This past Tuesday, the first official day of summer break, twenty teachers (including some support staff) involved in Open Spirit’s Nourishing Teachers/Strengthening Classrooms Project’s partnership within the Framingham Public Schools, gathered at Open Spirit for a professional development day entitled, Rejuvenation: Breathing Room and Beyond. The day reaffirmed the project’s intention,“ to offer nourishment and renewal to teachers in order to support and strengthen their classroom experience, and, thereby, support and strengthen our children and our community.”
Sessions in mindfulness were led by our four Open Spirit teachers (listed on our website’s Project tab). Open Spirit teachers centered on not only great tips and tools for the classroom, but also facilitated activities for the FPS teachers to directly experience mindfulness techniques. Sessions included heart practices (bringing kindness to oneself), movement activities (yoga, qigong, flamenco), and an art activity in nature. All sessions were research based, with a strand throughout woven in from the system’s work with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Benson-Henry Institute’s curriculum.
Thank you to our NT/SC teachers and to Dara Berry and Nicola Seaholm, for your great assistance with this event. Thank you also, Cheryl Girelli and Mynette Shifman, adolescent nurses at Framingham High School, for your partnership, your friendship, and your undying enthusiasm for developing mindfulness practices in our schools.
As the day ended, I was filled with gratitude to see the vision of this project set in motion six years ago this month, thriving in our community. Our grantees’ and private donors’ support are most appreciated as we collaborate as a community to make this vision sustainable and expand it to reach more and more teachers and students in the Framingham Public Schools.
Open Spirit reaches its mission across so many projects and programs. We certainly are blessed to welcome more and more community members to our beautiful campus where we, “come together with open hearts to: Celebrate, Enable, and Inspire.”
Rosanne Kates, M.Ed. Founder and Project Director Nourishing Teachers/Strengthening Classrooms (NT/SC) Project