Ken-Ton School district teaching students to use mindfulness

Posted at 3:03 PM, May 09, 2019

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — With a hand over your heart and the other hand over your stomach, take three deep breathes and clear your mind for one minute. That's a mindful minute.

Michele Melligan, a counselor at Franklin Elementary School in the Ken-Ton School District, started teaching elementary school children the importance of taking a break during the day to refocus and recharge.

"There is always busyness that we don't take time to unplug," Melligan said. "Not only unplugging from technology but also unplugging from our own thoughts."

Students say unplugging for 60 seconds helps them calm down and relax.

"I just feel good and it makes you feel relaxed and that nothing bad is going to happen," Alithia, a third grader at Franklin Elementary School said.

Melligan has taught students to take a mindful minute for about a year. The program is part of the district's strategic plan to incorporate helpful mental heath exercises into the classroom. Melligan says, students are bringing the mindful minutes home with them. Students say they practice whenever they feel like life is just a little too hectic.

"It's really trying to be proactive versus reactive," Melligan said. "There are so many things that are going on in schools and in our society, people are just inundated with constant messages."

Melligan says she hopes to continue to teach students the importance of helpful mental health practices and hopes to spread the program to other districts. Everyone and anyone can practice mindfulness at anytime.

"It's really just about being in the present moment, it's not worrying about what we have to do next," Melligan said.