Mindfulness in Schools, Colleges and Universities

Mindfulness is being used in schools, colleges and universities to help teachers, children, and students. Mindfulness helps children, students and teachers to improve their concentration, attention, conflict resolution, and empathy. 


What have youths said about learning Mindfulness?

"I love having mindfulness. It has made me feel a lot better, especially through hard times"

 "It feels so good. I need to teach it to my sister in high school because she is stressed out all the time."

"It helped keep me from using negative coping skills take cutting and drugs."

"With mindfulness I have been able to let go of things and move on from bad experiences."

- Quotes Courtesy of Mindful Schools and Stressed Teens


 mindfulness in schools

Mindfulness for school children

Mindfulness can be taught to children from a very young age. It is normally taught by specialist providers such as mindfulschools.org . Using short, interactive, child friendly exercises based on MBSR, children learn to be more mindful of their thoughts and actions. This usually results in improvements in concentration, attention, conflict resolution, and empathy among students, building a calm climate in the classroom, and improving the overall school environment. 

Case Study: Tonbridge, Charterhouse & Hampton Schools: UK

In what is being described as a ground-breaking school curriculum addition, pupils at Tonbridge, Hampton and Charterhouse Schools, aged 14 and 15, took part in an 8 week mindfulness course taught during normal lesson time. The course was designed in collaboration with Oxford and Cambridge psychologists and is one of the first in the country.

Pupils claim benefits as diverse as helping them cope with exam stress and sleep, to improving their performance in work and sport.

Prof  Mark Williams, director of the Mindfulness Centre at Oxford, told the Times newspaper that Tonbridge was the first school to introduce a full meditation course in a practical rather than academic context.  "This is not about converting people to Buddhism, but showing there is scientific evidence that these practices are useful," he said. 


Click here to read the Times article

Click here to find out more about mindfulness at Tonbridge School

Mindfulness in schools by Richard Burnett, Tonbridge School, UK 

Case Study: Piedmont Avenue Elementary School, USA

During a five-week pilot program at Piedmont Avenue Elementary, Miss Megan, the "mindful" coach, visited every classroom twice a week, leading 15 minute sessions on how to have "gentle breaths and still bodies".

"I was losing at baseball and I was about to throw a bat," Alex Menton, 11, reported to his classmates one day. "The mindfulness really helped."

Tyran Williams defined mindfulness as "not hitting someone in the mouth." "He doesn't know what to do with his energy," his mother, Towana Thomas, said at a session for parents. "But one day after school he told me, 'I'm taking a moment.' If it works in a child's mind - with so much going on - there must be something to it." Read full article (PDF)

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Mindfulness in Schools Useful Links

Association for Mindfulness in Education is a collaborative association of organizations and individuals based in the USA who work together to provide support for mindfulness training as a component of K-12 education.

Mindfulness Foundation: Mindfulness in Schools Campaign
The Mindfulness Foundation has started a grassroots Mindfulness in Schools Campaign advocating and fundraising to make mindfulness education available to all 9 million UK school children by 2022. Its goal is to increase happiness and resilience in children while improving student outcomes. 

Developing Mindfulness

A UK - based network for people using mindfulness with children and adolescents

visit mindfulness training in schools

Mindful Schools  is a USA based organisation. Their mission is to empower and support young people to live happy and fulfilling lives by helping them fulfill their academic potential, be more emotionally aware, empathetic, and mindful of their thoughts and actions.

Mindfulness in Education Network  was established in 2001 to promote mindfulness as an antidote to the growing stress, conflict and confusion in educational settings as well as an invaluable gift to give students. The purpose of the network is to facilitate communication among all educators, parents, students

Mindfulness for schools is a UK based organisation that provides resources for schools in line with the National Healthy Schools Programme. The syllabus stands on its own as a teaching guide to Wellbeing; however it also has links with Science, PE, RE, Philosophy, Psychology, Art, English and Citizenship. "Understanding Mindfulness is a modern life skill as important as any curriculum subject. Learning how to live in the 'now' - learning to be more consciously aware - enables students to notice their thoughts and emotions, identify a difference between impulses and actions."

Mindfulness in schools by Richard Burnett, Tonbridge School, UK  Richard teaches mindfulness at Tonbridge school and has written this study.  It includes interviews with  fMark Williams, John Teasdale, Michael Chaskalson and other experts in the field.


Mindfulness in Schools Project is a UK based non-profit organisation whose aim is to encourage, support and research the teaching of secular mindfulness in schools. "For some, lessons in mindfulness are appreciated simply as a way to help them relax and be calm. However, for many the benefits extend well beyond this, helping them cope with exam stress, get to sleep, manage anger, deal with difficult relationships, improve their performance in sports, or simply handle the increasingly stressful pace and pressure of adolescence."

'Mindfulness' meditation being used in hospitals and schools US Today article published 6/8/2009 by Marilyn Elias " Preliminary research shows that Los Angeles preschoolers who were taught meditation improved in their ability to pay attention and focus."

Still Quiet Place  provides information and resources for children, parents and teachers

University of IOWA Health Care Offer "Mindfulness for Freshmen" and "Mindfulness for Medical/PA Students" to help them learn to care for themselves while caring for others as well as help them introduce patients to mindfulness as an effective intervention for patients

University of Massachusetts Centre for Mindfulness Mindfulness, Courage, and Reflection for Educators is an after-school program that  integrates the strengths of the renewal work of Courage to Teach® from Courage & Renewal Northeast at Wellesley College, together with mindfulness training as it is taught at the Center for Mindfulness(CFM) Stress Reduction Program at UMass Medical School. 

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Mindfulness in Schools: Video clips

Featured Video: Seeing Clearly

A segment from a documentary about the Inner Kids program broadcast by GoodTube.org. In this activity Susan Kaiser Greenland uses a jar of water with baking soda as a visual aid, and a jumping off point, to discuss how breath awareness can help us calm our thoughts and emotions so that we can see inner and outer experience more clearly. The video was taken in Los Angeles classrooms where the Inner Kids mindfulness program was taught.


Daniel J. Siegel: Applications of mindfulness in schools 18/10/09  Dr. Daniel Siegel explores the neural mechanisms beneath social and emotional intelligence and how these can be cultivated through reflective practices that focus on the inner nature of the mind. Daniel is a child psychiatrist, educator, and author of Mindsight, The Mindful Brain, Parenting from the Inside Out, and The Developing Mind

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Inner Kids Programme: clips from documentary directed by Alan Swyer

Classroom Teachers on Mindful Awareness A segment from a docuentary about the Inner Kids program

Melting Ice Activity  In this activity Gene Lushtak leads students in a Melting Ice activity where students learn to notice both a physical sensation and their reaction to it.. The video was taken in a Los Angeles classroom where the Inner Kids mindfulness program was taught.

Kids on Mindful Awareness  A segment from a documentary about the Inner Kids program broadcast by GoodTube.org. Los Angeles students participating in a school-based Inner Kids class talk about their experience.

Clip of Inner Kids mindful awareness class A segment from a documentary about the Inner Kids program

Rocking the Monkeys To Sleep With Your Breath  In this activity Susan Kaiser Greenland and Annaka Harris lead students in a breath awareness activity. The video was taken in Los Angeles classrooms where the Inner Kids mindfulness program was taught.

Oakland Public School Mindfulness programme

Mindful Schools testimonial by Erika Bloom  Erika Bloom is a MFT licensed therapist who works with Oakland public school children. She describes the beneficial effects mindfulness sessions have had on her students.

Mindful Schools Benefit  Testimonial from a teacher at Highlands School in Oakland for the Mindful Schools program. Students are taught meditation and mindfulness techniques during the 5 week sessions.

For books on Mindfulness in Education, visit our resource page

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mindfulness in higher educationMindfulness for further and higher education students

Many students develop imbalanced living habits as a result of the daily demands of being a full time student. These habits can lead to sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, lack of fitness, and a high degree of anxiety.

A 2008 survey of University of Minnesota students by Boynton Health Service found roughly 70 percent of students claim stress is an issue in their lives. In the same survey, one-third of students surveyed reported that stress negatively affects their academic performance. Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and increase focus and concentration. Furthermore, a high proportion of people who learn mindfulness continue to practice it in the long term. One student who attended a mindfulness programme at their university commented: "Advice given on first year law school exams usually is: 'Don't freak out.'  Mindfulness teaches the 'how' in "how not to freak out."

Mindfulness for studentsMindfulness for students is a web resource developed especially for students.  Visit http://mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk/ to find out more.



Case Study: University of Minnesota Mindfulness club, USA

The University of Minnesota hold a Mindfulness club for students. The purpose of the club is to help students deal with stress skillfully and build self awareness through guided meditations, yoga, and qi gong. The club is non-religious affiliated, and is open to all students of all experience levels. Each week a local area mindfulness instructor leads the club in meditation, yoga, or qigong. The instruction emphasizes practical techniques for managing stress, lowering anxiety, and increasing concentration. Find out more...

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Mindfulness in Colleges and Universities: Useful Links

Examples of Mindfulness Programmes in UK Universities

Mindfulness at UEA, UK  The University of East Anglia, UK  offers students the opportunity to learn about dealing with stress through Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

UEA Mindfulness leaflet View PDF leaflet

Manchester University: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation   Manchester University run drop-in workshops for staff and students each term

Mindfulness at Buckingham University


Examples of Mindfulness Programmes in USA Universities

Be mindful: Stressed students, just breathe: Advice for University Students on the use of Mindfulness 

Antioch University Mindfulness programme  Antioch University New England is exploring how to incorporate opportunities for our graduate students in education to learn about and have a chance to practice mindfulness meditation.

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Mindfulness in Higher Education links

Toward the Integration of Meditation into Higher Education" A Review of Research a draft document prepared by Shauna L. Shapiro (Santa Clara University), Kirk Warren Brown (Virginia Commonwealth University), and John A. Astin (California Pacific Medical Center)

Research into the use of Mindfulness to help students cope with university life  This study builds on the promising results of a non-randomised wait-list controlled pilot study of Mindfulness-based coping with university life (MBCUL) which was conducted in early 2007.

Teaching Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to students: The effects of MBCT on the levels of Mindfulness and Subjective Well-Being  The research question was whether MBCT would increase participants' levels of Mindfulness and Satisfaction with Life and decrease participants' level of Negative Affect. Negative Affect significantly decreased; a strong trend in the data indicated an increase in participants' Satisfaction with Life

Mindfulness for Students: Video clips

Mindfulness for Students by a Student, Part 1  This is the first of a video series tailored specifically to help students deal with the stresses of being a college student, high school student, middle school student.

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