Why Mindfulness in schools?
Mindfulness is a practice. It may be popular now but it has been around for a long time. The research today, however, puts the effectiveness and evidence based research behind it. There have been thousands of studies that have shown mindfulness to enhance social-emotional development and decrease stress levels in children, creating happier, healthier, more effective classrooms and schools. A summary of the research can be found here. The real question is why not?
The practices are short, simple and adaptable, and easy to facilitate. Practices are not meant to discipline the children but rather to offer the children an opportunity to be self-directed and self-disciplined, self-aware by choice. The research is in abundance. Mindfulness decreases stress and anxiety, increases attention, improves relationships and builds compassion. Ie., a short practice before a test can improve performance and reduce anxiety. Mindfulness creates changes in the brain that help us respond to life and be much less reactive. People who practice mindfulness are more likely to help others and to have a better, kinder self esteem.
Children have learning challenges. Some children suffer trauma and this impacts behavior. Challenging behavior challenges the teachers and staff. Mindfulness reduces stress and helps to reduce anxiety, minimize distress and acting out behavior. Schools have a host of social challenges for both the staff, faculty and children within their own cohort as well as between cohorts (teacher-child; child-staff; staff-teacher etc). By incorporating mindfulness practices into our schools daily routines, we believe we can transform our education culture, our children, and our society.