). The BC Ministry of Children and Family Development provides funding to families for our behaviour and social skills training for kids with ASD.

Parent Education Workshops & Programs

We offer workshops for school PACs and other parent groups on growing happiness and emotional health in kids (and parents!) We are also offering a new 6-week Happiness for Parents course to help parents reduce their stress and grow their well-being and joy in parenting and life. Please contact us to enquire about availability.

Mindful Kids Community Workshops

We offer Mindful Kids workshops for Girl Guides, Scouts, after-school care programs and other community groups. These interactive sessions help kids learn to be mindful and kind to themselves and others. They are given tools to calm their minds when they are stressed or upset, and to make smart decisions. They also learn about and practice gratitude, replacing negative self-talk and other teaching that has been shown to grow kids’ happiness and emotional well-being.

 
Testimonials

"With anxiety being such a problem among school-aged children, I think this program is so important to get into all the schools. Our lives and our kids are so busy and programmed, and we all need to be reminded or taught to be mindful and to be grateful, and to learn to self-regulate."

Ann, Grade 4 Teacher, North Vancouver

"The program has definitely helped create a classroom environment where I can get more teaching minutes in. The focused breathing practice helps to calm and settle the class down to be ready to work. I have also benefited personally from the program sessions – they have reminded me to slow down and pay closer attention to life."

Kelly, Grade 2 Teacher, North Vancouver

"My class loved the sessions, they are very open to this learning and take it very seriously. The many everyday practical uses of the learning, customized for kids, was so helpful. You rock!"

Cynthia, Grade 4/5 Teacher, North Vancouver

"This program offers students the skills to deal with emotions that could escalate, particularly between siblings and friends. We frequently used the deep breathing technique in the classroom afterwards, as a strategy for calming down and engaging the prefrontal cortex to make better decisions."

Reagan, Grade 2 Teacher, North Vancouver

"We so appreciated this program. Our son would come home on such a high every day he had the Mindful Kids classes, and was very sad when the classes ended. He continues to use and make reference to the tools and tips he learned in his workshops, and we will definitely use the parents’ supporting resources provided."

Parent, North Vancouver

"When I was stuck on math questions I took three mindful breaths to calm me down."

Grade 3 student, North Vancouver

"I learned things that helped me when I was scared to go to swimming lessons."

Grade 2 student, North Vancovuer

"When my brother was being really annoying I used the S-T-O-P practice thing to calm me down."

Grade 4 student, North Vancouver

"Thank you so very much for coming to teach us how to be mindful, it has really helped me to calm myself down. I will really miss you teaching us how to be mindful."

Grade 6 student, North Vancouver

 
Contact

If you have any questions simply fill out the form below, phone us at 604-924-1940, or email info@kindkids.org.

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