St. George’s School
Mindfulness, Attention, and Emotional Regulation
RSI collaborated with a group of teachers at St. George’s School to carry out a mixed methods study to explore how a mindfulness intervention shaped students’ attention and emotional regulation. Teachers participating in the study used the first 2 – 5 minutes of each class to conduct a mindfulness practice with their students in grades 9 – 12 for a period of three weeks. Using online surveys, RSI researchers collected data from students on their ability to focus their attention and regulate their emotions.
Results show that students found the mindfulness practices quite helpful for focusing their attention. The average amount of time it took students to focus dropped significantly after their experience with the mindfulness practices. Reflecting on the mindfulness practices, one student notes, "It was a good way of focusing my mind on the task at hand. It forces me to remember what my sole purpose of going to school is and why I should work hard." Another student enthusiastically explains, "It was like putting everything that I was thinking aside [so I could] focus on class!!!"
The mindfulness practices were also an effective tool for helping students regulate their emotions, particularly in dealing with stress and anxiety. Regarding the impact of mindfulness practices on stress, one student remarks, "It helped lessen the stress level for later since focusing about what is stressing you out for a short period of time helps with preventing short bursts of stress randomly in the day," while another explains, "I learned that sitting in silence and concentrating on my breathing really calmed me down, took anxiety away and got me ready for class."
Pine Village Preschool
Pine Village Preschool is dedicated to supporting mindfulness among members of its school community. To this end, they are working with RSI to encourage practices that promote mindfulness among students and educators at the school.
All students at Pine Village Preschool receive the Conscious Discipline program, which uses breathing techniques to support mindfulness and social-emotional balance. In this program, students learn specific strategies for regulating their emotions. Watch a short video of a Pine Village preschool student demonstrating a series of breathing techniques students learn to use when they feel sad, mad, or frustrated.
To engage educators at Pine Village Preschool in mindfulness, RSI offered a mindfulness program for educators at the school. Educators who participated in the course engaged in monthly mindfulness sessions over a period of three months. Each session had a specific area of focus: session one introduced mindfulness as a tool for self-awareness, session two focused on mindfulness as it relates to compassion toward self and others, and session three presented mindfulness as a way to enhance attention by increasing awareness of one’s environment. To evaluate the impact of this course, RSI conducted a qualitative research study. Results suggest that the program helped educators gain self-awareness, regulate their emotions, and stay present. Moreover, educators report that the program had a positive impact on their relationships with colleagues and students.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology-Science And Practice, 10(2), 144-156.
Kabat-Zinn, J., 2003.