Small Group Experience
Fostering resilience, focus, and emotional well-being in children.
Session 1: July 15th – 19th
Session 2: July 22nd – 26th
Monday-Friday afternoons, 1:00-4:30pm
Location: County Farm Park in Ann Arbor, MI
(On Platt Rd off Washtenaw Ave)
About this program:
This educational and therapeutic program introduces lifelong skills to kids while having fun outside. Space is limited to six participants per session in order to provide a truly individualized experience for each child. We spend each afternoon in the beautiful County Farm Park, where we engage in dynamic activities that show us how to pay attention to our moment-to-moment experience. We learn how to practice mindfulness in a fun, colorful, and developmentally appropriate way. (For more on mindfulness and its benefits, see explanation below.) We dance, play, walk, and move our bodies in ways that enhance self-awareness and allow for self-expression. Together, we learn, notice, engage with, and appreciate the natural beauty surrounding us.
Each afternoon is structured into two 90-minute segments, with a 30-minute break for free play on the playground in between. Typically, we start each day with a “sun dance” yoga sequence to get our bodies moving, followed by a brief mindfulness practice to focus and calm our minds. We learn a different mindfulness skill during each segment; with each new skill, we practice it together, and then reinforce it with fun activities such as games, movement, dance, discussion, journaling, music, and crafts. The mindfulness skills we explore include mindful breathing, mindful listening, mindful walking, mindfulness of the body, mindful movements, mindful eating, mindfulness of emotions, finding your anchor, and creating your happy place, as well as heartfulness practices such as generosity, kindness, compassion, and gratitude.
This program is run and taught by Anique Pegeron, M.A., R.Y.T. Click here to learn more about the teacher.
Mindfulness can be defined as the practice of paying attention to the present moment non-judgmentally and with openness and curiosity… or keeping your mind and your body in the same place at the same time! In today’s fast-paced world, this is a challenge; research shows that our busy minds increasingly spend more time worrying about the past or the future than experiencing life as it passes. Unfortunately, this is linked to anxiety, depression, trouble focusing, burn-out, sleep problems, reduced immunity, and more. Mindfulness is our buffer against these unhealthy outcomes; it shows us how to slow down and truly experience each moment, while noticing and appreciating the beauty in our surroundings. In those who practice it regularly, it fosters resilience, patience, focus, compassion, better sleep, better relationships, and overall well-being. (Note: these results are not just based on subjective experience, but on years of scientific research in neuroscience, psychology, and medicine.)
There has been a strong movement in recent years to teach mindfulness to children and youth. Kids face increasing academic and social pressures to perform – from striving for perfect test scores to trying to look “cool” on social media 24/7. It’s no wonder that researchers are finding increasing levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and ADHD among children. Current research findings on mindfulness with children show that with continued practice of mindfulness techniques, kids exhibit: increased sense of calm, decreased stress and anxiety, better emotional regulation, better focus and concentration, increased impulse control, increased self-awareness, increased compassion toward others, and even higher test scores. In other words, it is a tool with myriad benefits that children can use as they navigate through today’s world.
“I was worried my child would be resistant and defiant about this program, but I was thrilled to see just the opposite!! He was eager to return each day, appeared to make some friends and get along with the other kids, and actually seemed very noticeably ‘calmer than usual’ for at least half an hour after pickup each day. Wow! You guys obviously managed to create a true atmosphere of ‘loving kindness’, which is perhaps a stark contrast to the crazy chaotic whirlwind of distractions, yelling, and general craziness that encompass a typical day in our ‘real world’. I look forward to attempting to create more of this calmness and kindness in our daily lives, using your guidelines.”
“We love this program! Our daughter has attended for 2 years in a row, and each time she comes home with new ways to help her calm down in the difficult moments. She has fewer meltdowns now, and often reminds my husband and I to be more mindful and taught us how to focus on our breath when we get stressed out.”
“My daughter really enjoyed the connection she made with you and the other kids. She practices mindful breathing and uses the yoga sequence on in her own. She also uses the practices to help her get to sleep at night, which has been very helpful – for her and for us!”
“I was nervous that [my child] wouldn’t want to go. He is often nervous to try new things on his own. However, I shouldn’t have worried. He felt so comfortable. He just loved it. He is a sensitive child and blossoms when he is in a supportive and loving environment that encourages peace. Thank you so much, Anique. We will see you next year!”
“Mindfulness helps me calm down. I think everyone should try it. It makes you better at being nice to other people and yourself.” – Ava, 9 years old
“The other day my brother broke my toy, and for a second I wanted to hit him, but then I remembered the mindful breathing and I did that instead. And after I was glad I didn’t hit him, because it feels better when you don’t hit.” – Joey, 8 years old
“Mindfulness feels like I’m floating on a peaceful cloud. It makes me calm and happy.” – Lily, 7 years old