How can educators introduce mindfulness in schools?

“Our kids are going to be facing challenges that we really can’t even imagine today,” Tish Jennings notes at this year’s¬†Bridging the Hearts & Minds of Youth conference. Jennings works at the Prevention Research Center at Penn State University and she’s worked in education since the 1980s. She argues that mindfulness could be the critical key for preparing kids for the future. So, how do we bring mindfulness into education for the long term? Jennings lays out five things that need to happen first.

1. Recognize the situation that exists in public education today. Avoid coming in to teach mindfulness to kids in schools without being extremely careful and respectful of the school’s responsibilities.

2. Build a strong evidence base. When it comes to making the case for bringing mindfulness into education, personal experience and anecdotal information about the benefits aren’t going to cut it.

3. Understand developmentally appropriate practices. Don’t assume what’s practiced by adults will work for children, too.

4. Integrate mindfulness into the¬†existing curriculum. If these programs are going to be successful, they can’t just be offered as add-ons by third parties.

5. Engage teachers and parents. The best way to teach is it to practice it yourself.

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Learn more about introducing mindfulness in schools with the 2013 Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth conference videos.