Mindfulness is described as a process of paying attention to stimuli in the present moment, without judging or worrying about other issues. When practicing mindfulness, people try to concentrate on the present moment and try not to think about past issues or upcoming problems. Research suggests that mindfulness based interventions can help to reduce stress, manage emotions and help with cognitive tasks. In school aged students, research has found that mindfulness can help reduce disruptive behaviours including aggression and off-task behaviour.
Mindfulness interventions should be implemented by a trained and qualified professional, typically a clinical psychologist. Teachers and school staff can play an important role in referring students to appropriate internal or external services and by working closely with the psychologist to help implement and generalise the new skills to the classroom setting.
Teachers and school staff can speak with parents about options regarding mindfulness interventions, including referring to relevant practitioners when appropriate. Close collaboration with the psychologist will assist strategies to be implemented into the classroom setting for the student, allowing for generalisation and a reduction of the behaviour/s of concern. Observations and data collection may be of particular importance when establishing new strategies and new behavioural responses.
Mindfulness strategies have been used with children from 4 years of age through to adulthood.
- Preschool: Possibly
- P–2: Yes
- 3–6: Yes
- High school: Yes