Icelandic Students Benefit from Mindfulness Teaching


A program teaching mindfulness in Reykjavík primary schools is having a positive impact on the health of students and teachers, reports. Preliminary results of a study done on the initiative show significant changes in mindfulness, stress levels, and empathy. Bryndís Jóna Jónsdóttir, adjunct lecturer at the University of Iceland’s Faculty of Education and Diversity, gave a lecture on the project’s progress at a conference on educational science today.

“We are beginning to hear clearly from the schools how important teaching mindfulness is. Each and every individual is given the means to deal with daily challenges, promote wellbeing and resilience, and there are many advantages to that,” Bryndís remarked. While plenty of research has been done abroad on mindfulness in education, she stressed the importance of conducting local studies, which could learn from practices abroad.

Based on proven methods

In 2017, development began on a holistic introduction of mindfulness into primary schools in collaboration with the Directorate of Health. In 2018, a pilot project was implemented in three schools in the capital area. The project is two-pronged, and consist of a comprehensive implementation of mindfulness across the entire schools from 1st to 10th grade, as well as a research project done specifically with students born in 2005 and 2006. The material and methods used varies based on students’ age and is all based on proven methods.

Increased self-empathy

Preliminary results showed that mindfulness teaching increased self-empathy in pre-teen students. “That is vitally important during these developmental years. These are kids in seventh and ninth grade. These are kids who are going through puberty when they are very critical of themselves. They get the opportunity to reverse that development and find ways to support themselves and treat themselves with kindness when they are faced with difficulties.”

Icelandic Waste Exported to Europe

recycling in iceland

Waste from South Iceland is being used in the Netherlands to heat houses and in Denmark to produce electricity, Vísir reports. The export is a recent development and was spurred by the closure of a landfill in the region.

After a landfill site in the municipality of Ölfus was closed, South Iceland towns have had difficulties finding a final resting place for their waste. No other municipality was willing to dedicate land area to a new disposal site, and waste from the region was driven long distances to other parts of the country. Now some municipalities in the region, including Ölfus, have begun to export their waste.

Jón Þórir Frantzson is the director of Íslenska gámafélagið (IGF), which manages waste for many Icelandic municipalities, industrial firms, and businesses. He says the export has gotten off to a good start. “They sort all the waste into four categories. One category is that which is called non-recyclable and that we’ve exported to Rotterdam for the past three months and that is used for heating Dutch people’s houses and that’s gone very well. Of course this is the second-worst option but it’s good in the sense that there we’re talking about incineration, which is in competition with coal and nuclear energy. We know that coal is very environmentally bad and nuclear energy is very dangerous, so this is something that’s positive.”

Jón says the waste is being transported in containers that were otherwise returning to Europe empty. He hopes to arrange for all South Iceland municipalities to export their waste abroad. “We have also made contracts with Aalborg [in Denmark] as 31% of all the electricity which is produced in Aalborg is produced in a waste incinerator and all the water which is heated in houses goes through the waste incinerator.” Jón says there are more countries interested in importing waste from Iceland.

Icelandic Film Premieres in South Korea

Agnes Joy film

Icelandic film Agnes Joy received its world premiere in South Korea at the Busan International Film Festival last Saturday. The film will be premiered in Iceland on October 17. RÚV reported first.

Agnes Joy follows the middle-aged Rannveig (Katla Margrét Þorgeirsdóttir), who is bored by her suburban life. When a well-known actor moves in next door, both Rannveig and her rebellious daughter Agnes (Donna Cruz) become interested in him. The film also features performances from Þorsteinn Bachmann, who plays Rannveig’s husband, and rapper Kristinn Óli Haraldsson (known as Króli).

Rannveig and Donna were both present at the premiere, where they gave out autographs and posed for selfies after the screening. Icelandic film A White, White Day will also be screened at the festival.


Weather Advisory in Southeast Iceland

Rain in Reykjavík

Strong winds and heavy rain are expected in the Southeast and East of Iceland through the day and into tomorrow morning, according to the Icelandic Met Office. Travellers and residents in the Eastfjords can expect easterly winds at 10-15 metres per second and moderate to heavy rainfall. In Southeast Iceland, winds will range from 13-18 metres per second, with moderate to heavy rain in the eastern part of the region.

Higher water levels in rivers and increased runoff could lead to higher risk of flooding and landslides. Weather conditions should improve around 7.00am tomorrow morning. Travellers are encouraged to follow weather conditions closely.