Mindfulness methods in the classroom

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. -- A new program is helping Valley students solve problems outside of the classroom. It's called Mindfulness First and it teaches young children how to deal with stress, conflict and adversity.

The mindfulness philosophy is basically giving students the tools to harness their nervous energy. District officials at Desert Willow Elementary School say it has literally changed their lives.

The form of meditation has been around for centuries; only recently it has made its way to the Valley, thanks to Sunny Wight and her nonprofit, Mindfulness First.

Classroom exercises encourage students to get in their mindful bodies and practice mindful breathing to help make good decisions when it comes to their peers and their family.

Mindfulness First Managing Director Treasure Milinovich says the methods are scientifically proven to increase empathy and decrease aggression and bullying.

Classroom 315 is one of three at Desert Willow Elementary where it's being taught. The eight-week program has been so beneficial, it's expanding in the district and getting endorsed by teachers who themselves have transformed because of it.

"It's done a lot of benefits for the kids in the classroom here," said teacher Michelle Collins. "I would say do it. I would just say be open to it, have an open mind, and I would definitely do this with your children, especially at this age and especially with the bullying issues that are going on."

It may sound a bit altruistic, but they say the results speak for themselves.

"It has the potential to change the world. It really does," Milinovich said.

Eventually, district officials say they would like to incorporate mindfulness in all of the classrooms.