TUCSON, Ariz. — Students at Imago Dei Middle School got a break from the classroom this week to focus on mindfulness strategies.
Rather than practicing yoga or another quiet activity to calm down, they do what's perhaps the loudest activity - playing the drum.
It's a curriculum called TaikoMIND. Author Holly Cluff with Odaiko Sonora combines mindful learning with energetic fun, something these fifth and sixth graders simply cannot resist.
"There are so many things built into how we operate as a Taiko group that reinforce the ideas of working in a community and about always having an open mind to what's happening and learning to adapt when things don't go the way you want and learning to focus," Cluff said.
Throughout the experience, TaikoMIND has students focus on five themes: calming, noticing, focusing, adapting and connecting.
Students then take these building blocks and apply them to real life situations.
"Everyone's in the same space when you begin. There's not someone that has more experience than you, so every single person is learning from the start. And everybody makes mistakes. And everybody has to try hard. Hitting the drum might be easy to you but remembering the notes might be challening, so it's a great opportunity for reflection and looking at your own learning style," she said.
While TaikoMIND is taught in some schools, Cluff hopes to see the program expand to more districts.
"I'd love to see schools access it. If people are looking for a new or slightly different way to integrate mindfulness instruction, this is a great option," she said.
Taiko is not just for kids. Adults can also learn to play with classes ranging from beginner to master levels.
To sign up for a class, contact Odaiko Sonora Tucson, or visit their website.
Mastering your mindfulness is just a drumroll away.