Positive Parenting: Mindfulness in Schools Reduces Child Stress

Mindfulness training was once synonymous with yoga studios.

These days, even major corporations offer the training to employees.

Mindfulness practices involve focusing on the present and on breathing.

Now researchers like Tamar Mendelson at Johns Hopkins University are studying effects of this 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.

“A lot of these students are coming into school in a state of fight or flight,” Mendelson says.

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 us that they were better able to respond to stress with less emotional arousal,” Mendelson says.

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

At liberty, 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, it feels like I’m in a different universe,” says fifth grade student Marlon Holloway.

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

Mindfulness Instructor Emily Federowicz says what she teaching them can help change their lives.

“Having a tool for mindfulness, hopefully will stick with them for the rest of their life,” she says.

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