Ep. 55: How Mindfulness Enhances Learning and Mental Health with Andrew Jordan Nance

Nov 9, 2021 | 0 comments

When it comes to mindfulness, we all have the tools readily accessible at all times to get started. Mindfulness is simple but powerful and can help address a child’s emotional regulation, inattention, and anxiety. In fact, not only children benefit from this practice, but adults as well. But what do we mean by mindfulness? What does it look like and how can we start building these practices into our daily lives? Today’s guest shares just that.

Andrew Jordan Nance is a bestselling author of both children’s books and classroom curriculum on mindfulness practices. He is also the founder of Mindful Arts San Francisco and spends time presenting in schools in the area to help kids develop muscle memory in mindfulness breathing practices. In today’s episode, he explains what mindfulness is and how we can use simple breathing exercises to acknowledge our emotions and make good choices in response. His kid-friendly explanations are perfect for students and make mindfulness accessible to all, within the home and the classroom.


Show Notes:

[2:30] – Mindfulness is the practice of using our breath to focus on our minds, hearts, and bodies. 

[3:53] – Andrew suggests replacing judgment with kindness.

[5:16] – Although a calming practice, mindfulness isn’t always for staying calm, but more for just acknowledging and being with our emotions.

[6:45] – Andrew does an activity that he does with children to understand big feelings.

[8:29] – One of the purposes of mindfulness in schools is to help children develop the muscle memory of taking breaths to relax and think through big feelings.

[11:10] – Andrew lists some of the benefits of mindfulness practices.

[12:40] – Meditation is important, but mindfulness is different and can be integrated throughout the day.

[14:05] – Andrew describes Quiet Coyote breathing and other practices that can be used in the classroom.

[16:38] – Mindful Arts San Francisco is a program that Andrew founded. He shares his inspiration to start this program and write his books, specifically Puppy Mind.

[19:23] – Puppy Mind is great for elementary aged students, but adults can find value in it as well.

[21:02] – The goal is not to have our “puppy mind” go away, but to better manage our attention and emotions.

[23:37] – How have things been moving forward with Andrew’s presentations and curriculum post-COVID?

[24:55] – Breathing practices connect everything together and enhance relationships and focus.

[26:54] – Mindfulness is fully accessible to everyone all the time and can be integrated into home life and school.

[28:20] – Mindfulness isn’t always easy to start, but can impact many areas of a child or adolescent’s life.


About Our Guest:

Andrew Jordan Nance has been an educator since 1990. He is the author of four published books; The Barefoot King, The Lion in Me, Mindful Arts in the Classroom, and the bestseller, Puppy Mind. He is the founder of Mindful Arts San Francisco; a program of the San Francisco Education Fund that provides volunteer mindfulness educators to teach in SF public schools. On KTVU’s SF Loves Learning, Mr. Nance was the featured Mindfulness Teacher and his adapted five-episode series of Puppy Mind premiered on KTVU and was distributed to school districts around the country. For almost thirty years, he taught performing arts to students from diverse backgrounds, and for eighteen years he was the Conservatory Director at San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theatre Center. Nance is also an award-winning actor and director. He is on the board of directors of several educational nonprofit organizations including Mindful Life Project in Richmond, California and San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theater Center. He is the recipient of the Points of Light Award, a national honor recognizing his volunteer efforts to bring mindfulness to youth.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.