Exploring Mindfulness

Dear PAPA Parents, Guardians and Community Members,

I am excited to share with you that this year we will be exploring mindfulness practice with our students!  PAPA students were introduced to mindfulness and the importance of self-care during our PAPARCC festivities last spring.  They attended short workshops devoted to health and wellness, mindfulness exercises, and yoga in preparation for the stress of high-stakes testing during PARCC.  And at our PAPAfest orientation on August 11th, we spent some time introducing mindfulness meditation to all classes.

Increasingly, students are under pressure both academically and socially, and the demands placed on their attention from social media, peer pressure, family and community obligations can be overwhelming and contribute to stress, impaired attention and motivation, and emotional dysregulation.  Mindfulness meditation is a simple practice, available to anyone, at any time, which research has determined when routinely practiced can reduce stress, improve attention, sleep and emotional regulation, enhance creativity and deep thinking, and even help us avoid illness.  In terms of academic benefits to students, some studies have suggested that mindfulness practice contributed to improvements in social behavior, self-control, improved focus, less depression, and higher math scores!  We feel that mindfulness fits well with PAPA’s vision of a small, supportive educational community, where we recognize our responsibility to care for and promote the emotional and social health and well-being of our students so that they can achieve high academic standards and pursue excellence in the performing arts.

Mindfulness is, simply put, bringing our attention to the present moment, without judgment.  An example would be the simple practice of sitting quietly with a deliberate focus on the breath, inhalation and exhalation, listening to a chime fading until it can no longer be heard, or slowing eating a piece of fruit while attending to the taste, smells and textures of the experience.  It is not a religious practice-it is a secular wellness practice.  I have attached some additional information and a short video link to this email to help illustrate what mindfulness is, what it isn’t, and how it can benefit anyone.

Our school will introduce and explore mindfulness in an interactive and entertaining workshop presented by the school’s social worker, Ms. Leslye Padilla, LISW and Michelle Baca, a Master’s of Social Work student interning at PAPA from New Mexico Highlands University.  The workshop with take place in student’s math classes beginning Aug. 28th.  This unique workshop will orient students to mindfulness practice using a performance based approach with film clips, short animations, music, and discussion to engage and promote comfort with the practice.  Ms. Padilla and Ms. Baca will then introduce and facilitate several short mindfulness exercises and meditations with students.  During the month of September, Ms. Padilla will facilitate shorter sessions of mindfulness practice-5 minutes-once per week in each math class, leading into “Mindfulness Mondays” at the beginning of the day in all classes for the remainder of the semester to support a continued practice.  Parents may also attend an orientation to Mindfulness with Ms. Padilla, at 3:30-4:00 on August 29th.

Thank you for your support and continued trust.  Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions.


Leslye Padilla, LISW


Mindfulness: Youth Voices




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This video features youth and young adults discussing their experiences practicing mindfulness, and how mindfulness has benefited different aspects of their lives …

Mindfulness exercises – Mayo Clinic


Mayo Clinic


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A form of meditation, mindfulness exercises can help you learn to live in the moment and develop a greater awareness of the world around you.