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A school-based program of mindful awareness practices (MAPs) was evaluated in a randomized control study of 64 second- and third-grade children ages 7–9 years. The program was delivered for 30 minutes, twice per week, for 8 weeks. Teachers and parents completed questionnaires assessing children's executive function immediately before and following the 8-week period. Multivariate analysis of covariance on teacher and parent reports of executive function (EF) indicated an interaction effect between baseline EF score and group status on posttest EF. That is, children in the MAPs group who were less well regulated showed greater improvement in EF compared with controls. Specifically, those children starting out with poor EF who went through the MAPs training showed gains in behavioral regulation, metacognition, and overall global executive control. These results indicate a stronger effect of MAPs on children with executive function difficulties. The finding that both teachers and parents reported changes suggests that improvements in children's behavioral regulation generalized across settings. Future work is warranted using neurocognitive tasks of executive functions, behavioral observation, and multiple classroom samples to replicate and extend these preliminary findings.
Despite the crucial role of teachers in fostering children's academic learning and social–emotional well-being, addressing teacher stress in the classroom remains a significant challenge in education. This study reports results from a randomized controlled pilot trial of a modified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course (mMBSR) adapted specifically for teachers. Results suggest that the course may be a promising intervention, with participants showing significant reductions in psychological symptoms and burnout, improvements in observer-rated classroom organization and performance on a computer task of affective attentional bias, and increases in self-compassion. In contrast, control group participants showed declines in cortisol functioning over time and marginally significant increases in burnout. Furthermore, changes in mindfulness were correlated in the expected direction with changes across several outcomes (psychological symptoms, burnout, and sustained attention) in the intervention group. Implications of these findings for the training and support of teachers are discussed.
Self-regulatory abilities are robust predictors of important outcomes across the life span, yet they are rarely taught explicitly in school. Using a randomized controlled design, the present study investigated the effects of a 12-week mindfulness-based Kindness Curriculum (KC) delivered in a public school setting on executive function, self-regulation, and prosocial behavior in a sample of 68 preschool children. The KC intervention group showed greater improvements in social competence and earned higher report card grades in domains of learning, health, and social-emotional development, whereas the control group exhibited more selfish behavior over time. Interpretation of effect sizes overall indicate small to medium effects favoring the KC group on measures of cognitive flexibility and delay of gratification. Baseline functioning was found to moderate treatment effects with KC children initially lower in social competence and executive functioning demonstrating larger gains in social competence relative to the control group. These findings, observed over a relatively short intervention period, support the promise of this program for promoting self-regulation and prosocial behavior in young children. They also support the need for future investigation of program implementation across diverse settings.