Our Mindfulness Director Model reflects how we would want to be taught mindfulness: by a deep practitioner who is dedicated to our community.
What is a Mindfulness Director?
A Mindfulness Director is an individual with deep mindfulness experience that a school hires to integrate mindfulness into their whole community, offering mindfulness to students, staff, and families. A Mindfulness Director is not an add-on or temporary position. Rather, a Mindfulness Director is an integral part of the school, building relationships and strengthening a culture of mindfulness year after year.
As committed and integrated members of their community, Mindfulness Directors are able to build a tailored mindfulness program that meets the needs of their community.
Why the Mindfulness Director Model is effective:
We match our partner schools with individuals who have deep expertise with mindfulness and youth in order to ensure schools hire a collaborative educator who is equipped to thoughtfully and skillfully weave mindfulness into the fabric of the school. We provide consistent professional development support to the Mindfulness Directors through community, coaching, curriculum and implementation support throughout the school year.
Mindfulness Directors have the time and flexibility to hold different mindfulness classes for all school community members—staff, students, and parents.
A Mindfulness Director becomes an integral part of their school community. Instead of an outside organization coming in to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to mindfulness, the Mindfulness Director tailors their programming to fit the specific needs of a partner school community. This process takes place over the course of many years, resulting in a robust, sustainable mindfulness program that ripples through all corners of the school.
Mindfulness and social emotional learning (SEL) are mutually reinforcing. While SEL emphasizes self-management, relational skills, and responsible decision making, mindfulness practices help lay the supporting groundwork in students’ brains and nervous systems. Specifically, mindfulness practices target the key skills of attentional control, self-awareness, emotional regulation, kindness, and empathy.
In practice, if students know SEL strategies, but they don’t have the attentional skills to pause and consider how they will respond to a triggering situation, then it will be difficult for them to change their behavior. The practice of mindfulness can give students the skills and tools they need.
Mindfulness helps us see our interconnectedness with others. It supports the work of equity and inclusion by strengthening our ability to recognize and question, with curiosity, the ways our minds, relationships, habits, and institutions are rooted in systems developed to justify the unfair distribution of resources. Through the practice of mindfulness, we refine the skills we need to work together to create new systems of relating—systems rooted in justice and kindness.
Teaching mindfulness to children and teens gives the next generation a way to relate to the present moment and each other with lovingkindness and care at its core. Mindfulness can empower young people to apply their skills of awareness in their communities and use them to accelerate the pace of social change.