“Let's keep calm and breathe”—A mindfulness meditation program in school and its effects on children's behavior and emotional awareness: An Australian pilot study

Peta Stapleton*, Joseph Dispenza, Angela Douglas, Nguyen Thuy Van Dao, Sarah Kewin, Kyra Le Sech, Anitha Vasudevan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This study aimed to understand how mindfulness meditation affects young people by examining its impact on self-regulation, happiness, emotional awareness, and school performance among two groups of school children. A 10-week mindfulness program was conducted by a meditation expert for 552 children aged 4–8 (Group 1) and 287 children aged 9–11 (Group 2). Results for the 4–8 years group (Group 1) showed meditation predicted an increase in happiness (R2 =.003, p <.001) and self-reported school performance (R2 =.005, p <.001) and a decrease in emotional (R2 =.017, p <.001) and behavioral difficulties (R2 =.009, p <.001); however, the effect sizes were small. In the 9–11 years group (Group 2), meditation predicted an increase in emotional awareness (R2 =.02, p <.001), and a decrease in emotional (R2 =.014, p <.001) and behavioral difficulties (R2 =.009, p <.001) as measured by scores from baseline to postintervention. For Group 2, there was no significant change in happiness over the 10 weeks. The findings support incorporating mindfulness meditation in schools, noting significant enhancements in self-regulation with just 5 min of daily practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalPsychology in the Schools
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jun 2024

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