Mindfulness—the practice of bringing conscious awareness to the present moment—has been evolving at Wayland through the efforts of the Chair of the Science department and alumna Beth Ratajczak `96 and her colleagues. During the past three years Mrs. Ratajczak has been incorporating mindfulness into her classroom, weekly assemblies, and faculty meetings.
Realizing the benefit to the campus as a whole, the program has developed and expanded. Mrs. Ratajczak and colleague Justin Behm are pursuing Masters in Education programs with concentrations in mindfulness with anticipated completion during the summer of 2020.
Monday’s All-School Assembly features a short mindfulness practice such as breath work or meditation for the entire school to participate.
Mindful Mondays don’t end in assembly. Mrs. Ratajczak and Mr. Behm also incorporate mindfulness in their classrooms through breath work, short meditations, social emotional work, journaling, and gratitude practices. Teachers across campus are encouraged to integrate mindfulness practices in their rooms as well.
Faculty and Staff Professional Development
To help mindfulness permeate the Wayland campus, faculty and staff participate in professional development sessions incorporating strategies to use mindfulness to manage stress and provide students the best versions of themselves. Weekly guided meditations are also available.
In addition to providing guided meditations and structured mindfulness, a dedicated space for students to develop their personal practice has been established in Swan Library.
Yoga and Mindfulness for Athletes
Mindfulness and yoga are offered as a physical education option during the winter and spring athletic seasons. Wayland athletic teams also benefit from incorporating yoga and mindfulness as an activity.
Mindfulness is quickly becoming an integral part of life on Wayland’s campus. Future plans include mindfulness education to the school community, a mindfulness/service-learning class, and additional spaces (zen dens) for individual mindfulness practice.