The Future of Education: Mindful Classrooms

On a cold March afternoon, the hallways were abuzz with chatter and giggles at Chatsworth Elementary School in Larchmont, New York. As the kindergarteners from Liz Slade’s class ambled into their classroom from lunch and recess and put their jackets and lunch boxes into their cubbies, Slade asked, “Can today’s mindful leader please come up front and begin?”

Isabella, a 6-year-old wearing a heart-clad gray shirt and polka-dot leggings, quietly took a cross-legged seat on the classroom rug facing her peers. With her palms facing up and resting on each knee, she began to tap her thumbs on each of her fingers, simultaneously repeating the words “I-am-calm-now” with each tap. Without hesitation, each of Isabella’s classmates, along with their teacher, followed their mindful leader, tapping their thumbs and saying “I am calm now,” gently lowering their voices after each repetition until the room grew quiet. Slade then asked her students to slowly make their way to their tables and take out their “feelings” journal.