Screen legend Goldie Hawn teaches Hackney children about Buddhist techniques

10:19 06 December 2012

Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn visited Lauriston Primary School in Hackney. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn visited Lauriston Primary School in Hackney. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Archant

Legendary film star Goldie Hawn brought her charismatic enthusiasm and joy to youngsters at a Hackney school, giving them life lessons in how to be peaceful citizens and walk away from bullies.

Goldie Hawn spent time looking at children's work.Goldie Hawn spent time looking at children's work.

The still-stunning 67-year old actress, director, and producer stopped off at Lauriston School to see the Hawn Foundation’s MindUP programme, which teaches Buddhist techniques of mindfulness, in action.

Hawn founded the organisation seven years ago to pursue her vision of nurturing happiness, joy and empathy and to promote children’s academic success through emotional learning.

Despite only being implemented at the school in Rutland Road two months ago, teachers and governors there are astounded at the impact it has been making.

The Private Benjamin star began her visit on Monday by discussing how the brain affects emotions with a class of six and seven-year-olds, and was clearly moved by a Year 5 poetry performance about soldiers who fought in the First World War.

Hawn spoke about Buddhist techniques. Picture: Isabel InfantesHawn spoke about Buddhist techniques. Picture: Isabel Infantes

She said: “What we are talking about is empathy. Empathy is something you feel for others.

“And what an interesting thing, because war is a very terrible thing. Who fights wars? People. And who starts wars? People. Because who makes up the government? People.

“So we are all just people, so we have to make sure that you leaders of tomorrow will literally become the greatest people you can be and you can be peace,” she told them.

Hawn then met a Year 6 class to lead a “brain break” sitting cross-legged on the floor. Signalled by a bell, the children focused on their breathing and were still for a few minutes until the bell rang again.

The Hollywood actress was greeted enthusiastically. Picture: Isabel InfantesThe Hollywood actress was greeted enthusiastically. Picture: Isabel Infantes

“It’s really a good thing to do this. It helps you be more creative, it helps you learn better, it helps you remember more. We do this three times a day, guys you are going to love this,” Hawn said.

Before she left, she told the Hackney Gazette: “I just think this school is amazing. These children are so receptive. I mean they are really going to do well, and they have only just started implementing it.

“I have seven-year-olds explaining how the brain works. I was almost brought to tears, so great work at this school.”

The Hawn Foundation began work in Hackney two years ago at Nightingale Primary School in Hackney Wick.

Now seven Hackney schools are among 20 across London that are following the programme.

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