The Effectiveness, Feasibility and Acceptability of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention in Two Irish Primary Schools
Ireland has experienced large social and cultural changes in the past fifteen years. With mass inward migration, Irish schools have become increasingly culturally diverse. It has become a priority to find effective ways to promote wellbeing within a multi-cultural context. As mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been shown to be effective in increasing wellbeing among children, there has been an exponential increase in school-based mindfulness programmes in the past decade. MBIs have been incorporated into curricula in the United Kingdom and the United States. In Ireland, however, there seems to be much practice-based evidence, yet little evidence-based practice. This chapter aims to examine the effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of an MBI in Irish primary schools. This study is among the few which look at mindfulness intervention in an Irish primary school context and asks the questions, (a) Does it work? (b) Can people do it? and, (c) Will people do it?. One-hundred and sixty-five primary school students from 3rd to 6th class were assigned either to a six-week mindfulness intervention (n = 99) or to an active control group (n = 66). Data was collected from children and nine teachers from one urban school and one rural school. Both schools were multi-cultural. Baseline and post-test quantitative measures included the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised, the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale and the Resilience Scale-14 for child participants, and qualitative surveys for both teachers and children. While there were no significant changes in wellbeing and resilience, there was a significant increase in mindfulness. However this was found in both the intervention and active control group. Furthermore, teachers and children were found to integrate mindfulness easily into their daily routine, they were happy and willing to do so, and most would like to continue.
KeywordsMindfulness Primary schools Effectiveness Multi-cultural
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