Having Fun with Mindfulness: Engaging the Whole Classroom

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Karla Doepke

Mentor Department



Social and emotional concerns that children and adolescents experience can lead to a myriad of negative physical and psychological outcomes. Many treatments have been developed to address these concerns. Recently, there has been a proliferation of studies examining mindfulness and many treatment modalities are beginning to incorporate mindfulness practice. In adult research, benefits of mindfulness are clearly demonstrated (e.g., reducing depression and anxiety symptoms). While research exists for the use of mindfulness practice with children, again demonstrating positive social and emotional outcomes, less is known about how to most effectively deliver this treatment within a whole classroom setting (Greenberg & Harris, 2012). At its core, mindfulness is nonjudgmentally bringing one's awareness to attention to their experience in the current moment. The current study investigated the effectiveness of an eleven-week classroom mindfulness intervention. Participants included 21 fifth grade students in a Midwestern grade school. The program included components of psychoeducation, mindfulness practice, and emotion regulation training. The results indicated that students demonstrated a significant increase in attention, mental control, and mindfulness related skills from week one to week eleven of the intervention. Also, students demonstrated a significant decrease in internalizing problems such as anxiety, low self-esteem, and stress. The research indicates that brief mindfulness training could improve student social-emotional outcomes and attention in academic and social functioning. Researchers followed up with the classroom teacher at six-week post-intervention. The teachers self-report indicated that student gains in prosocial and reduced internal symptoms maintained at follow-up.



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