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Smiling Mind

25 Oct 2018

Around 1 in 7 primary school aged children and 1 in 4 secondary school-aged children have mental health problems.
Research shows that mindfulness practice can help young people to develop emotion, behaviour and attention regulation skills. Those who practised mindfulness showed:

  • Better emotion and behaviour regulation than 62% of those who didn’t
  • Better academic performance than 66% of those who didn’t
  • Lower depression and anxiety scores than 66% of those who didn’t
  • Better social skills than 64% of those who didn’t

The use of mindfulness within the education sector is growing. Many schools are now starting to see the benefit of taking a positive, preventative approach to mental health and wellbeing and the foundation skills these approaches provide to children as they grow and develop. The research literature examining the effectiveness of mindfulness in the school setting is increasing, and there are many different approaches to the implementation of mindfulness programs. Unfortunately, teachers and school leaders are unsure about the most effective, evidence-based approach.

With this mounting evidence, the non-profit organisation, Smiling Mind, saw the need to provide practical and useful information to teachers and school leaders.

State Trustees Australia Foundation provided a grant of $53,600 to Smiling Mind through our Disadvantaged Children Grants Program in 2017. This funding was used to develop evidence-based guidelines to support school leaders and teachers to implement mindfulness in their schools.

The Guide aims to provide school leaders, teachers and other stakeholders who wish to implement mindfulness programs into their school learning environment with a clear and concise review of the evidence and existing best practice within education.

One of the contributors to the Guide, Associate Professor, Craig Hassed, said,“The world needs mindfulness; and in this fast-paced, stressed and distracted world, the children of today probably need it more than any previous generation. Mindfulness in schools should not be seen as an optional add-on, but it should be seen as the most important life-skill children can develop.”

In developing the Guide, Smiling Mind reviewed the different ways that mindfulness integrates into the learning environment, including the whole of school and targeted approaches to address specific issues. Partner experts from Monash University undertook an extensive review of the research literature. They also conducted a comprehensive qualitative analysis of current school practice in implementing mindfulness, interviewing ten schools around their current practice, the benefits and the challenges they have seen.

Smiling Mind is now sharing the Guide with schools and leading educators across the country to help them implement mindfulness programs into their school learning environments. Download a copy of the Guide here

Image credited to Mi Pham, Smiling Mind


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