Impact of a School-Based Mindfulness Intervention on Children’s Self Regulation
When schools recognize the importance of social-emotional learning and support young children’s self-regulation skills, students are also likely to see improvements in their academic potential. Youth who encounter the stressors of toxic stress and thus, who may have more challenges developing self-regulation competencies, may particularly benefit from classroom environments where self-regulation and coping skills are emphasized. The current study examined the impact of a school-based mindfulness program on self-regulation and mindfulness skills of 42 children in two fourth grade classrooms that were assigned to either a Mindfulness Group (n = 30) or to a Control Group (n = 12). The intervention group received 30-minute mindfulness lessons delivered by a trained facilitator once a week, for eight weeks. The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children-Alternate version was used at baseline to measure the incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Self-Control Regulation scale was completed by teachers to measure changes in self-regulation. The Child Adolescent and Mindfulness Measure was used to measure the children’s overall mindfulness score. The Brief Problem Monitor-Teacher was used to measure changes in the children’s behavior in the classroom as reported by teachers. Data were collected before (Time 1), at midpoint (Time 2) and one week following the end of the 8-week intervention (Time 3). Results indicated that the children in the mindfulness group demonstrated an increase in mindfulness skills, improvement in self-regulation, and increased positive behavior in the classroom compared to the control group. The study suggests the potential benefits of a school-based mindfulness intervention with underserved children facing complex trauma.