A Mindful Holiday Break

At Pacha’ Pajamas, we are very concerned about the amount of time kids spend on screens, and are committed to using technology responsibly in ways that ultimately lead to less time on screens for kids.

For the past 2 years, we’ve been offering meditation and music in low-income schools across the Bay Area. we’ve been exploring the profound impact of meditation, mindful music and creative visualization for children across racial and cultural divides. From the time that we meditated at Park Day school with Pancho Ramos-Stierle of Service Space and thirty 3rd graders to adventures in mindfulness with “Forest School” in the Oakland Hills – where kids literally breathe the forest to become the forest – we’ve been inspired by the power of creating authentic experiences for kids thru mindfulness, creative expression and culturally-relevant learning.

One day, about 6 months ago, I was asked to be a part of a program in San Jose at Sunrise Elementary school with Nimo Patel (Empty Hands) and Just Me (Mindful Life Project). Not only did every student meditate before our all-school program, but we used storytelling, music and conscious breathing for some amazing results…ie. uniting the entire school in a giant group hug at the end! Such profound healing experiences amongst the students, teachers and guests cannot be underestimated…we changed the world that day. Anyway, the coolest thing (for me personally) has been that I’ve been able to use my own practices/materials, alongside content from Pacha’s Pajamas, to offer invaluable gifts to this growing movement of educating the “whole child”.

Fast forward another couple months…it was after I had performed at the book launch of “Teach, Breathe, Learn” (by Meena Srinivasan) and I sat down with JG Larochette, the Executive Director of Mindful Life Project, to explore how artists and educators could truly scale our efforts together. We were discussing the dire problem of how the students go home at night (or on holidays) and they are inundated with screen-time, undermining the transformation that the kids experience during their day to day mindfulness programs. To offset this problem, the ED asked me if I would be open to donating books, music, card games, or live programs to inspire these kids in keeping up with their practices while at home with their families. A lightbulb went off for both us, recognizing that such partnerships, given the right sponsors, could create a pilot program of immediate impact this holiday season.

Mindful life

Hence, one of the most exciting aspects of our Kickstarter from my perspective is the possibility of providing 2000 books, albums and youth leader card games to kids in the Mindful Life program in Richmond schools right before they leave on Christmas break. The intention is to provide a mindful “non-digital” alternative to the “junk food” entertainment that they otherwise will be getting on television, computers, iPads and iPhones over the break. Through this pilot program, we will survey the kid’s media use so that we can measure the impact of the program.

Contributions to the Mindful Holiday Break are tax deductible and can be made through our Kickstarter page. If you would like to contribute at any level or have questions, please contact info@pachaspajamas.com.

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