Mindfulness is a particular way to pay attention and bring awareness to one’s experience.
The benefits of mindfulness for children are many:
* Better focus and concentration
* Increased sense of calm
* Improved impulse control
* Increased empathy and understanding of others
* Decreased anxiety
What do kids have to say about mindfulness:
“Mindfulness helps me notice where my thinking is”
“Mindfulness helps me come down when I argue with my mom. I do mindful breathing and a body scan”
“My favorite thing about mindfulness is heartfulness; it helps me be more grateful because I noticed I am not that grateful about stuff”
Mindfulness at FJA :
You can ask any student at FJA how they practice mindfulness breathing and they will show you. FJA teachers and students practice mindfulness in their classroom regularly. Staff and students alike are benefiting from mindfulness being part of our school culture.
Our counselor Emmanuelle Giumelli, MA is certified to teach mindfulness and has been teaching and training FJA teachers and staff since 2013.
Each classroom participates in an 8 week mindfulness class where mindfulness curriculum is practiced by students and teachers are supported to implement mindfulness into their daily schedule.
Please contact Emmanuelle Giumelli for more information on our mindfulness program at FJA. HSTherapyservices@gmail.com
Research Supporting Mindfulness in Schools:
Several studies have highlighted numerous benefits of mindfulness when taught to students in schools. Here are just a few key findings:
- Children ages 11-13 experiencing high anxiety, who participated in a mindfulness and relaxation program, showed significant decreases in both test anxiety and ADHD behavior as well as an increase in the ability to pay attention (Napoli et al., 2005).
- Teens 17-19 years old at an American independent girls’ schools benefited from a mindfulness-based program by experiencing decreases in negative affect, and increases in calm, realization, self-acceptance, emotional regulation, awareness and clarity (Broderick & Metz, 2009).
- Significant improvements in attention were found among 9 to 13 year olds participating in a mindfulness-based intervention compared with children who did not. They also found reductions in anxiety and behavior problems (Semple et al., 2010).
- A program implemented in a low-income, ethnic minority elementary school found that student behavior improved significantly in four key areas: paying attention, self-control, classroom participation, and respect for others (Black & Fernando, 2014).
Not only does mindfulness positively impact students, but studies with teachers have also highlighted several benefits:
- When teacher at a secondary school participated in a mindfulness program, there were significant reductions in levels of teacher stress and the number sick leave days. There was also a reduction in feelings of pressure, demotivation, and poor coping (Manas et al., 2011).
- A group of Spanish secondary school teachers participating in a mindfulness-training program showed reduction in psychological distress, which was maintained four months later (Franco, et al, 2011).
- Educators of children with special needs who participated in a 5-week mindfulness training program experienced positive increases in their mindfulness, awareness, patience, and empathy. They also reported an increase in forgiveness of the self and others, and sense of personal growth, and reductions in stress and anxiety (Benn et al, 2012).
- Student teachers, mentors, and experienced teachers participating in a mindfulness-based program all experienced a positive outcome. Student teachers reported improvements in their ability to give more appropriate support for students and in personal well-being. Experienced teachers had an improved sense of ability to manage their classrooms and have more supportive relationships with students (Jennings et al., 2011; Jennings et al., 2013).
- Student teachers who participated in an 8-week elective University course experienced increases in self rated mindfulness, satisfaction in life, health, and teaching self-efficacy. They described being more able to monitor their own stress levels and the impacts of this on their class. As a result, several integrated mindfulness practice into their classes (Poulin et al., 2008).
- In a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course adapted for teachers, teachers experienced a reduction in psychological symptoms and burnout, improvements in observer-rated classroom organization and an increase in self-compassion(Flook et al., 2013).
Research Supporting Mindfulness for Parents:
Mindfulness has also been shown to make a difference in the lives of parents and how they parent their children:
- Parents of children with special needs who participated in a 5-week mindfulness-training program experienced positive increases in their mindfulness, awareness, patience, and empathy. They also reported an increase in forgiveness of the self and others, and sense of personal growth, and reductions in stress and anxiety. Overall they were more conscious of the way they processed their emotions and were less judgmental and more tolerant of themselves and others. (Benn et al, 2012).
- Mindfulness applied to parenting encourages parents to intentionally bring moment-to-moment awareness to the parent–child relationship. Exercises in mindfulness promote several important parenting skills including the development of attentive listening, emotional awareness, self-regulation, along with compassion and nonjudgmental acceptance to parenting interactions. (Duncan et al., 2009).
- Mindfulness practiced by parents has the potential to reduce parental stress and reactivity, improve parental executive functioning that reduces impulsivity, and improve martial relationships and co-parenting (Bogels et al., 2010).
- In an 8-week program for parents and their children ages 8-12 years old with ADHD , there was a significant increase of mindful awareness reduction of parental stress and over reactivity (Van der Oord et al., 2012).
To keep up to date with Mindfulness Research, visit the American Mindfulness Research Association, which offers a monthly newsletter offering current information on the latest findings.
Benn, R., Akiva, T., Arel, S., and Roeser, R.W. (2012). “Mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of children with special needs”. Developmental Psychology, 48(5), 1476-1487.
Black, D. S., & Fernando, R. (2014). Mindfulness training and classroom behavior among lower-income and ethnic minority elementary school children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(7), 1242-1246.
Bögels, S. M., Lehtonen, A., & Restifo, K. (2010). Mindful parenting in mental health care. Mindfulness, 1(2), 107-120.
Bowers, T. (2004). “Stress, teaching and teacher health”. Education, 3–13(32), 73–80.
Duncan, L. G., Coatsworth, J. D., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). A model of mindful parenting: Implications for parent–child relationships and prevention research. Clinical child and family psychology review, 12(3), 255-270.
Flook, L., Goldberg, S.B., Pinger, L., Bonus, K. and Davidson, R.J. (2013) “Mindfulness for teachers: a pilot study to assess effects on stress, burnout and teaching efficacy.” Mind, Brain and Education 7 (3): 10.
Franco, C., Mañas, L., Cangas, J.A., and Gallego, J. (2011). “Exploring the effects of a mindfulness program for students of secondary school”. International Journal of Knowledge Society Research, 2(1), 14-28.
Jennings, P., Snowberg, K., Coccia, M., and Greenberg, M. (2011). “Improving classroom learning environments by cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE): Results of two pilot studies”. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46 (1), 37-48.
Jennings, P. A., Frank, J. L., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2013). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of a randomized controlled trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28(4), 374.
Manas, I.M., Justo, C.F., and Martinez, E.J. (2011). “Reducing levels of teacher stress and the days of sick leave in secondary school teachers through a mindfulness training programs”. Clinicia Y Salud, 22(2), 121-137.
Napoli, M., Krech, P. R., & Holley, L. C. (2005). Mindfulness training for elementary school students: The attention academy. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 21(1), 99-125.
Poulin, P.A. Corey, M.A., Mackenzie, C.S. Soloway, G. and Karayolas, E. (2008) “Mindfulness training as an evidenced-based approach to reducing stress and promoting well-being among human services professionals,” International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 46:2, 72-80.
Semple, R. J., Lee, J., Rosa, D., & Miller, L. F. (2010). A randomized trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children: Promoting mindful attention to enhance social-emotional resiliency in children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19(2), 218-229.
Van der Oord, S., Bögels, S. M., & Peijnenburg, D. (2012). The effectiveness of mindfulness training for children with ADHD and mindful parenting for their parents. Journal of child and family studies, 21(1), 139-147.