What are the Benefits of a Mindfulness Curriculum for Toddlers, Preschoolers and Grade schoolers?
There is a wealth of scientific research, from neuroscientists, to cognitive psychologists, to educators reporting that mindfulness training has proven benefits. Decades of research on empirically based mindfulness programs have consistently shown that children who received weekly lessons in mindfulness, even simple techniques taught at the toddler and preschool level, became better at sharing, had increased compassion and empathy, as well as increased optimism and overall happiness in the classroom, even months after the trainings. Neuroscience, too, has offered evidence in support of such mindfulness programs, reporting that brain training techniques (like how to focus on breathing, movement, and compassion) strengthen the areas of the brain that are responsible for attention, emotional control, and problem solving. Emerging evidence suggests that mindfulness-based brain training produces permanent structural changes in the brain. By offering a playful and developmentally appropriate, tailored program to toddlers and preschoolers, we set our children up to be the most receptive, conscious students they can be and provide the foundational tools for coping with stress and anxiety.
Emerging evidence indicates that mindfulness-based brain training produces permanent structural changes in the brain, suggesting that a developmentally appropriate breath, movement, mindfulness curriculum for toddlers and preschoolers can create Neural Pathways that set our children up for improved lifelong learning and coping skills.
What are the Benefits of a Yoga Program for Toddlers, Preschoolers and Grade Schoolers?
The BODY plays a critical role in learning and Yoga uniquely engages both mind and body in a way that optimizes the learning process. Yoga is a healthy form of physical activity with researched and proven long-term benefits.
Muscle memory is our strongest form of memory! By teaching mind-body emotional awareness, The Little Belly Breaths curriculum is designed to stimulate both the left and right side of the brain for enhanced comprehension and retention!
Mindfulness in Education: Research Highlights
BBC South Today on Monday, November 9, 2015. Meditation classes introduced into timetables
Hundreds of primary school children in Berkshire have had meditation classes introduced into their timetables. As Nikki Mitchell reports, the 'mindfulness' teaching aims to help them manage their own behaviour and anxieties, and improve their concentration. Click here for the VIDEO
Davidson, R. J., Dunne, J., Eccles, J. S., Engle, A., Greenberg, M., Jennings, P., . . . Vago, D. (2012). Contemplative practices and mental training: Prospects for American education. Child Development Perspectives, 6(2), 146-‐153.
This article draws on research in neuroscience, cognitive science, developmental psychology, and education, as well as scholarship from contemplative traditions concerning the cultivation of positive development, to highlight a set of mental skills and socioemotional dispositions that are central to the aims of education in the 21st century. These include self-‐regulatory skills associated with emotion and attention, self-‐representations, and prosocial dispositions such as empathy and compassion. It should be possible to strengthen these positive qualities and dispositions through systematic contemplative practices, which induce plastic changes in brain function and structure, supporting prosocial behavior and academic success in young people.
Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., & Davidson, R. J. (2015). Promoting prosocial behavior and self-‐regulatory skills in preschool children through a mindfulness-‐based kindness curriculum. Developmental Psychology, 51(1), 44-‐51.
Using a randomized controlled design, the present study investigated the effects of a 12-‐week mindfulness-‐based Kindness Curriculum (KC) in a sample of 68 preschool children. The KC intervention group showed greater improvements in social competence and earned higher report card grades in domains of learning, health, and social-‐emotional development, whereas the control group exhibited more selfish behavior over time. Interpretation of effect sizes overall indicate small to medium effects favoring the KC group on measures of cognitive flexibility and delay of gratification. Baseline functioning was found to moderate treatment effects, with KC children initially lower in social competence and executive functioning demonstrating larger gains in social competence relative to the control group.
Razza, R. A., Bergen-‐Cico, D., & Raymond, K. (2013). Enhancing preschoolers’ self-‐regulation via mindful yoga. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1062-‐1024.
This study evaluated the effectiveness of a mindfulness-‐based yoga intervention in promoting self-‐ regulation among preschool children (3–5 years old). Twenty-‐nine children (16 intervention and 13 control) participated in the yearlong study. The mindful yoga intervention was implemented regularly by the classroom teacher for the treatment group. Results from direct assessments indicated significant effects of the intervention across three indices of self-‐regulation. There was also some evidence that the children who were most at risk of self-‐regulation dysfunction benefited the most from the intervention.
Zelazo, P. D., & Lyons, K. E. (2012). The potential benefits of mindfulness training in early childhood: A developmental social cognitive neuroscience perspective. Child Development Perspectives, 6(2), 154-‐160.
Early childhood is marked by substantial development in the self-‐regulatory skills supporting school readiness and socioemotional competence. Mindfulness training—using age-‐appropriate activities to exercise children’s reflection on their moment-‐ to-‐moment experiences—may support the development of self-‐regulation by targeting top-‐down processes while lessening bottom-‐up influences (such as anxiety, stress, curiosity) to create conditions conducive to reflection, both during problem solving and in more
playful, exploratory ways.