The UK has for the first time invested public funds to study the benefits of mindfulness in the class room. Hundreds of children in the UK will be taught mindfulness among a range of innovative techniques with the aim of promoting good mental health, through one of the largest studies of its kind in the world (in terms of participant numbers). As reported in The New York Times this February, through this initiative, led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in partnership with University College London, a series of trials will see children from up to 370 schools learn mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises which aim to “to help them regulate their emotions”—alongside pupil sessions with mental health experts.
“As a society, we are much more open about our mental health than ever before, but the modern world has brought new pressures for children… these trials are key to improving our understanding of how practical, simple advice can help them cope.” –Damian Hinds, UK Secretary of State for Health
The Government’s current initiative builds on over a decade of grassroots work to bring mindfulness to schoolchildren across the UK. Thanks to independent curriculum innovators and enthusiastic champions at the school and local authority level, over 5,000 trained classroom teachers deliver mindfulness training in thousands of schools across the UK. Successive Secretaries of State for Education have recognized the potential for mindfulness training to improve well-being, cognitive skills, and academic performance, but until now they have been hesitant to put scarce resources behind a national program.
For more information, go to www.mindful.org
Photo credit: mindful.org