Every member of the school staff and student population deserves an environment where they can thrive.
With mindful awareness skills, educators can intentionally cultivate the abilities to feel more calm, connected, and centered in the demanding environment of the classroom. Equipped with tools and resources to implement these evidenced-based, actionable practices, educators learn to:
guide and co-regulate with youth
develop and model nourishing habits
foster an environment of safety and social and emotional literacy
positively impact the culture of the whole community
As adults nurture and plant seeds for healthy lifelong habits, it puts students in a better position to learn and achieve academically, and flourish as citizens, community members and our future leaders.
Learn how mindful awareness skills fit seamlessly into education priorities.
Social and Emotional Learning
Building social and emotional literacy isn't so different from learning math or the "a, b, c's." We have seen that when mindfulness concepts are made relatable and actionable, with regular practice, calmer and kinder school cultures are cultivated and sustained. When the needs of all school members are addressed using common practices and terminology, efficacy can be expedited proactively, positively enhancing the well-being of the whole community.
Today, we all agree that an education that focuses solely on cognitive skills while neglecting emotional intelligence and social competencies is incomplete. More than ever, thought leaders, classroom teachers and students alike who embody the knowledge and skills to manage emotions, connect with others compassionately and set positive goals, setting the stage for communities to thrive together. To respond to this imperative, evidenced-based social and emotional learning (SEL) curricula is being implemented worldwide. Growing Minds provides these foundational skills that boost efficacy of SEL programming. We begin by focusing on training the mind’s ability to pause in the moment, reflect to gain self-awareness and then choose behaviors intentionally. Learning to manage one's emotions skillfully is key to peacefully getting along with and successfully collaborating with others. Social awareness and social connectedness can be cultivated more readily once a person can regulate the body's stress response. Ultimately, mental and emotional clarity and interpersonal literacy are outcomes of a calmer, more spacious mind and safer, kinder communities.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support
Growing Minds is a preventative and proactive program that addresses PBIS Tier 1 student behavior. Know that the Growing Minds’ lessons have been designed to be fully inclusive of all students and faculty across educational contexts. As teachers, faculty, and administrators become familiar with the principles of mindfulness, they are able to integrate the practices into their classrooms and school community in ways that are authentic to their teaching and leadership styles and responsive to the needs of their particular students.
Pausing in an intentional way to ground one’s awareness and calm the nervous system is foundational to the practice of mindfulness. This habit of mind makes space for adults and kids alike to shift from reactive to responsive, accessing the parts of the brain responsible for predicting consequences of one’s actions, planning for the future, goal setting, decision making, impulse control, and executive functioning. With practice and repetition, every student and teacher can cultivate clarity throughout the day while laying the groundwork for long term emotional and interpersonal wellbeing.
Our philosophy is “practice in low stress environments so that these skills are available in high stress environments.” Our research-based outcomes include decreased negativity, overwhelm, and burnout, and enhanced perceptions of efficacy and purpose among teachers. Students benefit from improvements in focus and concentration, ability to manage stress, and increased compassion for self and others.
Other benefits which support academic goals include more teaching time resulting from fewer class disruptions, enhanced emotional safety, calmer transitions to and from classrooms and fewer conflicts between students. When integrated as a PBIS whole-school initiative, the benefits of a mindful educational environment positively shapes school climate.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Mindful awareness skills are unique in being able to help educators acknowledge their own biases in a structure that allows for conditioned patterns of inequities to be challenged. Unpacking uncomfortable and internalized predispositions can safely be done through mindfulness so educators can learn to understand their belief and behavior systems. Without confronting unconscious and internalized beliefs, unfair disciplinary habits will continue.
Moving from noticing one’s patterns to modifying one’s action has been broken down by Barbara Dray. Rather than interpreting or evaluating student behaviors, teachers can learn to step back and bring a metacognitive approach of observing and describing behavior, without the stereotypical judgments and interpretative biases. Mindfulness is that universal tool that provides unique awareness into one’s own patterns.
These mindful tactics contribute to lasting change in an environment where additional structural and systematic changes are being addressed.
Professional Development Plans
Professional Development Plans play a critical role in the continuing growth of K-12 educators. Content relating to creating safe and supportive relationships in the classroom top the list of courses taken by educators. With the growing Minds’ goal being “to create calm classrooms and caring schools”, we fall into the sweet spot of professional development, providing concepts and skills for both adults and youth.
Integrating the Growing Minds’ Foundations of Mindfulness training and our Growing Minds’ Curriculum training is a scaffolded plan for those who want to receive guidance in differentiating instruction, developing social and emotional learning and supporting diversity and inclusion.
With the goal of building culturally and emotionally responsive classrooms and a stronger sense of belonging and connection, educators will have skills for greater personal efficacy, and a happier classroom environment. Our outcomes reflect that participants rate our content extremely high and integrate what they learn into their own life and in their classroom. Of participants who choose to take our courses, 99.7% say they enjoyed our training. For those who were conscripted, 91% say they enjoy our classes. We’re proud!
See for Yourself
Mindfulness in Milwaukee Public Schools Milwaukee Public Schools, May 2017
This wonderful video showcases some of the Milwaukee Public Schools that Growing Minds has worked with and allows the school administrators and students to discuss how mindfulness is used in their schools and benefits their staff and students.