Stressed out Preps learn learning to calm their minds
A NOOSA-based teacher of 37 years experience believes the key to overcoming the wave of anxiety and mental illness sweeping through school kids as young as Preppies.
Robyn Hill of Tewantin has taught at all year levels in primary and secondary and speaks from experience when it comes to the crippling impact of stress.
In what she believes is a world’s first, Robyn is taking her first Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy weekly sessions at Pomona State School.
“I had a period of ill health and during that journey mindfulness has brought me back.
“Basically I was bedridden.
“I was on 10 tablets a day and I’m now on half a tablet and I will be off medication. I had two rounds of surgery and mindfulness has been my way of coping. Robyn is still dealing with her Menier’s disease, which causes severe vertigo, and the trigger is normally poor health, poor diet and in her case, stress issues.
“I decided this has got to be in schools and we need to start young, because in my own career as a teacher I have seen the growing levels of mental illness in our young people,” she said.
Robyn is not based at the school, but attends as a volunteer course provider after Pomona accepted her offer of teaching the calming an healing powers of mindfulness.
This focuses on a process of purposely bringing a person’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment and letting go of any invasive negative thoughts with the help of proper breathing and relaxation techniques.
“Two Prep teachers had open hearts and open minds and said ‘yes please’,” Robyn said.
“I just walk in the classroom and the kids just give me a big hug in the end.
“They say ‘we love when you come and teach us mindfulness, can you come everyday?’ The teachers say ‘Miss Robyn we must tell you what we did last week after the lesson’.”
Robyn has been bouyed by all the positive feedback and hopes to extend the program into other local schools.
“This has been a two-year journey and I’ve only just got a foot in the door at Pomona, which I’m so grateful for. People are so busy and so stressed.”
She said the Productivity Commission draft report on mental health report advocates a senior wellbeing teacher per school.
“I just take my hat off to Pomona for letting me in. We’re leading the world,”