Contemplation in the Classroom: a New Direction for Improving Childhood Education
Research with adults suggests that contemplative practices such as meditation and yoga impart a variety of benefits, from improved attention to reduced stress. Increasingly, these practices are being adapted for use with children and introduced into childhood education in order to foster the development of key self-regulation skills required for academic achievement and emotional well-being. This article reviews empirical evidence that supports the introduction of contemplative practices into childhood education. Directions for future research are discussed.
KeywordsSelf-regulation Attention training Mindfulness Yoga Learning
The authors would like to thank the Baumann Institute for providing funding for the preparation of this article.
- Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 125–143.Google Scholar
- Bierman, K. L., & Welsh, J. A. (1997). Social relationship deficits. In E. J. Mash & G. Lief (Eds.), Assessment of childhood disorders (3rd edition) (pp. 328–365). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Boegels, S., Hoogstad, B., van Dun, L., de Schutter, S., & Restifo, K. (2008). Mindfulness training for adolescents with externalizing disorders and their parents. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 36(2), 193–209.Google Scholar
- Coulumbe, S., Davies, B., Howe, K., Potts, A., Ryan, C. & Day, D.S. (2011). Desired and perceived outcomes related to an elementary school classroom-based yoga program as a basis for quantitative research studies. Abstract presented at the International Association of Yoga Therapists, September, 2011, Kripalu Center.Google Scholar
- Cowger, E. L., & Torrance, E. P. (1982). Further examination of the qualifying of changes in creative functioning resulting from meditation (Zazen) training. Creative Child & Adult Quarterly, 7, 211–217.Google Scholar
- Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Guthrie, I. K., & Reiser, M. (2002). The role of emotionality and regulation in children’s social competence and adjustment. In L. Pulkkinen & A. Caspi (Eds.), Paths to successful development: personality in the life course (pp. 46–70). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Harper, J. C. (2010). Yoga therapy in practice: teaching Yoga in urban elementary schools. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 20, 100–110.Google Scholar
- Hughes, C., & Ensor, R. (2011). Individual differences in growth in executive function across the transition to school predict externalizing and internalizing behaviors and self-perceived academic success at 6 years of age. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108(3), 663–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Huttenlocher, P. R. (2002). Neural plasticity: The effects of environment on the development of the cerebral cortex. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Johnson, A. E., Forston, J. L., Gunnar, M. R., & Zelazo, P. D. (2012). A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation training in preschool children. Submitted.Google Scholar
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 144–156.Google Scholar
- Kaiser-Greenland, S. (2010). The mindful child. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Lantieri, L. (2008). Building emotional intelligence: techniques to cultivate inner strength in children. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.Google Scholar
- Metis Associates (2011). Building inner resilience in teachers and their students: results of the inner resilience pilot program. Retrieved on 12-3-2012 from http://innerresilience.org/ documents/IRP_Pilot_Program_Results_AERA2011_updated_6.9.pdf.
- Miller, Richard C., Butler, Britta (2011). iRest For Kids. Integrative Restoration Institute, 900 5th Ave., Suite 203, San Rafael, CA 94901. See also: www.irest.us/node/338.
- Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Poulton, R., Roberts, B. W., Ross, S., Sears, M. R., Thomson, W. M., & Caspi, A. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 108(7), 2693–2698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Nidich, S. M., Shujaa Nidich, R., Rainforth, M., Grant, J., Valosek, L., Chang, W., & Zigler, R. L. (2011). Academic achievement and transcendental meditation: a study with at-risk urban middle school students. Education, 131(3), 556–565.Google Scholar
- Pechtel, P., & Pizzagalli, D. (2010). Effects of early life stress on cognitive and affective function: an intergrated review of human literature. Psychopharmacology, 214, 1–3.Google Scholar
- Saltzman, A., & Goldin, P. (2008). Mindfulness based stress reduction for school-age children. In S. C. Hayes & L. A. Greco (Eds.), Acceptance and mindfulness interventions for children, adolescents and families (pp. 139–161). Oakland, CA: Context Press/New Harbinger.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, S. L., Brown, K. W., & Beigel, G. M. (2006). Teaching self-care to caregivers: Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the mental health of mental health therapists in training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 1, 105–115.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, S.L., Jazzeri, H., Golden, P. (2012). Effects of mindfulness training on ethics. Mindfulness, 2-12.Google Scholar
- Stiles, J. (2008). The fundamentals of brain development: integrating nature and nurture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Zelazo, P. D., Muller, U., Frye, D., & Marcovitch, S. (2003). The development of executive function in early childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 68(3), Serial No. 274. Google Scholar