Kids’ Mindfulness Camp  

June and July 2015

If every eight year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

—Dalai Lama

The excitement in the air is palpable as children as young as eight arrive punctually at one in the afternoon to begin day-camp at the Center for Mindful Living. Upon entering the building, they immediately take off their shoes and sign themselves in.

Already, these children are getting into an attentive state of mind.

Their teacher Beth Vandergraph is a calm, gentle spirit that keeps her class ordered with kindness and respect, telling each child to find a place already prepared with a yoga mat on the floor and sit quietly.

After smiles and waves of greeting to one another, each child finds a mat and takes a seat.

The door to the education room closes, and another day of Children’s Mindfulness Camp has begun.

In June and July of this year, the Center for Mindful Living hosted its first ever two weeks of Mindfulness Camp geared towards children between the ages of eight to twelve.

According to Ms. Vandergraph, “The activities and discussions from Mindfulness Camp really seemed to resonate with the kids. In fact, several parents mentioned their kids were still bringing up mindfulness weeks after they’d completed the camp.”

In addition to learning practices such as meditation, journal writing, and active listening, the children were given lessons in mindful eating and moving with intent; the goal being to have them become more aware of themselves and begin listening to their bodies’ internal cues.  

Ms. Vandergraph continued, “Just like reading or playing tennis, mindfulness is a habit that gets easier with time and practice. The earlier any of us start, the better we get at it and the more automatic it becomes. Many adults look to incorporate mindful habits later in life, and it can be challenging. What a gift to begin learning these patterns of self-evaluation at a stage when the brain is naturally more receptive to new learning!”

Elizabeth Kabalka, the Executive Director for the Center for Mindful Living, said, “I was extremely encouraged by the number of parents who came up to me during the week of the July camp to tell me how impressed they were with the program and how grateful they were their kids were learning skills necessary to the integration of daily mindfulness practices into their lives.”

To learn mindfulness at such an early and impressionable age is a gift that will resonate not only with the child, but within the child’s community as well. Like a pebble dropped into a pond, one child’s mindfulness has the ability to affect the whole of that child’s world for generations to come.  

Stay tuned for more updates regarding more Kids’ Mindfulness programs and resources.

BY: Kara Sneed

                                                                                                                                                                 Center for Mindful Living
                                                                                                                                               400 East Main St. 
                  Suite 150
              Chattanooga, TN 37408

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