The hip word today is "mindfulness." It has cachet. Whether in the corporate world, social awareness circles, health care enclaves or general everyday conversation, "mindfulness" has entered the vernacular.
Now mindfulness practices are growing exponentially throughout education. Here at Bright Futures Academy, we now have a daily formal mindfulness program that will expand next month into phase two dove-tailing an audio guided meditation with the popular "Qi Tree" activity during home team. This will take students from movement attention and focus to quiet mindful awareness, blending physical concentration and action with calm, abiding peace.
Like BFA’s other programs, our mindfulness program is based on empirical studies that show the many benefits of effective mindfulness and meditation in the classrooms.
In a TIME magazine special edition on mindfulness health writer Mandy Oaklander summarizes several recent studies in her article “Om For Kids”.
Fourth and fifth-graders who participated in a mindfulness and kindness program showed better social behavior than their peers and were less aggressive and better liked.
Three years after a Transcendental Meditation program was implemented at a troubled middle school, suspension rates dropped from 28% to 4% and teacher turnover plummeted.
The mindful group scored 15% higher than their peers in math. In a separate study, 41% of meditating middle schoolers gained at least one level in math on a state standardized test.
Eight weeks of mindfulness and yoga resulted in fewer ADHD symptoms and less hyperactivity in third graders--and the effects lasted for months after the program ended.
At an elementary school in Richmond, California, teachers reported better focus, self-control, class participation and peer respect in kids who followed a mindfulness program, compared with their levels before the program.
Just nine lessons of a mindfulness program led to lower depression scores, less stress and improved well-being in British kids ages 12 to 16, compared with students who didn't participate in the program.
Mindfulness is "hip" because it works. Unfortunately, many of these successful programs are usually pilot programs and terminate after their short term funding ends.
Here at BFA, we are just getting started with a mindfulness march to student academic and personal excellence. Mindfulness is here to not only stay at BFA, but expand with every intention to be a model for other schools and educators to follow.