Ed Neuroscience

Mindfulness in the classroom: The benefits of mindfulness training in schools

Mindfulness is the art of being present in the moment and calming the mind. A wealth of research supports the idea that mindfulness training has beneficial impacts on children’s learning and health, and many believe in its importance for inclusion in educational programs. In this article, we will review some of these benefits and outline how to bring mindfulness training in schools.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment. Mindfulness has its roots in Eastern spirituality and Buddhism. It encourages us to detach from their individuality and focus on their interconnectedness with the rest of the world.

When practicing mindfulness, we also calmly observe and accept their feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as they happen in a non-judgmental manner. Meaning, we simply acknowledge our thoughts and feelings.

For example, imagine I give you a bowl of popcorn and have you snack on it for a few minutes. With your eyes closed, I ask you to focus on the taste, smell, and texture of each popcorn, and pay attention to the sensations in the mouth and the body. By being quiet in the moment and observing these sensations, you become more in touch with the present moment and with your own experience.

Benefits of mindfulness for children and students

Mindfulness has been gaining popularity as a tool for promoting well-being and reducing stress and has been the subject of intense research over the last few decades. In addition, it is often advocated for practice in classrooms to students and children to increase achievement and success.

Studies have found that mindfulness has a positive impact on students' mental health and well-being. Large-scale meta-analytic studies have found that practicing mindfulness can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve overall emotional regulation and resilience. Evidence from 61 school-based mindfulness interventions with over 6,000 students also show that mindfulness training can improve cognitive and socio-emotional factors.

For example, one study examined whether a mindfulness training program could reduce stress, anxiety, and depression risk in a group of students. Researchers exposed one group of subjects to a mindfulness training program and control groups. Results showed that the group of students who received mindfulness training had the highest decrease on the variables assessed. This means that students who received mindfulness training had the most benefit and showed decreased scores in stress, anxiety, and depression scores.

Additionally, mindfulness has been linked to improved attention, focus, and memory, as well as reduced impulsiveness and impulsiveness. One study conducted a 24-week mindfulness training program to first, second, and third grade students. The training consisted of different exercises that targeted breathwork, sensorimotor awareness, and body scan awareness. The mindfulness training was administered to one group of students, while a control group did not receive training. Results showed that the group of students who received the training had improved selective attention than the control group. These results suggest mindfulness-based practices can help children be more focused and pay attention to relevant information.

Other studies found that mindfulness improves scores on working memory performance. Working memory is our ability to hold several things in mind for the short term. One study found that parents reported children who had initially scored low on working memory capacity improved their scores following mindfulness training. This suggests that mindfulness can improve memory functions, which are important for children to train from early on.

Finally, mindfulness can be an effective tool for promoting academic success. Studies have found that mindfulness can improve cognitive control, motivation, and learning outcomes, as well as reduce stress and anxiety related to academic performance. For example, one study found that an 8-week mindfulness-based psychoeducation program improved academic achievement, while other studies have found that practicing mindfulness decreases feelings of test or exam anxiety students frequently face.

Mindfulness can also help create a positive school culture. A culture of mindfulness can foster a sense of community and compassion among students while reducing bullying and aggression. Incorporating mindfulness into the classroom can also help teachers create a more supportive and respectful learning environment, where students feel valued and heard.

Moreover, mindfulness has been shown to enhance creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, making it an important tool for preparing students for a wide range of tasks and issues.

How to bring mindfulness to the classroom

Due to the positive benefits associated with mindfulness training, many researchers and educators support its inclusion in the classroom. Mindfulness can easily be incorporated into classroom learning in several ways.

Because of the positive benefits associated with mindfulness training, many researchers and educators have supported the inclusion of mindfulness in the classroom. Mindfulness in the classroom and mindfulness training in schools can easily be incorporated into classroom learning in several ways.

Teachers can encourage students to engage in mindfulness exercises such as deep breathing and relaxation. This encourages children to focus on the present moment, as well as calm down and decrease stress. Deep breathing exercises have also been associated with a wide range of cognitive improvements, such as improved motor skills and memory, and improved decision-making.

Another technique teachers can utilize is called body scan. Body scan is a mindfulness-based technique in which you focus on your body for signs of tension or pain. Research shows that it has many benefits such as improvements in chronic pain.

Teachers can encourage students to practice body scan for 5 minutes a day. This will help children feel more connected with their body and bring awareness to any potential issues or pains they may be having.

Other recommended ways to bring mindfulness into the classroom involve supplementing lesson plans with mindfulness exercises. For example, this involves asking children to focus on their breathing techniques during physical education courses or to focus on sensory experiences during math or biology courses. Teachers can also prompt students to reflect on their thoughts or reactions to course material during other classes, like social studies or language.

Research has shown that providing these moments for mindfulness throughout the school day can help children make more connections between learning material, increase transfer of skills, and help students understand themselves better.

Tips for parents and educators

  • Encourage students to take 5-10 minutes a day to engage in one or two mindfulness-based practices, such as body scan or breathing. This will help children respond better to stress, improve cognitive functioning, and improve mental health.
  • If a student is stressed out or nervous, try a deep breathing exercise that will help them calm down.


Bakken, Linda, Nola Brown, and Barry Downing. "Early childhood education: The long-term benefits." Journal of research in Childhood Education 31, no. 2 (2017): 255-269.

Britto, P. R., Lye, S. J., Proulx, K., Yousafzai, A. K., Matthews, S. G., Vaivada, T., ... & Lancet Early Childhood Development Series Steering Committee. (2017). Nurturing care: promoting early childhood development. The Lancet, 389(10064), 91-102.

Brown TT, Jernigan TL. Brain development during the preschool years. Neuropsychol Rev. 2012 Dec;22(4):313-33. doi: 10.1007/s11065-012-9214-1. Epub 2012 Sep 25. PMID: 23007644; PMCID: PMC3511633.

Browne, C., & Winkelman, C. (2007). The effect of childhood trauma on later psychological adjustment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(6), 684-697.

DiGirolamo, A. M., Ochaeta, L., & Flores, R. M. M. (2020). Early childhood nutrition and cognitive functioning in childhood and adolescence. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 41(1_suppl), S31-S40.

Dye, H. (2018). The impact and long-term effects of childhood trauma. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 28(3), 381-392.

Hatch, J. A. (2010, June). Rethinking the relationship between learning and development: Teaching for learning in early childhood classrooms. In The Educational Forum (Vol. 74, No. 3, pp. 258-268). Taylor & Francis Group.

Tierney AL, Nelson CA 3rd. Brain Development and the Role of Experience in the Early Years. Zero Three. 2009 Nov 1;30(2):9-13. PMID: 23894221; PMCID: PMC3722610.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.