Mindfulness in School
practice seems to have beneficial implications on children’s overall health. As
an example, Khalsa and Butzer (2016) reviewed 47 publicised studies (from 2003
to 2015) of yoga based mindfulness practices with children in schools and its
efficacy on mental health, physical ability and behavioural outcomes. The
results show positive outcomes of children’s social-emotional learning (SEL) such
as stress management and emotional regulation, improved mental state,
performance, behaviour and overall health. Similarly, a qualitative approach
was employed by Wang and Hagins (2016) to explore yoga intervention program for
youths and the findings correspond to previous studies of reduced stress and an
increase in SEL. Children reported using mindfulness and breathing practices
not only in class, but also in real life situations, such as dealing with
family or school conflicts and academic demands (Wang, & Hagins, 2016).
Dariotis et al. (2015) employed a
mindfulness based yoga intervention to assess student learning and skill use
after delivery of a 16-week program. Within this program, students were taught
mindfulness principles and practices, yoga poses and breathing techniques, and
were provided with focused attention guided meditation. In total 130 youths took part in the
intervention program who reported encouraging psychological benefits, such as
reduced feelings of stress and depression, feeling calm and being able to
self-regulate emotions, as well as some reported ease of physical and mental
pain (Dariotis et al. 2015). Similar findings have been reported in a number of
other qualitative studies (Costello, & Lawler, 2104; Monshat, et al, 2013).
A qualitative study analysing of 118
children’s letters (ages 8-11) after completing a mindfulness training (MT)
implemented in academic curriculum as part of their daily routine through the
year have gathered substantial evidence of the positive influences of MT on
children. The formal and informal employment of MT in this classroom allowed
children to use these skills in and outside of the school (Cheek, Abrams,
Lipschitz, Vago, & Nakamura, 2017).
Weijer-Bergsma et al. (2012) employed large sample (N = 109) of school children
aged between 8 and 12 years who received MindfulKids training (taken from
MindfulSchools program, Biegel and Brown, 2010) as a prevention program for stress.
The interventions consisted of twelve 30-minute sessions over 6 weeks with pre,
post and follow up measures obtained from children, parents and teachers. Only a
small effect size was found directly after the training on stress and mental
wellbeing, however, more reduction was reported at follow-up. Children showed an
increase in bodily and emotional awareness to themselves as to others as well
as a reduction in aggression.
et al. (2010) explored the mindfulness program efficacy on children’s
involuntary stress responses, mental health and social adjustment. The
intervention group (n = 51) showed significant reduction in involuntary stress
reaction, compared to control group (n = 46) which suggest that practising
mindfulness for the youth were effective in terms of enhanced ability to
self-regulate and a reduction in persistent worrying, rumination and emotional
Joyce et al. (2010) conducted a pilot
study on children aged 10 to 13 years found that mindfulness intervention
within the school curriculum have significant improvements in children who
scored high on Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) strengths and difficulties
questionnaire (SDQ). In addition, considering the results of this study, the
concepts of incorporating mindfulness practice in school helps in the reduction
of mental disorders.
However, Johnson et
al. (2016) investigated mindfulness application .b (“Dot-be”, Mindfulness in
School Project , 2017) for transdiagnostic prevention in young adolescents (M
age 13.63), targeting risk factors associated with anxiety, depression and
eating disorders. While acceptability for participation were high, no
significant improvements in mental health were found amongst students in any of
the outcome variables. The conclusions were made on bases that either an introductory
lesson on mindfulness benefits is crucial to implement on practising
mindfulness, or the use of teachers to deliver the lessons instead of an external
instructor, as familiarity and trust may be important factor to facilitate the
better outcome rates particularly for this age group. Likewise, Tang et al.
(2007) suggest that interaction with an experienced trainer in the field of
mindfulness can be vital to attain the desired state.