THE ELINE SNEL METHOD
The Eline Snel Method trains the attention. This is also known as mindfulness. The eight-to-ten week course takes one hour a week on average and teaches children to stabilise, focus and shift their attention with a friendly, alert attitude. They are familiarised with their inner world without having to pass judgement on what they (or others) think, feel or experience. They learn how to deal with tranquillity and turmoil when it arises. How to acknowledge ‘challenging thoughts and feelings’ without suppressing them or being absorbed by them, and simply give them friendly attention instead. And above all: they are taught to be kind to themselves and others.
BACKGROUND OF THE ELINE SNEL METHOD
It was a remarkable time to develop a practical method. The intense years began in 2005: from daily discovery sessions with children to find out how meditation can help them. From toddlers to adolescents. Learning together with the children what kind of vocabulary connects with them. Experiencing the importance of stories. What kind of variations the material should incorporate and where, in order to keep them interested. How to keep it accessible to every child. Whether you’re ill or not, have trouble focusing or not, whether you have difficulty sleeping or always feel great, whether you’re suffering from fear or depression, or go through life singing.
How was I going to make the method suitable for use in schools (elementary and secondary)? In healthcare? Hospitals, disadvantaged neighbourhoods and at schools with all kinds of different nationalities?
Both in groups and at the individual level. And quite importantly, how to involve the parents in this vital process of inner growth, awareness, emotion regulation and self-compassion? Here’s how.
Eline developed four trainer handbooks for four age categories in seven different languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Polish and Turkish). There is an additional syllabus containing important trainer information.
I also developed a magazine for the one-year course Mindfulness Trainer in Education.
- The course to become a Mindfulness Child Trainer includes two trainer handbooks for training children aged 4 – 12 years. Material for the children can be ordered at the online store. You will receive a login code at the start of the course.
- The course to become a Mindfulness Adolescent’s Trainer includes two trainer handbooks for training children of 12 – 19 years of age. Students are eligible for this course as well. Material for the adolescents can be ordered at the online store. You will receive a login code at the start of the course.
- The Mindfulness Trainer in Education & Parenting course includes a full trainer manual and the MIO Magazine. The course material for the participants can be ordered at the online store. You will receive a login code at the start of the course.
The Eline Snel Method was developed based on the eight-week MBSR training by Jon Kabat-Zinn and can be rightfully referred to as an MBSR for children!
The structure of the method and the fact that the trainer handbooks come fully elaborated, meant that it was now possible to do research how Mindfulness works for children.
Eline Snel wrote three parenting books since 2010, now available in 40 countries all over the world. They are being read and used by parents, therapists, teachers and schools all across the globe. Together with her daughter Anne, Eline developed an app for adolescents, their parents and teachers in the French , English and Dutch language.
The books are:
Sitting still like a frog (for parents of children aged between 5 and 12 years), publisher Kosmos, Utrecht
Breathe through This Mindfulness for parents of teenagers Shambhala Publications 2015
Sitting still Activity Book for children from 4-8 Shambhala Publications2019
The little frog awakes
For parents of young children age 1.5 -4
App for adolescents: Sitting Still App
The frog as a metaphor in the Eline Snel Method ‘Attention works!’
Eline Snel’s choice for a frog as the ultimate symbol for the Eline Snel Method ‘Attention Works!’ was very deliberate:
- A frog is able to sit extremely still and jump very far. Children can sit very still too, but their thoughts can make giant leaps, just like the frog. Before they know it, they’ve jumped into the deep end.
- It is easy to follow a frog’s breath pattern. Children are able to see and feel their own breath pattern too.
- A frog is very aware of its environment when sitting still. As soon as danger looms, it will jump away. As soon as it spots a fly, its tongue pops out.
- In a well-known fairy tale, a frog transforms into a prince when he fetches the gold ball of a princess from a pond, and asks the princess to kiss him. Of course, she doesn’t give in that easily, and meditation is quite the same. It takes quite a bit of effort, discipline and compassion to experience the transformation that mindfulness triggers.
- Finally, there is a beautiful old Japanese haiku about a frog:
Oh, old pond
A frog jumps in
Sound of water
- Still water is traditionally associated with a sense of depth, timelessness, mystery. The splash of the jumping frog triggers awareness of the always moving and lively NOW. It reflects in it.
What can you learn in the Eline Snel Method?
Attention training starts with breathing
What makes each Mindfulness training so special, is the fact that children (and adults) learn whatever it is they need the most in that moment. Confidence, resilience, handling tension and worries, improving their sleep by worrying less or learning how to be less critical of oneself and others. Children discover that getting to know and understanding the inner world is just as important as memorising capitals, for example. By learning how to meditate, through stories, attention exercises and physical exercises, children learn to be more present in the moment. Their focus improves and their worries about tomorrow’s test or yesterday’s fight, fade. Attention training starts with the breath, something you always feel right NOW. Once you are able to be present in what you are feeling, thinking and experiencing right now, your understanding of your inner world improves as does your ability to regulate automatic responses to feelings. Consciously, and less impulse-based. By making contact between the (often overloaded) mind and the body, you discover where tension and relaxation can be felt. Where fatigue or tension express themselves in agitated or withdrawn behaviour. Children discover that you don’t need to judge your own thoughts, feelings or experiences, or those of others. Compassion and understanding is what emerges. The training helps children find creative and useful ways of welcoming even the strongest of emotions or darkest of thoughts, and do something with them. But above all, children learn to be kind. To others and to themselves. And that just might set us on the right path towards world peace.
No need to judge
Developing conscious awareness (Mindfulness) lies at the foundation of any type of learning. We don’t know what knowledge and skills we and our children will need in the twenty years ahead. Or even in the next two years. What we do know, is that we need attention, we need to be able to focus, listen and learn how to build a meaningful relationship with ourself – feelings and thoughts – and others. These skills, this approach to learning and the embodiment of this knowledge is what makes up the foundation of Mindfulness.
What kind of people become Mindfulness trainers?
The Eline Snel Method is being taught worldwide, by professionals who work with children such as teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, children’s coaches, etc. They are trained and certified by the Academy for Mindful Teaching. The Eline Snel Mindfulness Method is offered at countless schools, private practices and healthcare institutions, both in the Netherlands and abroad.
Are you looking for a certified Eline Snel Method trainer? Find a trainer near you.
Are you interested in a Mindfulness trainer’s course at the Academy for Mindful Teaching? View all our courses here!