For five minutes after recess and lunch each day, the classrooms at Canadian Lead Primary School go quiet as the school's 216 students practice mindfulness and meditation.
It's been that way for the past year since the school began using the Smiling Mind program, and both students and teachers are reaping the benefits.
Principal Darlene Cameron said classroom behaviour and student concentration had improved since the school started its twice-daily mindfulness program that aims to improve the long-term mental health of students..
Classroom teachers decide which form of mindfulness their class will practice, with exercises ranging from mindfulness colouring to deep breathing.
"It's grounded in evidence about how engaging in mindfulness reduces worry, anxiety, gives more energy, and creates a sense of calm in the brain for learning to happen," Ms Cameron said.
"One that is working quite well is where students make a small boat, they sit the boat on their stomach so when they focus on their breathing, the boat moves. It teaches them how to do deep belly breathing."
Ms Cameron said the children themselves now recognised when they came in from playtime in a heightened state, and look forward to settling themselves with their mindfulness practice.
"We are in a very fast paced world so it's really important for us to be able to have mindfulness within school time," she said. "It certainly increases levels of self regulation and levels of concentration for our students."
Smiling Mind chief executive Dr Addie Wootten said introducing mindfulness in to schools could help students manage stress, develop emotional intelligence, enhance creativity, enhance decision making and problem-solving skills, and provide a sense of calm, clarity and contentment.
Canadian Lead is one of 30 primary schools around Australia to receive the Smiling Mind program free as part of a charitable partnership between Smiling Mind and Frasers Property Group.
"With one in four secondary students and one in seven primary students suffering from a diagnosed mental illness it's vital that we, as a community, do everything we can to take a proactive approach to preventing this health issue into the future," Dr Wootten said.
Ms Cameron said the school was grateful to have access to the program at no cost.
"We know from other schools that have adopted the Smiling Mind program just how beneficial it is. It is so encouraging that we have been given the chance to offer this to our own school community. I am confident these valuable techniques will benefit our whole school community," she said.
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