Our work in schools
We are currently running several mindfulness course in schools, for staff and students.
For students we teach a well-designed program, called .b (which stands for, Stop, Breathe, and Be). This course is nine sessions long. It was written by three experienced classroom teachers and mindfulness practitioners, Richard Burnett, Chris Cullen and Chris O’Neil. The course is taught using striking visuals, film clips and activities that bring mindfulness to life, carefully crafted to engage the most cynical of student audiences.
At the most simple level .b is an awareness raising exercise to give students a taste of mindfulness so that they know about it and can return to it later in life if they choose so. However many students have reported immediate benefits such as feeling happier, calmer and better able to concentrate and deal with stressful situations.
Katherine Weare, Emeritus Professor at Exeter and Southampton has reviewed the evidence on the benefits of teaching mindfulness to school students. Her field of study is social and emotional learning and mental health and wellbeing in schools. Her conclusions are:-
‘‘Work on mindfulness with young people has a developing presence and can be effective on a very wide range of outcomes. Well conducted mindfulness interventions have been shown to be popular with students and staff, and capable of addressing the problems of the young people who take part, and improve their wellbeing, reduce worries, anxiety, distress, reactivity and bad behaviour, improve sleep, self-esteem, and bring about greater calmness, relaxation, and self-regulation and awareness as well as improving aspects of cognitive function, and also some aspects of physical health. Mindfulness correlates positively with wellbeing, positive emotion, popularity and friendships, and negatively with negative emotion and anxiety.
The various studies reviewed in this paper, taken together with the strong support from the pilot work with teachers, and the substantial work with adults and on social and emotional learning more generally, suggest that for schools and the health service to engage in mindfulness is likely to have beneficial results on the emotional wellbeing, mental health, ability to learn and even the physical health of their students and patients as well as on the staff and carers. In these straitened times, it is worth reflecting that such interventions are relatively cheap to introduce and have an impact fairly quickly.’’
Katherine Weare, (2013) “Developing mindfulness with children and young people: a review of the evidence and policy context”, Journal of Children’s Services, Vol. 8 Iss: 2, pp.141 – 153
Mindfulness training has also been found to have a positive impact on the wellbeing and performance of school staff. We have run several training course for staff using an eight week model based on the book, ‘Finding Peace in a Frantic World. Apart from the benefit to staff and their students, teachers who wish to teach .b need to have their own mindfulness practice.
We are also trained to deliver the .b Foundations course, an eight week course designed for school staff that draws on material from the .b course.
For further information on training to teach .b and current evidence from research visit www.mindfulnessinschools.org.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss further introducing mindfulness into your school or college.