Started in 2007 in Oakland, California by a small group of educators, social justice professionals, and mindfulness experts, Mindful Schools curriculum was specifically designed for underperforming, under-resourced public schools to manage the effects of toxic stress on students and faculty. The program teaches educators and students mindful breathing and body exercises, sensory awareness, and appreciation of thoughts and emotions. Grade-specific curricula are available for Pre-K–2, K-5, and 6–12 and are focused on stress management, emotion regulation, and interpersonal communication.
Each level has approximately 25-30 modules. Lessons are taught in 15-minute increments, 2-3 times per week. Each lesson includes discussions about incorporating mindfulness into daily life, and an optional 5-minute journaling period. Teacher manuals, student workbooks, program evaluations, and a professional online community and resource center come with each level.
Mindful Schools offers three separate trainings for teachers: Mindfulness Fundamentals, Mindful Educator Essentials, and Mindful Teacher Certification Program. (Trainings offer educator credits and mental health provider continuing education units.)
Mindfulness Fundamentals is a self-directed, online course that runs for six weeks. It covers mindfulness basics, mindfulness research, and brain science. It is a prerequisite for the more advanced educator trainings.
Mindful Educator Essentials trains educators in a K–12 mindfulness curriculum through a six-week, self-paced, online course. Once trained, teachers can use the curriculum in the classroom or in other youth-serving settings. Educators learn to use developmentally appropriate language to introduce mindfulness concepts and activities to different grade levels. Training also covers: mindfulness and neuroscience research related to youth, attention, and emotion; group facilitation and classroom management strategies; and advocacy resources.
Mindful Teacher Certification Program is a 300-hour, year-long, blended-learning certification program that starts and finishes with a residential retreat. It is for educators who want more intensive training in their personal mindfulness practice, and who want to learn more ways to teach experiential mindfulness curricula to various audiences in their schools and communities.
More than 50,000 educators, parents, and mental health professional have been trained by Mindful Schools, reaching over 3 million children in over 100 countries.
Mindful Schools has been featured in two documentaries, Room to Breathe (2012) and Healthy Habits of Mind (2014).
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