The Importance of Mindfulness/ Meditation : How to Implement in Schools

Mindfulness & Meditation

Practicing mindfulness/ meditation is just as important as eating well 🥬 It is scientifically proven to increase focus; reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; and improve memory, emotional awareness, and overall happiness. Hard to believe, but even 1 minute a day can be enough to see these benefits!

A study at Harvard showed that you can actually require your brain . They scanned everyone’s brain for a baseline, then had everyone practice mediation for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, the area of the brain (hippocampus) associated with learning & memory, as well as areas related to self-awareness & compassion GREW, and the area of the brain associated with stress, the grey matter literally SHRANK. 

Implementing Mindfulness in Schools

I brought the benefits of mindfulness to my sons principal in the beginning of the year. I had A LOT of ideas, but only 1 small change came from it. Baby steps. Small changes lead to a big impact in the long run. The schools counselors are now implementing mindfulness with their students and they also have a small group at recess/lunch who practice it as well.

Ideas to get this implemented in your kids school:

  • Bring information to your parent-teacher meeting and show your children’s teacher what is happening in classrooms around the country.

  • If you are a teacher, start an informal mindfulness group for your fellow teachers. Get an area in the school designated for some quiet time to recharge.

  • If you are a principal or teacher, start a “mindful eating table” where you eat quietly in the lunchroom and invite students to join a few days a week.

What’s Happening Around the Country

Inner Kids is a program that began in Los Angeles by Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child. It’s for children pre-k through grade 12 and teaches the new ABCs: attention, balance, and compassion. A study of Inner Kids’ work showed increases in children’s executive function and it was published in the Journal of Apple School Psychology in 2010. SO profound!

Mindful Schools, founded in Oakland in 2007 has taught its in-class program in 50 schools! The program involves students in every grade and they even begun adult professional training for teachers and other professionals working with children. Megan Cowan testified before Congress saying “If we can teach children that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health”. Cowan says that’s exactly what mindfulness does for children: it offers them “access to the fundamental human capacity to pay attention to oneself, to have self-awareness.”

A study of an SEL program in Oregon showed a 10% increase in elementary school standardized scores.

The Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness evaluated 20 ethnically and economically diverse public schools in Hawaii. Ten of the schools implemented daily 15-20 minute lessons teaching self-management, relationship skills, and self-improvement. Participants outperformed the control group by 8.8% in reading and 9.8% in math on the national TerraNova test, and 21% in reading and 51% in math in state tests.

It would be great to also see more programs in high schools as well, since SO many lose there way in adolescence, especially in a time like today.

Purchase Congressman Tim Ryan’s book here on Mindfulness. Have you tried implementing meditation/mindfulness in your life or kids school?