Integrating Art and Mindfulness – A review

‘Integrating Art and Mindfulness’ is a new online summer course offered by Tralee Education Centre. It is the brainchild of Nikki Roberts, someone who boasts an impressive list of qualifications and all the necessary experience to match. Participants can explore the importance of leading a holistic lifestyle and how to integrate it simply into their daily routine. This course provides participants with tools to support their own positive mental health and wellbeing and that of their students through the medium of art and meditative practices.

If you’re interested in an enjoyable, relaxing course (and are willing to explore your artistic side) then this is the summer course for you! The course offers the participant calm, relaxing and peaceful meditations through the use of self-soothing techniques and exercises to allow introspective and contemplative reflection. Probably the most impressive aspect is how all of this seamlessly integrates with both the Visual Arts and SPHE curricula. I got so many ideas throughout that I have more or less covered my art and SPHE planning right up to Christmas! What’s more, the activities are both beneficial and enjoyable. The course considers how art, meditation and mindfulness can be used to manage stress, increase one’s ability to cope in challenging situations and build mental and emotional resilience.

If you are taking part in the course, be aware that you need to have a basic supply of art materials (including clay for the last day – although someone improvised with plasticine) and access to nature. Having said that, the course administrator is very understanding, flexible and quick to reply to forum posts with helpful, personalised comments. For every day of the course you are expected to take a picture and upload one or two of your artistic creations to the forums. Granted, art is my thing, but for me this was the best part. I really detest the more typical courses where you have to write multiple long, dull replies to forum posts. There are some forum posts required on this course, but they’re fewer and more focused than the norm.

There are many practical elements to the course. For example, it provides a yearly scheme that demonstrates how mindfulness and the Visual Arts are integrated. Individual lesson plans expand on the yearly plan. I even made numerous links to the English and Maths curricula (creative writing, concentric circles, precepts linked to the novel ‘Wonder’ etc.) There is no need to possess any perceived artistic abilities. This is a course that offers a platform to use the medium of art as a self-soothing tool. There is no right or wrong way of creating an image and there will be no critiquing of your artwork. The images are simply for you to consider and review.

There were two available windows for course participation. The first window is now closed, but if you are interested you can register now and you will have access from August 6thto 23rd. After the 23rdyou will no longer have access to all the wonderful links, ideas and information so make sure to take note while you can. In this regard I feel a Teacher’s Handbook and a Pupil’s Journal would be very useful. Finally, I’ll leave you some images of my favourite pieces of art that I created during the course.

Master Fitch – this blogpost was written by a friend and colleague who recently completed the course for review.