Mindfulness

Mindfulness at Mission Hill School
Over the past ten years there has been an enormous increase in secular applications of mindfulness, the practice of focusing our attention on our thoughts, feelings, and environment in the present moment. While the first wave of mindfulness-based programs (developed here in Massachusetts) were for adults, more recent efforts have targeted the well-being of children and adolescents. As a result, mindfulness programs in schools are becoming more and more widespread worldwide.

Students at Mission Hill School receive mindfulness instruction in their classroom. The classes are presented twice each week for two months. Classroom teachers participate in the mindfulness sessions, and may include mindfulness in their teaching. To date, five Mission Hill School teachers have been trained in the fundamentals of mindfulness.

Emotional Benefits


Mindfulness practice has been shown to be capable of addressing the problems of the young people in the following ways:

  • Improved well-being
  • Reduced worries, anxiety, distress, reactivity and bad behavior
  • Improved  sleep, self esteem
  • Greater calmness, relaxation, self-regulation and awareness

Adolescents who are mindful tend to experience greater well-being, and mindfulness correlates with:

  • Positive emotion
  • Popularity and friendship-extensiveness
  • Reduced negative emotion and anxiety

Cognitive Benefits


Mindfulness has also been shown to contribute directly to the development of cognitive and performance skills in children and teens. When children and young people learn to be more ‘present’ and less anxious, they often find they can pay attention better and improve the quality of their performance, in the classroom, on the sports field, and in the performing arts for example. They often become more focused, more able to approach situations from a fresh perspective, use existing knowledge more effectively, and pay attention.

Instructor


Betsy Caruso teaches mindfulness at Mission Hill. She has been associated with our school for over a decade, in program development and student support. Betsy is a graduate of Mindful Schools. You can reach her at bcaruso@missionhillschool.org.
Learn more about Mindful Schools and explore videos, including a typical mindfulness class.