Mindfulness therapy may be coming to State Govt schools

FOLLOWING a successful trial in a Canberra school, Clarence Valley mindfulness coach John Shearer believes it is time the State Government introduced mindfulness therapy into the school curriculum.

Mr Shearer only last week sat down with Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis to introduce a mindfulness trial into local schools.

"Chris has promised to work with me; he is keen to work with me," Mr Shearer said.

"(Member for Page) Kevin Hogan has contacted me as well about introducing a program."

A successful trial program was conducted this year at Giralang Primary School in Canberra and showed that mindfulness relaxation had "overwhelming benefits".

Giralang teacher Christina Walker told the ABC her students felt a lot calmer in the classroom.

"They feel better about themselves and they interact better with each other," she said.

"I would highly recommend it. Especially with the run first to get out the jitters and then the settling.

"We can just get on with our day."

Mr Shearer believes mindfulness benefits stretch far beyond the classroom walls.

"If you can get (the students) in a relaxed state and talk about things like kindness and compassion - out of that comes benefits like less bullying, teaches them to take notice of their thoughts and feelings, (and) down the track that will reduce stress and anxiety and depression," he said.

"In a way it is both early-intervention and prevention of mental illness in our children. The benefits of mindfulness are unbelievable.

"It is quite amazing - a school in America introduced mindfulness over quite a long period of time but they saw a reduction of up to 70% in truancy rates and people not focussing in class."

Mr Shearer is hoping to introduce a three-month "being mindful" trail into a local high school to reduce childhood stress and anxiety levels in the Clarence Valley.

"I have the ability to train teachers to be mindfulness mentors," he said. "It will be up to the principals to make the final decision."



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