School-Based Mindfulness and Yoga Interventions

By Nicole Colchete and Daniella Rueda, CEI Interns

“Today, teachers are experiencing high levels of stress that can have a negative impact on their teaching and the learning environment” (Jennings, 2013). Burn-out related stress, time-related stress, and societal stress are all challenges that teachers often face. To combat these challenges, schools and institutions implement mindfulness and yoga programs such as CARE, MindUP, and RISE. Time and again, these programs, among several others, have proven to improve stress-management and increase over-all well-being. Although programs vary in length, format, focus, and duration, they all share one common goal which is to positively impact students as well as teachers through mindfulness and yoga exercises.

CARE. The CARE (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education) teacher training program is a professional development program designed for teachers to guide them through mindfulness practices as a means of channeling fatigue and stress in a positive light. CARE introduces mindfulness practices such as short periods of silence, meditation, and reflection through a five-day summer retreat at the Garrison Institute. Researchers have tested CARE in both urban and suburban public schools and have demonstrated that teachers in the CARE professional development program see greater improvements in teachers’ well-being, efficacy, burnout, and mindfulness. Additionally, studies show improvement within students in the classroom environment with the implementation of CARE.

MindUP. Similar to CARE is the MindUP program which is created ‘with educators, for educators to help improve student focus, engagement in learning academics and give them the tools and strategies that would bring joy back into the classroom’ (Hawn, 2018). MindUP’s 15 lesson plans, which are incorporated into existing lesson plans, consist of interactive workshops, assessments and coaching, webinars, coaching calls, and a final evaluation of progress. Throughout the years, MindUP has produced astonishing results. In regards to schools, MindUP has significantly lowered absences by 67 percent. Bullying too has seen a significant decrease of 54 percent. Additionally, 75 percent of schools have reported an increase in students’ impulse control and self-regulation. Fighting incidents and behavior referrals have also seen a significant reduction since the implementation of MindUP in schools as well as homes with 69 percent of parents reporting positive changes at home (“Create a Learning Culture, 2018). Through its mission, MindUP has ‘helped over 6 million children improve learning and academic performance and learn valuable social and emotional skills that build personal resilience for a lifetime” (Hawn, 2018).

RISE. Last but not least, the RISE program serves institutions such as schools, healthcare and correctional facilities, and human services organizations all over North America to help them shift toward optimal performance. The module-based program continuously succeeds in ’empowering people and communities to realize their full potential through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga’ (“RISE,” 2018).  Similar to MindUP, RISE can be tailored to fit each organization’s personal goals and schedules. The RISE curriculum includes retreats at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health or on-site programs at each individual workplace. Programs are facilitated by RISE veterans within a three to five day period. Recent research conducted on RISE shows that the program is as ‘effective as cognitive-based stress-reduction programs in creating stress resilience, and more effective in reducing burnout and easing symptoms of secondary trauma” (“RISE,” 2018.)

All three mindfulness programs, along with several others, share certain qualities that make them the perfect teacher-friendly programs in guiding schools towards success. Through mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga, these programs instill the tools necessary to support resilience and superior performance within organizations. Undeniably, all three programs do an excellent job in helping schools implement wholesome practices.

References

Hawn, G. (2018). ‘A Message from our Founder and President.’ MindUP. 

Jennings, P. A. (2011). Promoting teachers’ social and emotional competencies to support performance and reduce burnout. In A. Cohan & A. Honigsfeld (Eds.) Breaking the Mold of Pre-service and In-service Teacher Education: Innovative and Successful Practices for the 21st Century. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

Meiklejohn, John, et al. “Integrating mindfulness training into K-12 education: Fostering the resilience of teachers and students.” Mindfulness 3.4 (2012): 291-307.

‘MindUP for Schools.’ (2018). MindUP.

‘MindUP at Home.’ (2018). MindUP. 

‘MindUP for Teachers.’ (2018). ]

‘RISE.’ (2018). Kripalau.

Weyns, Tessa, et al. (2017) “The role of teacher behavior in children’s relational aggression development: A five-wave longitudinal study.” Journal of School Psychology 64, 17-27.

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