We teach kindness, mindful awareness and 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, generosity, appreciating happy experiences, replacing negative self-talk and other practices that research has shown enhances kids' kindness and 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 incorporating mindfulness and other happiness building practices into their life and 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 and other mindfulness programs and has studied under North American leaders in the emerging 'mindfulness for kids' movement. She is a committed advocate for growing kindness and emotional health in our communities, and regularly writes in the area and assists schools 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.
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 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:
Growing Mindfulness & Happiness Workshops for Teachers
We provide half-day and full-day workshops and 6-week mindfulness training for teachers and schools. Emphasis is placed on assisting teachers with cultivating their own mindfulness and happiness, 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. 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.
Our series of four 45-minute workshops are scheduled over the course of 2-4 weeks at times that work for you.
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.
After-School Programs and Private Instruction for Kids
We are currently teaching 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 awareness-based classroom SEL programs. Through simple instruction and fun practices and games, kids learn to be mindful and kind to themselves and others. We also offer mindfulness-based SEL 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 Mindfulness for Parents course on Vancouver’s north shore. The course will assist parents with integrating mindfulness in their lives, to help them reduce stress and grow presence, self-compassion, calmness and joy in their lives and parenting. Please contact us to enquire about availability.
Mindful Kids Workshops
We are offering Mindful Kids workshops for Girl Guides, Scouts 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.
"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
"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
"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
"My brother was really not fun to be around so instead of yelling at him I took mindful breaths."
Grade 4 student, North Vancouver
If you have any questions simply fill out the form below, phone us at 604-924-1940, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.