I am a firm believer that bringing mindfulness to schools benefits the whole school environment. The Mindfulness in Schools programme has created specific courses for children from age 7-11 and another for 11-18 year olds.

A growing body of research evidence now points to the effectiveness of using mindfulness in schools to achieve a range of benefits for both pupils and staff.

Teachers who are stressed may find it more difficult to be effective communicators in the classroom, leading to lower quality lessons and engagement with their pupils. Students who are stressed are less receptive to learning and may be more disruptive in class which affects the learning experience for all.

Mindfulness is the practice of placing your attention on what you are experiencing physically and mentally in the present moment, without judgement. It can be particularly helpful in the classroom to help children to be able to remain focused and productive during their lessons.

Mindfulness projects in schools may be delivered in a number of ways. Schools might engage a qualified external practitioner to run mindfulness sessions for their pupils, for example.

However, a more efficient use of a school’s budget and long-term approach is to engage a practitioner to train the teachers, who are then able to take a short conversion course to teach mindfulness to pupils in the classroom.

This is much more cost effective for schools and ensures that the benefits of mindfulness can be passed on year after year by the teachers.

According to research conducted by Katherine Weare (2014) at the University of Exeter, mindfulness sessions offer the following benefits for teaching staff:

  • reductions in stress, burnout and anxiety, including a reduction in days off work and feelings of task and time pressure, improved ability to manage thoughts and behaviour, an increase in coping skills, motivation, planning and problem solving, and taking more time to relax.
  • better mental health including less distress, negative emotion, depression and anxiety.
  • greater wellbeing, including life satisfaction, self-confidence, self-efficacy, selfcompassion and sense of personal growth.
  • increased kindness and compassion to others, including greater empathy, tolerance, forgiveness and patience, and less anger and hostility.
  • better physical health, including lower blood pressure, declines in cortisol (a stress hormone) and fewer reported physical health problems.
  • increased cognitive performance, including the ability to pay attention and focus, make decisions and respond flexibly to challenges.
  • enhanced job performance, including better classroom management and organisation, greater ability to prioritise, to see the whole picture, to be more self-motivated and autonomous, to show greater attunement to students’ needs, and achieve more supportive relationships with them.
  • enhanced concentration, focus and planning skills
  • reduced anxiety and stress; particularly helpful for coping with exams
  • greater awareness of relationships and how to manage them
  • improved self-esteem and optimistic outlook
  • greater control over impulsive behaviours

In particular the impact of mindfulness projects in schools appears to be particularly strong on mental health problems (Zoogman, et al, 2014) and on learning and academic achievements (Zenner et al, 2014):

Presence of Mind works with schools across Enfield, Barnet and other London boroughs to bring mindfulness training to school staff. We offer taster sessions so that interested staff can gain an initial appreciation of the techniques and experience the benefits for themselves. We will then follow this up with an 8-week mindfulness training course (MSBR) which will equip teachers with their own practice and mean they can take the short conversion course.

To find out more, please get in touch via our contact form or call Lucy on 07711 000315

Weare, K. (2014) “Evidence for Mindfulness: Impacts on the Wellbeing and Performance of School Staff” Mindfulness in Schools Project 1-23

Zenner, C. Herrnleben-Kurz, S. and Walach, H. (2014) “Mindfulness-based interventions in schools—a systematic review and meta-analysis”. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00603

Zoogman, S., Simon B., Goldberg, S., Hoyt, W and Miller, L. (2014) “Mindfulness interventions with youth: A meta-analysis”. Mindfulness DOI 10.1007/s12671-013-0260-4.

Lucy Woods delivered an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course for thirteen members of school staff (a mixture of teaching and support staff). Lucy was thoughtful, knowledgeable and engaging throughout the course and had the ability to apply Mindfulness to everyday situations.

Lucy created an honest, relaxed and trusting environment which encouraged all members of the group to share their feelings and any concerns. The staff who attended the course have fed back that they are more focused on what we are doing, are more aware of when their thoughts start to wander and spend less time going over and over the same problem.

A great success, I would recommend Lucy without hesitation.” Simon Pashley, Deputy Head Pastoral Care, The Latymer School

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