, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 759–768 | Cite as

Preservice Students’ Dispositional Mindfulness and Developmentally Supportive Practices with Infants and Toddlers

  • Holly E. Brophy-HerbEmail author
  • Amy C. Williamson
  • Gina A. Cook
  • Julie Torquati
  • Kalli B. Decker
  • Jennifer Vu
  • Claire D. Vallotton
  • Larissa G. Duncan
  • The Collaborative for Understanding the Pedagogy of Infant/Toddler Development


Although dispositional mindfulness has recently been linked to high quality teaching practices, there is limited work on how mindfulness is related to caregiving beliefs and practices with infants and toddlers. Based on survey responses from 618 preservice students enrolled in child development/early education classes at nine US universities, we examined associations between mindfulness and students’ beliefs, knowledge, and practices with infants and toddlers. Preservice students with greater self-reported mindfulness reported stronger beliefs about reflective practices and more mindful interactions with others, particularly interactions characterized by intentional kindness, greater child development knowledge, and more developmentally supportive responses to infants’/toddlers’ needs during common challenging situations. Results underscore the associations between mindfulness and developmentally supportive beliefs and practices and highlight burgeoning research on the role of mindfulness in high-quality early childhood teaching. Results also suggest the potential value of incorporating mindfulness training as part of professional development efforts related to early childhood teacher training.


Mindfulness Early childhood Teachers Teacher training Developmentally appropriate practices 



The Collaborative for Understanding the Pedagogy of Infant/Toddler Development (CUPID) is a group of more than 30 scholars from 20 universities who have joined together to understand how to better prepare preservice child development students for future careers in early childhood education and development. Our ultimate goal is to improve practice in the field of infant/toddler care and education by improving our own teaching and preparation of preservice child development university students.

Author Contributions

HBH designed the study, wrote the methods and results, and assisted with the literature review and discussion. ACW assisted with the literature review. GAC assisted with the literature review and data analysis. JT prepared and tracked data completion and prepared dataset for the study. KBD assisted with the conceptualization of the study and the literature review. JV assisted with the discussion and limitations. CDV conceptualized the larger CUPID study in which the current study is embedded and organized and implemented IRB protocols. LGD assisted with the conceptualization and explanations of mindfulness. All CUPID members including all authors on this manuscript implemented the study that yielded these data across the eight institutions of higher education.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics Statement

This research was approved by the Institutional Review Boards at Michigan State University, Montana State University, Mount Olive University, San Jose University, University of California-Stanislaus, University of Delaware, University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Utah State University from which data were generated, as well as Oklahoma State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Holly E. Brophy-Herb
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amy C. Williamson
    • 2
  • Gina A. Cook
    • 3
  • Julie Torquati
    • 4
  • Kalli B. Decker
    • 5
  • Jennifer Vu
    • 6
  • Claire D. Vallotton
    • 1
  • Larissa G. Duncan
    • 7
  • The Collaborative for Understanding the Pedagogy of Infant/Toddler Development
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family SciencesOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Child DevelopmentCalifornia State University, StanislausTurlockUSA
  4. 4.College of Education and Human SciencesUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health and Human DevelopmentMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA
  6. 6.Early Childhood AssociatesLLCSan DiegoUSA
  7. 7.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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