School trustees and senior staff from SD46 had the wonderful opportunity to take part in a “Taste of Mindfulness” with instructors Dr. Rahul Guptka and Ron Skene on March 4 at the restful setting of the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden. This session helped our district leaders understand the research and experience the skills being taught to students, staff and families in our communities.
Dr. Guptka explained how the research is expanding rapidly and conclusively confirms the benefits of these techniques for stress reduction, physical health and even the positive influence of regular practice on chronic disease. With only a short day of instruction, we felt the benefits of greater awareness. Participants could let go of stress and experience some conscious reduction of mental business and anxiety. It may take many years to master and incorporate into daily life but we were grateful for the taste of mindfulness practice.
The Roberts Creek Community School has been coordinating mindfulness instruction in our district for several years. Instructor Ron Skene has worked with grade 8s at Chatelech Secondary for several years and for the past two years, all grade 7s at Roberts Creek Elementary have learned these skills. The Roberts Creek Community School received a three-year grant from Health Canada 2013, enabling the program to expand to include training for teachers and counsellors and a stream for families to take part together. As this project concludes this year, we are hopeful that the benefits can be expanded in our community and to other school districts around the province.
Each year, our student trustees have stressed how mental health is their top priority. We are very happy more students are learning mindfulness techniques and hope to see the use of mindfulness in our schools expand in the future. Thank you to Roberts Creek Community School and all instructors for bringing this instruction to our communities.