Making the Umbrella Project Work in Trying Times

Making the Umbrella Project Work in Trying Times

While the school boards in Ontario continue to have conversations with the Ministry of Education, we are seeing some union groups take action by limiting what teachers will be participating in. We know it can be a stressful time for all. These are exactly the times that the umbrella skills help us to cope and should not be neglected.

With the pending job action and sanctions put on activity within schools, we want to stress once again how the Umbrella Project need not be an extra but can directly help with the delivery of curriculum expectations in Language Arts, Social Studies, History, Religion, and most recently in the Social-Emotional Learning expectations of the New Health and Physed Curriculum. 

This would be a good time for you, as the Umbrella Project lead, to touch base with your teachers/staff to remind them of the great work they are doing with the Umbrella Project and to continue teaching about these awesome skills that students will need to further strengthen their umbrellas. 

It’s also a great time to remind your staff that self-care and their own umbrella practices are most important during this time. Here are some mindfulness tips that can be shared with your staff.

Mindfulness Tip #1: Review your schedule daily with the lens of mindfulness 

For happier and more fulfilling days, review your daily schedule with a lens of mindfulness and focused attention. Take 5 minutes at the end of each day or the beginning of the week to review your upcoming schedule. Is there anything you can do or change to create space for undivided attention with the people you care about? For your job? Is there anything you can change about the set up of your home or work to protect your attention? How many tasks are you expecting yourself to get done in one small block of time?

Mindfulness Tip #2: Take 10 deep breaths between your jobs 

Most people wear many hats in a day and this strategy helps you to reset between all the tasks of the day. Instead of running from job to job, stop and take 5 or 10 deep breaths before each new task. 

Make sure you’re following us on Twitter to see exciting initiatives on how other schools in Ontario are implementing The Umbrella Project.

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Do a ‘Beginner’s Mind’ Activity

Do a ‘Beginner’s Mind’ Activity

Today’s tip for building mindfulness is – do a beginner’s mind activity!

Consider this scenario: you’ve just landed from Mars. You have never seen or done any of the usual daily Earth-based activities. How do you approach doing routine daily tasks? Probably with curiosity, interest, and exploration.

This is a basic concept of mindfulness. It means seeing everything with fresh eyes. We are able to see things as they’re happening right in the moment. In the process, we leave behind all of the information we layer over our experiences.

Wondering how you can activate the beginner’s mind activity for yourself and your child this week? Listen in with Dr. Jen as she shares some practical ways to give it a try!

Become a better listener

Become a better listener

Today Dr. Jen talks about one of the most foundational principles of mindful parenting.

That is: become a better listener for your child.

Most of us divide our attention every day between different tasks. Becoming a good listener for your child can have a powerful impact on their well-being and help them learn how to be mindful themselves.

Dr. Jen discusses some approaches to use in becoming a better listener, such as having important conversations with your child in an environment where you’re not distracted.

Watch the video below for more!

Discipline and our Emotions

Discipline and our Emotions

Today’s tip for parenting from a mindful perspective is… try not to allow your emotional state to dictate the consequences or discipline that you give your children.

Feelings like anger and frustration are very normal parenting feelings. Kids respond better when they can predict what will happen when they behave in certain ways. This makes it important not to parent from a place of anger or frustration.

To help you achieve this, put a space between your emotional reaction to your child and the discipline that you’re giving them for a behaviour. That might look like walking away for a few minutes and taking a deep breath.

Learn more with Dr. Jen in today’s video tip!

Today, Accept ‘What Is’

Today, Accept ‘What Is’

Rather than wishing things were different, accepting ‘what is’ can help to boost your child’s happiness and contentment.

It is so important to help your children set realistic expectations of what they can achieve. This makes it easier for your child to be mindful of their capacity, thoughts, and feelings.

Let your child know that they can accept ‘what is’ and still work towards positive change. Dr. Jen explains more in the video below.

Contest: Join the Mindfulness conversation on Instagram

Contest: Join the Mindfulness conversation on Instagram

We want to hear your stories about Mindfulness this February!

Head on over to our new Instagram account (@umbrellapjct) for a chance to WIN this month!

Simply comment on any of our posts using the hashtag #Mindfulness. Share with us how you are practicing mindfulness this month at home or at school.

Comment using the hashtag any time before 12pm on February 28th 2019 to be entered into the contest.

We will randomly select three winners to receive a book by Toronto-based author Sarah Kraftchuk. Her books, like Love to be me!, encourage the world to become a kinder place by beginning with self-kindness.

Learn more about her Love To Be Books series, exploring mindfulness, compassion and kindness, here: