St Leonards Primary wins a colourful mindfulness makeover

November 29, 2021 BY

Local artist Sai workshopping murals and colour palettes with the Year 6 students. Photo: SUPPLIED

ST LEONARDS Primary School has embarked on a mindfulness makeover after winning a $5,000 prize package.

As part the makeover the school is creating a large mural with the help of Bellarine artist Sai ‘Bonsai’ Neoh.

Smiling Mind, in partnership with Dulux, held the competition because they wanted to help schools create a physical space to inspire mindfulness practices in their students.

The prize included 20 litres of paint, a $1000 gift card and access to a curator to help with the design.

Sai worked with the student leadership group to design an artwork that reflected the landscape.

“It’s a stylised image of the local landscape that incorporates the ocean, sand and gardens made up of patterns and calm movement,” he said.

Sai met with the students twice during the design process and said working with them and helping to realise their vision was the best part of the process.

“It was really inspiring to work with the student leadership group, they’re a really lovey group that care a lot about their school and all the other students.”

“It was fun hearing all their great ideas and refining them into a feasible project.”

Teacher Benjamin McDonald said he wanted a space that sparked his student’s imagination and curiosity.

“We want to build a space that will support our students to rediscover their ability to investigate, examine, and probe the world around them,” Mr McDonald said.

“Our hope is that the space will help promote collaboration and physical literacy, by allowing children to work together and through
imaginative play.

“This will encourage our students to use and really enhance their language and social interaction skills, so they can have success in these interactions for years to come.”

Smiling Mind has developed a free toolkit to equip schools with extra resources to aid mindfulness practices.

The toolkit features colour palettes and decorating ideas from colour experts, as well as tips from psychologists on incorporating mindfulness into the school environment.

The national competition was designed to support the toolkit initiative and encourage schools to create a physical space that inspires mindfulness practices.

Smiling Mind CEO Dr Addie Wootten said mental health was a significant issue for primary school students.

“Unfortunately, one in seven primary school-aged students experience mental health problems every year, so it’s critical that we deliver proactive, prevention-focused mental health support from an early age,” Dr Wootten said.

“We know educators are looking for ways to support students and build resilience in the classroom, and the built environment is an important factor to consider when it comes to our mental health.”

Dr Addie Wootten said by providing schools with the tools and resources to create their own mindful spaces, they can empower staff and students to take a proactive approach to fostering positive mental health habits.

Dulux colour and communications manager, Andrea Lucena-Orr said colour shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to emotional connection.

“Colour memory is a powerful concept that can be employed by schools to enhance and influence learning through the demarcation of spaces – this can help students zone in, engage and be attuned to mindfulness practices that are being advocated by their teachers and peers,” she said.