Students discover power of the breath at Brighton Page Image Image CaptionBrighton State School students: “Mindfulness calmly re-engages our students in terms of their learning and socialisation” Page ContentClose your eyes. Focus on the breath. And simply observe, the inhalation ... and the exhalation. This simple exercise may seem indulgent to many in our time-poor worlds, but at Brighton State School, the importance of these exercises are too vital not to make time for.The exercise is meditation, and at Brighton they are harnessing the power of mindfulness to actively support the health and wellbeing of their students.The benefits of meditation and mindfulness, now well and truly proven in the scientific and medical spheres, have become an integral part of the school day at Brighton.Kath Warren, with fellow teacher Sarah Mailey, said there is an inextricable link between mindfulness and academic outcomes.“Mindfulness calmly re-engages our students in learning and socialisation,” Kath said.“Sarah and I agree that we see a difference with our students who may initially, or at times, find transitions challenging or have high levels of energy.”Brighton State School principal Scott Padgett said the teaching staff had explored many pedagogical practices for students in all areas of health and wellbeing to help with stress, anxiety and mental health.“Our teachers began exploring the areas of resilience, self-regulation, and mental health for staff and students collaboratively to develop a framework for student wellbeing that was based on current research,” Scott said. “This focus on wellbeing is an integral part of our Explicit School Improvement Agenda this year and will continue to be such in 2020 and beyond.“We collected initial data that informed us that something needed to be done in the area of student wellbeing. Through the students’ responses, it was obvious that they may benefit from some sort of skill development to support their own mental health and wellbeing.”Classes across all year levels are beginning to implement mindfulness with the vision that all classes will be able to implement some sort of mindfulness by the end of this year.The spotlight on children’s mental health has received Federal Government attention, with the recent release of the Children’s National Mental Health Strategy. According to research, 50% of all mental health conditions emerge by 14.Since introducing mindfulness at the school 3 years ago, Kath said the response from both parents and students had been very affirming.“Students positively engage in mindfulness, and often ask if they can have some mindfulness time,” Kath said.“The feedback we have received from parents has been positive and encouraging – some are keen to introduce the program at home, particularly parents of students who exhibit anxious behaviours.“We strongly encourage all schools to start implementing mindfulness in their own classrooms,” she said.