What is mindfulness? In MPS, we define mindfulness as the "purposeful awareness of our thoughts, emotions, physical feelings, and environment in the present moment, without judgment."
Mindfulness is a research-based practice that helps improve students'
- academic performance,
- academic task completion,
- pro-social behavior,
Mindfulness also has been shown to decrease
- anxiety/depression and
- externalizing behaviors such as aggression, threatening others, or hyperactivity.
There are two areas of mindfulness. The informal practice involves focusing on being in the moment with everyday activities, including driving to work, answering emails, taking a test, lining up to go to recess, etc. Being mindful in the everyday moments can help you avoid becoming overstressed.
The other area of mindfulness is the formal practice, which means taking specific time to engage in a mindfulness activity. This could include breathing exercises, morning check-ins, mindful movement exercises, kindness practices, body scans, sensory guided practices, or yoga.
There are a variety of mindfulness strategies, approaches, and practices that can be used, which means that mindfulness looks different in all schools and even in individual classrooms. Teachers and staff choose what is most appropriate for each group of students within the classroom and that fits with the school culture and the community.
In MPS, mindfulness is being done within our multi-tiered system of support, also called PBIS. Some of the mindfulness practices that can be incorporated within the classroom as part of regular routines include mindful breathing, position, listening, awareness, appreciation, journaling, compassion, and perspective taking.
Tier 1 supports are offered to all students. For mindfulness, these supports could include morning check-ins, visuals throughout the school, mindful lessons for students, and using mindful practices and mindful language throughout the day.
Tier 2 supports are for those students who have already received Tier 1 supports and need greater support. For mindfulness, this could include adding a mindful practice such as a breathing practice into check-in/check-out (CICO) or social academic instructional groups (SAIG).
Tier 3 supports are for students who have already received the supports at Tier 1 and Tier 2 but are still in need of greater support. These are the most intense supports and are usually provided one-on-one. All of these supports along the continuum are layered on top of each other to ensure that all students receive the full support they need.