Kids say the darndest things, and most of the time, they’re brutally honest. This short film called “Just Breathe” features a bunch of kindergarteners sharing their thoughts on what it feels like to be angry and mad and why it kind of stinks to feel that way sometimes. “You sometimes punch stuff and people when you don’t really mean it.” “When I get angry I feel it in my heart.”
One kinderkid likens an angry mind to the glitter in a jar when it’s all shaken up and there’s no room for clear thinking. (Mind Jars are pretty brilliant by the way – here’s a how-to.) Another discusses what goes on in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex – which is pretty sophisticated stuff for little kids. Our kindergarten selves would have thought Amygdala was some sort of Power Rangers villain.
The kids then school us on how to take a moment, take some deep breaths, refocus, recenter, and let the glitter settle. And it makes our little hearts swell with pride.
The 4-minute film comes from a husband and wife filmmaker duo, Julie Bayer Salzman and Josh Salzman, whose son was learning about mindfulness in school. After hearing her son talk to his young friend about the effects of emotions on our brain and our bodies, she decided to enroll in a six-week course with Mindful Schools, an organization that teaches mindfulness in US schools. Upon completing the course, Julie was inspired to capture what the youngins had to say about it, because, after all, kids are often our best teachers.
Julia explains via the film’s description:
We made “Just Breathe” with our son, his classmates and their family members one Saturday afternoon. The film is entirely unscripted – what the kids say is based purely on their own neuro-scientific understanding of difficult emotions, and how they cope through breathing and meditation. They, in turn, are teaching us all …
And they probably didn’t even need Elmo’s help.
According to data from the National Health Statistics Reports, there’s an increasing number of kids practicing yoga and meditation in the U.S. and the practices are really catching on in the academic setting. We’ve seen how in-school yoga and mindfulness programs can empower kids and provide tools that will not only help them but also those who care for them.