Mindfulness in Schools

February 2019

BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Mindfulness training was once mostly associated with what happens in yoga classes. These days, even major corporations offer this training to employees. Mindfulness practices involve focusing on the present moment and paying attention to breathing. Now researchers at Johns Hopkins University are studying effects of mindfulness training on students in urban elementary schools.

Before students at this Baltimore city public school start reading and writing, they begin the day with time to reflect. Students lead a daily two-minute mindfulness exercise. Like kids in many other districts in urban areas, kids here face challenges outside these school walls.

“A lot of these students are coming into school in a state of fight or flight,” detailed Tamar Mendelson, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University.

Mendelson analyzed mindfulness instruction in Baltimore city public schools. Elementary students were trained on breathing techniques and yoga poses for 45 minutes, four times a week for 12 weeks. Before and after participating in the program, students were surveyed about how they reacted to stress, and about their mood and emotions.

“Their scores on the survey showed they were better able to respond to stress with less emotional arousal,” Mendelson told Ivanhoe.

The surveys suggested that the kids had less rumination and fewer intrusive thoughts.

At Liberty Elementary School, there’s a “mindful moments” room. A certified instructor leads students through exercises if they seem stressed in the classroom.

“Usually when I close my eyes, I feel like I’m in a different universe,” said fifth grader Marlon Holloway.

“I feel like I’m calm, relaxed, and I can get the day on without getting into any trouble,” detailed fourth grader Jalen Brown.

Emily Federowicz, mindfulness instructor at Holistic Life Foundation, said, “Hopefully, learning these mindfulness skills will stick with them for the rest of their lives.”

The non-profit Holistic Life Foundation provides the mindfulness instruction at Liberty Elementary School and more than a dozen other Baltimore area schools.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Kirk Manson, Videographer.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Original research:

Spanish Translation

BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — El llamado entrenamiento mindfulness o la plena conciencia, antes se practicaba más que nada en estudios de yoga. Hoy hasta las grandes corporaciones les ofrecen a sus empleados programas que se enfocan en estas técnicas de relajación basadas en vivir en el presente y ejercicios de respiración. Hoy, investigadores de la Universidad de John Hopkins están estudiando los efectos de estas prácticas en estudiantes de escuelas urbanas.

Antes de que los alumnos de esta escuela pública en Baltimore den inicio a sus tareas escolares. Comienzan el día meditando. Los estudiantes practican dos minutos diarios de mindfulness, o ejercicios de conciencia plena. La investigadora Tamar Meldenson, PhD, analizó la práctica del mindfulness en los colegios públicos de Baltimore. Estudiantes de la escuela elemental aprendieron ejercicios de meditación y yoga durante 45 minutos 4 veces por semanas durante 12 semanas.

Los participantes completaron un cuestionario antes y después del programa. Sobre como reaccionaban ante la ansiedad, y sus estados de ánimo y emociones. El estudio indica que los participantes tendían a sobre analizar menos las situaciones y experimentaban menos pensamientos perturbadores. En la escuela Liberty existe un cuarto de mindfulness, donde un instructor certificado ayuda a los estudiantes con ejercicios si se sienten estresados durante el día escolar.

La organización no lucrativa Life Foundation provee los instructores de mindfulness a más de una docena de colegios en Baltimore.

Los contribuyentes a este reportaje incluyen: Cyndy McGrath, Supervisora  Y Productora de Campo; Milvionne Chery, Productora; Roque Correa, Editor; Kirk Manson, Camarografo.

Producido por Child Trends News Service en asocio con Ivanhoe Broadcast News y auspiciado por una beca de la National Science Foundation.