As students across the nation return for Term Two, schools will be now able to access Australia’s first dedicated mindfulness curriculum thanks to a collaboration between leading educators, psychologists and mindfulness experts.
Led by the team behind Australian wellbeing and mindfulness meditation app Smiling Mind, the Mindfulness Curriculum has been designed to provide a framework and practical resource for the way teachers embed mindfulness in schools.
With up to 20 percent of Australian students currently disengaged at school, research shows that mindfulness can help young people develop the emotional, behavioural and attention regulation skills that set the crucial foundation for learning and train students to be better equipped for the pressures of adult life.
Smiling Mind CEO and one of the developers of the Curriculum, Dr Addie Wootten, said it was created in response to changing societal pressures on students and the subsequent impact on their wellbeing and learning.
“Research shows that one in five students are disengaged at school, and disengaged students are on average one to two years behind their peers,” Dr Wootten said.
“What’s more, our students are facing serious mental health issues, with one in seven primary aged students reporting mental health problems.”
Practising mindfulness has been shown to strengthen areas of the brain that control executive function and can lead to strong improvements in attention, reduced stress, anxiety and depression, and better academic skills, social skills and self-esteem.
A recent meta-analysis over 70 studies comparing more than 6,000 school-aged young people shows those who practised mindfulness showed greater performance in the following areas:
- Better emotion and behaviour regulation than 62 percent of non-practising students
- Better academic performance than 66 percent of non-practising students
- Lower depression and anxiety scores than 66 percent of non-practising students
- Better social skills than 64 percent of non-practising students
This meta-analysis also revealed mindfulness practice is associated with a 16 percent increase in academic performance and mental health for practising students relative to peers.
“We can’t underestimate how fundamental the skills that mindfulness can develop are in the learning process,” Dr Wootten said.
“Mindfulness helps students develop the very skills that promote better mental health and school engagement, as well as foundational skills of attention and concentration. Not only are these skills
essential for learning but they prepare our children to better manage with work-life challenges in the future.”
The Curriculum has been mapped to the Australian National Curriculum’s mandated personal and social capabilities for Years 1-6 and can be integrated into any social and emotional learning program. Many Australian schools are already taking an active role to address mental health issues in students through wellbeing programs, primarily composed of social and emotional learning curriculum. The
Smiling Mind Evidence-Based Mindfulness Curriculum provides a framework for teachers that is easy-to-use.
The curriculum includes practical resources that teachers can implement during lessons, along with classroom and take-home activities to be used in conjunction with the free Smiling Mind app.
Educators who are interested in implementing the Mindfulness Curriculum at their school can get additional information at www.smilingmind.com.au/the-mindfulness-curriculum
About Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is a 100% not-for-profit organisation that works to make mindfulness accessible to all. Mindfulness is a tool which people can use to enhance wellbeing. Our vision is to help every mind thrive, and our mission is to provide accessible life-long tools to support healthy minds. We want to live in a world where everyone has the skills and ability to manage life’s challenges and live to their full potential.
This starts with a healthy mind because this underpins our ability to live, learn and work in an increasingly complex, digitally connected and fast-paced world. As of today, we’re proudly in the pockets of more than 2.9 million people and trusted by over 40,000 educators who use our programs in their classroom.
**This article was provided through a newswire and does not express the views or opinions of 61-Bit.