Mindful Schools Expands to Provide Mindfulness Training to Organizations and Educators Serving Children and Adolescents

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Mindfulness and emotional intelligence gain new ground in education

Children in an Oakland Classroom Practicing Mindfulness

Children in an Oakland Classroom Practicing Mindfulness

Mindful Schools (http://www.mindfulschools.org), a non-profit organization whose mission is to integrate mindfulness into education, is expanding its training offerings to support educators, parents, and youth service providers serving adolescents in addition to children.

For the last two decades, the landscape of modern education has been profoundly affected by research into the neuroscience of attention and emotion. It is now widely acknowledged that children require programs that develop their social and emotional intelligence as well as their ability to regulate stress, attention and emotion.

There is currently a new generation of research and educational interventions that focus on mindfulness training as the baseline skill for developing focused attention and emotional and behavioral regulation. Cost-effective and easy to implement in a public school environment, mindfulness programs are quickly gaining ground in schools around the U.S.

Mindfulness-based programming is increasingly acting as a “counter-measure” to the epidemic of attention and behavior-related disorders plaguing children and adolescents in the U.S., as well the over-prescription of pharmaceutical interventions to manage these disorders.

Mindful Schools (http://www.mindfulschools.org) is a non-profit organization that provides training for educators, parents, school psychologists, and youth service organizations to learn mindfulness and how to teach it to children and youth from grades K-12. Over 30,000 children have learned concentration, attention, and empathy from Mindful Schools staff and their trainees. Over 2,000 people in 37 U.S. states and 20 countries have taken Mindful Schools courses, which are available both online and in person. Learn more and register for upcoming courses at http://www.mindfulschools.org.

The Mindful Schools teaching team of Megan Cowan, Chris McKenna, and Vinny Ferraro brings together over 44 years of personal mindfulness practice, several years’ worth of silent retreat time, and deep experience teaching mindfulness to adults and children of all ages and backgrounds.

Megan Cowan has taught more than 3500 youth of all ages, is the subject of the new mindfulness & education documentary "Room to Breathe," and is the primary author of Mindful Schools' evidence-based elementary school curriculum.

Chris McKenna directed the main organization in the U.S. delivering mindfulness programming to at-risk adolescents and co-developed one of the first mindfulness training programs targeting the needs of staff in locked facilities serving youth with histories of substance abuse and violence.

Vinny Ferraro is a former homeless youth, a long-time mindfulness instructor, and a nationally recognized leader in designing and implementing interventions for at-risk adolescents. He has taught over 110,000 youth on four continents via his work as Challenge Day's Director of Training and was the subject of the MTV series "If You Really Knew Me…."

Mindful Schools combines this breadth of teaching experience with mindfully applied Silicon Valley product management expertise, brought by Executive Director Randima Fernando, and program support from Training Coordinator Christina Costelo.

Randima (Randy) Fernando was a product manager for several award-winning projects over 7 years at NVIDIA Corporation (Forbes Magazine's 2007 Company of the Year), where he also served as an inaugural NVIDIA Foundation board member. He has successfully managed large projects and has worked on all aspects of product development, from technical aspects to public relations and marketing.

Christina Costelo has worked in education for 9 years in a variety of settings, including as a Program Director, Camp Director, and program quality assessor. She has managed academic programming and written curricula for elementary and middle school students in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Mountain View.

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Research-Backed Curriculum

In the 2011-12 school year, Mindful Schools partnered with the University of California, Davis to test their curriculum with the largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness and children, involving 915 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public elementary schools. The Mindful Schools curriculum produced statistically significant improvements in behavior versus the control group with just 4 hours of mindfulness instruction for the students–a very small, low-cost dose. Additional information about the study is available at http://www.mindfulschools.org/about-mindfulness/research/.

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Room to Breathe Documentary

Mindful Schools Program Director Megan Cowan is featured in a new documentary called “Room to Breathe,” a surprising story of transformation as struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation. Learn more at http://www.roomtobreathefilm.com.

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For More Information

http://www.mindfulschools.org [Mindful Schools Web Site]
http://www.facebook.com/MindfulSchools [Mindful Schools on Facebook]
http://www.twitter.com/Mindful_Schools [Mindful Schools on Twitter]

Parties interested in writing articles or generating other media coverage should contact Randy Fernando, Mindful Schools Executive Director, at 510-535-6746 or email randy(at)mindfulschools(dot)org.

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