Mindfulness for children: app in schools

In recent decades, the rise the use of mindfulness techniques has proven to be effective in clinical psychology, Obtaining favorable results in the intervention of psychopathologies such as depression, anxiety or chronic pain.

In the child population, there has been an increase in the level of stress experienced in the school environment (Currie et al., 2002, Lohausy Ball, 2006; Card and Hodges, 2008) and prevalence rates for certain serious psychopathologies. Around 20% in the United States (Merikangas et al., 2010).

So much so that not only has mindfulness continued to be used for children for this purpose, but it has been extended for preventive purposes by being used on boys and girls alike. improved academic performance and emotional well-being. Recent research shows a correlation between increasing attention span and concentration and the regular practice of mindfulness techniques.

Derived from all this, it is essential to determine to what extent these scientific discoveries are assumed (and to what extent) in the educational context both national and international and, therefore, how their implementation in schools of different country.

Mindfulness for children and schools

In Almansa et al (2014), it is noted that the increase in the attention deficit of the school population over the last decades is very significant.

According to data from FEDAH, ADHD affects between 2 and 5% of the infant population, 50% of the clinical population of this vital strip. For this reason, observations made by educators or relatives about the increased state of nervousness, distraction and distraction in children are very common today.

The practice of Mindfulness for children in the educational field can be very useful in improving this difficulty, so it is very relevant to analyze the result of research that has been devoted to the study of the relationship between the two phenomena. In previous research it has been observed how mindfulness brings psychological benefits in the individual in relation to changes in mental activity experienced after diligent practice of mindfulness.

To date, there seems to be a general consensus on the positive effects the use of mindfulness becomes in the field of education. Specifically, the benefits indicate improved academic performance, self-conception and interpersonal relationships, as well as a reduction in aggression and violence.

The three areas where the most satisfactory results were found correspond to improving physical and psychological health, strengthening attention span and promoting a sense of personal well-being in general.

Applying Mindfulness Programs to Education

An interesting exhibition is that carried out by Mañas et al. (2014) on a selection of mindfulness programs with a high level of scientific rigor that supports them, which already have an important trajectory at the practical level in the field of education, both nationally and internationally. They are as follows:

On a national level

In the Spanish context, these are the main mindfulness programs for boys and girls in schools.

1. TREVA experiential relaxation techniques applied in the classroom program (López González 2009)

It consists of twelve units of content, one of which is mindfulness. The results show how program application correlates positively with student relaxation competence, classroom climate, emotional competence and academic performance.

2. Good Classrooms Program (Arguis, Bosses, Hernández and Salvador 2010)

It focuses on the content of positive psychology for nursery, primary and secondary school students. Comprehensive conscious attention is worked to improve conscious capacity, calmness, decreased automatisms, and empowerment of emotional development.

3. Educate with Co-Reason (Toro 2005)

It is a set of procedures which, without directly using mindfulness techniques, the philosophy on which it is based derives from this phenomenon (Breathing or body awareness).

4. PINEP – Comprehensive Emotional Intelligence Training Program (Ramos, Recondos and Enríquez 2008)

A program that has proven the effectiveness of mindfulness as a tool to improve life satisfaction and emotional reality, empathy, attention, and less intrusive thinking in pre-teens.

At an international level

Beyond Spain, the following programs stand out.

1. INNER KIDS PROGRAM (United States, 2002)

For elementary school children. It’s called The New ABCs (Attention, Balance and Compassion). The objectives are to promote awareness of internal experience (thoughts, emotions and physical sensations), external experience (people, places and things) and awareness of individual experiences together, although not mixed.

The program consists of 2 weekly sessions of 30 minutes and has a duration of 8 weeks. Seniors run the program for 12 weeks and with 45-minute sessions. Among the methodological peculiarities, the game is mainly used, as well as other practical-fun activities and lessons.

Susan Kaiser, author of The Mindful Kids and co-founder of the Inner Kids Foundation, published an article in 2010 entitled A Mindful revolution in education in which she mentions a number of aspects related to the application of mindfulness in classroom.

According to Kaiser, there are conditions to be met, namely: paying clear attention to internal and external experiences; to know how to tolerate the emotional discomfort it generates and to observe the heart of our own crises, to be able to respond with compassion and kindness towards oneself and others, mainly. this author offers seven principles to consider when implementing mindfulness in the classroom: Motivation, perspective, simplicity, fun game, integration, collaboration, strategy.

2. INTERNAL RESILIENCE PROGRAM (USA 2004)

Intended for primary school students and teachers, parents and administrators. This program focuses on learning social and emotional learning through contemplative practices. Includes recess, personal development workshops, stress reduction sessions and parenting workshops.

In it, the emphasis is on the theme of neuroplasticity, that is, changes produced in the circuits and anatomy of the brain by training in attentional skills, emotional calm, awareness, insight and care for others.

3. LEARN TO BREATHE (USA 2007)

Its main objective is prevention in adolescents where the content of social and emotional learning through the program Awareness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in adolescents. It also includes components of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Its more specific objectives are: to teach mindfulness and provide general well-being; improve emotional self-regulation; improve attention; acquire skills in stress management; and integrate mindfulness into everyday life.

the program lasts 6 sessions of 30 to 45 min. The contents that make up the program consist of the work of: body awareness, understanding of thoughts, understanding of emotions, integration of thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations, reduction of judgments and integration of mindfulness into the mind.

4. MINDFULNESS IN SCHOOL PROJECTS (MiSP) (England 2008)

Centered in the adolescent population between 14 and 18 years old. This initiative is based on the MBSR-C and MBCT models and includes as main components: Mindfulness of Breathing, Body Awareness (BodyScan), Conscious Eating Practice, Conscious Body Movements, Body Movements thoughts and sounds and mindfulness. send text messages.

It lasts 9 weeks and has recently been manipulated to intervene with the childish population with very anxious functioning (Semple and Lee 2011). This program provides explicit advice and guidance for parents to get involved in the development of the program. The parents participated in the treatment.

The MBSR-T is an adaptation of the MBSR for adolescents, in which aspects such as the frequency and duration of the sessions and certain specific contents have been modified to increase its effectiveness, taking into account the specificity of the adolescent stage in terms of interpersonal relationships. and performance challenges. (Biegel et al in 2009, Biegel 2009).

5. MINDFUL SCHOOLS (USA 2007)

It is intended for primary and secondary students and is applied in California structurally in 41 schoolss, mainly with limited resources. It consists of 15 sessions spread over 8 weeks and consists of the elements: mindfulness of sounds, breathing, body, emotions, generosity, appreciation, kindness and care. The content is also intended for parents (face-to-face sessions and material manual).

6. MINDUP (USA 2003)

Its target is the group of primary school students and is integrated into the school curriculum. it consists of 15 lessons that work on: social and emotional awareness, improving general well-being, promoting academic success in school.

As a special feature, focuses on the practice of conscious breathing, It is therefore necessary to carry out exercises dedicated to this area 3 times a day.

7. STAF HAKESHEV “The Mindulness Language” (Israel 1993)

This pioneering initiative was intended for students aged 6 to 13, parents and teachers. The objectives of the intervention are oriented towards the work of body awareness and body-mind practices to achieve consolidation: the development of cognitive and emotional skills, the enhancement of attention and awareness of the experience, and acquisition as a habit of rest optimize cognitive learning.

The specific content includes activities related to breathing, knowledge of the physical limits of the body, bodily sensations, postures and movements of sounds, emotions and visualization processes.

8. ALWAYS QUIET PLACE (USA 2001)

It is aimed at primary, secondary, teachers and parents. This program focuses on the development of mindfulness awareness for learn to react consciously (rather than react), promote peace and happiness.

It deals with breathing, body movements, thoughts, emotions, loving kindness, walking, yoga exercises, practicing mindfulness in daily life, and strategies for acquiring the ability to react consciously. It lasts 8 weeks, which are structured weekly with a duration of between 45 and 90 minutes.

9. STRESSED ADOLESCENTS (USA 2004)

It has been offered for adolescents aged 13 to 18. consists of an adaptation of the MBSR adapted to the adolescent population MBSR for Teens. Its main elements are related to Body Meditation, Walking Meditation, Sitting Meditation, Heartful Sitting Meditation, Yoga, Mindful Stopping and Consciousness to Work at Home. It covers 8 weeks of practice and is practiced for 1.5 or 2 ha per week.

10. SCHOOL WELL-BEING WORK (USA 2004)

It is performed with adolescents between 13 and 18 years old. Objectives: stress management, mental health, emotional balance, behavior, good disposition to learn. It is a program of 8 to 15 sessions of 45 to 50 minutes each. It explores emotions, intentions, goals, resilience, and problem-solving skills.

11. BREATHE – CONSCIOUSNESS FOR WELL-BEING AT SCHOOL (Colombia)

Its central objectives are linked to improving the socio-emotional learning and well-being of teachers and students and to acquire an improvement in the peaceful coexistence of young people and children victims of armed violence. It is a multi-component program that focuses on working with teachers so that they can then pass it on to the classroom. Families are also involved in the community.

The RESPIRA program is in the pilot and evaluation phase in Bogotá and Tumaco, so there is still little information on the scientifically validated end results.

Bibliographical references:

  • Gallego, J., Aguilar, JM, Cangas, AJ, Langer, A. and Mañas, I. (2014). Effect of a mindfulness program on stress, anxiety and depression in students. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 17, 1-6.
  • J. Davidson, Richard; Dunne, John; Eccles, Jacquelynne S .; Engle, Adam; Greenberg, Mark; Jennings, Patricia; Jha, Amishi; Jinpa, Thupten; Lantieri, Linda; Meyer, David; Roeser, Robert W .; Vago, David (2012). “Contemplative Practices and Mental Formation: Perspectives for American Education”. Child Development Outlook (2): 146-153.
  • Mañas, I., Franco, C., Gil, MD and Gil, C. (2014). Conscious education: mindfulness in education. Conscious educators train conscious human beings. In Alliance of Civilizations, Migration Policies and Education (197-233). Seville: Aconcagua Books.
  • Mañas, I., Franco, C., Cangas, AJ and Gallego, J. (2011). Increased academic performance, improved self-concept and reduced anxiety in high school students through a mindfulness training program. Meetings in Psychology, 28, 44-62.
  • Zenner, C., Herrnleben-Kurz S. and Walach, H. (2014). Mindfulness-based interventions in schools: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Institute for Transcultural Health Studies, Viadrina European University, Frankfurt Oder (Germany). June 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 603, Frontiers in psychology.
  • Zoogman, Goldberg SB, Hoyt, WT & Miller, L. (2014) Mindful Interventions with Youth: A Meta-Analysis. Mindfulness, Springer Science (New York).

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