1st Mindfulness Practice in Schools Conference 2015

March 18th, 2015, Avila Retreat Centre Donnybrook, Dublin 4

On March 19th, the 1st Practical Mindfulness in Schools Conference took place in the Avila Retreat Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

The conference aim was to support schools in Mindfulness practice. It was for school leaders who wish to lead Mindfulness practice, for teachers who are practicing Mindfulness with their students and for others who may wish to begin the practice of Mindfulness.

The conference was a great success and a milestone in the development of Mindfulness practice in schools. Over 90 people attended from all over the country representing many schools and organisations. The feedback from the conference was extremely positive with 93% of attendees indicating that they would like to attend another Mindfulness Practice in Schools event.

To access information from the conference day please click on the respective links

Conference Speakers and Workshops

Sr. Stan
Sr. Stan is a well know social campaigner and founder of a number of voluntary organisations including Focus Ireland, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Young Social Innovators and the Sanctuary.  She is also an author of several books including Day by Day, The Road Home and Moments of Stillness.  Her most recent book Seasons of Hope was published in 2014.

Tony Bates
Tony Bates has 30 years experience of working in mental health. In 2006 he founded Headstrong – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, an organisation committed to changing how Ireland thinks about young people’s mental health. Tony founded Headstrong based on international evidence that shows most serious mental health issues in later life start from problems in adolescence (12 – 25 years) and that if young people get help to deal with issues early they can avoid developing serious mental health problems. Tony believes that with the help of service providers and communities and young people we can change the existing systems that are not working for young people and Ireland can provide accessible and youth friendly mental health supports for young people that will result in better mental health and life outcomes.

The practical use and benefits of mindfulness in daily life  – Anne Twohig (Centre for Mindfulness Ireland)
Anne Twohig is a Teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programmes (MBSR) for the past 10 years. She trained with the Center for Mindfulness, (CFM), University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass). She is the first MBSR Teacher in Ireland to achieve Certification from UMass and is now a Faculty Member on their professional Teacher Training Team.  Centre for Mindfulness Ireland is the host organisation for Center for Mindfulness Teacher Training in Ireland.

Practical Philosophy and Mindfulness – Dr. Michael Telford and Prof. Dillon
What can Philosophy bring to Mindfulness? A rationale and an understanding that can underpin and support the practices that we give to the students. What goes on in a philosophy class? An investigation into an important aspect of life using dialogue / discussion, team-work, inspirational video footage, stories, words of the great minds of the past and present. Where does it lead:  to an understanding of the three great questions: Who am I? What is this great creation that I am a part of? And, What is my relationship to it? This workshop will explore how the Socratic method of reasoning could help students learn the proper use of the Mind in understanding the world in which they live.

Dr. Michael Telford is a former Principal of John Scottus Secondary school from 1986 to 2014. Prof Dillion is founder and Director Emeritus of the Plato Centre Trinity College, Dublin.John Scottus School was founded in 1986 with the intention of educating young people with philosophical principals. The practice of Mindfulness has been a key part of the ethos of the school since it started in 1986 and the school motto “Delight in the Present” reflects this.

Hurry Up and Meditate – Eugene McCaffrey
One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to learn to meditate. Meditation is often the missing dimension in our lives today, especially for those whose lives are already crowded with worry, tension and anxiety It is not dull, difficult or boring. If you can breathe, you can meditate! However there is no substitute for practice. Meditation itself is the best teacher. The workshop will focus on the essential elements of meditation: silence, listening, body posture, breathing, awareness and attentiveness to the present moment.

Eugene McCaffrey is a member of the Avila Centre Retreat Team.  He has written a number of books on prayer and spirituality and leads regular classes in Meditation.

Mindfulness: The Power of Training our awareness – Mari Kennedy
Our every day lives can be one of busyness, information overload, stress and relentless distraction. The practice of mindfulness can begin to address this way of being in the world. As we train our awareness, reclaim our attention and learn to befriend life as it is we increases our capacity for focus, clarity, kindness, empathy and wise choice. In this interactive workshop Mari will share both theory and practices of mindfulness.

Mari Kennedy is a facilitator, transformational coach, yoga and mindfulness teacher, and retreat leader. She has been practicing mindfulness for 9 years, a practice that has kept her sane and (mostly) able to welcome the messiness and magnificence of life!.In 2013 she left the corporate world to pursue her passion to put well-being at the centre of Irish Society. In 2013 she co-founded the Mindfulness Hedge-school with Happenings and more recently she recently established Oscailt Corporate Mindfulness Training with Mary O’Callaghan and is currently developing “Unplug to Upgrade” an pre-exam mindfulness retreat for students.


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