MMA, in partnership with Curtin University, has DoE approval to undertake a research project with two schools interested in starting a whole-school mindfulness program.

We are looking for primary schools within the Perth metropolitan area that are interested in implementing a whole-school mindfulness practice. One class from the school, preferably a Year 5 or Year 6 class, will participate to evaluate the impact of the program.

Due to start the research at the commencement of Term 3, MMA will provide training and resources to the whole school free of charge and will support the school over the course of one term to implement mindfulness activities and meditation practices as part of the day-to-day routine. Once established, these activities take only a few minutes per day.

If you are interested, please complete the form and return to Professor David Lawrence at Curtin University before 5:00pm, Friday 20 May 2022.

Evaluating the whole school mindfulness program

Mindfulness is growing in popularity, and there is now strong research evidence showing the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in a range of situations, such as coping with anxiety, stress or addictions, particularly in adults.

Mindful Meditation Australia (MMA) has developed a whole of school mindfulness program that has been adopted by several WA schools. Curtin University is partnering with MMA to conduct a research study in two schools who will begin implementing the program later this year.

There are good theoretical reasons for believing that mindfulness benefits school-aged students both in their wellbeing and their learning at school. Regular practice of mindfulness, for a small amount of time each day, helps build skills of attentional focus and awareness of thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness can help students develop their ability to deal with distractions, improve their concentration on what they are doing at the moment, and help them deal with uncertainty. Mindfulness also relates directly to elements of the Australian Curriculum including building personal and social capability.

MMA is a philanthropic not-for-profit organisation committed to improving mental, emotional and physical wellbeing through evidence-based mindfulness and meditation programs. MMA is committed to establishing clear evidence of the short and longer term effectiveness of the whole-ofschool mindfulness program on children’s wellbeing, and learning outcomes. The MMA program has already been adopted by several schools in WA, and Curtin University has recently completed case studies of the implementation in two Perth primary schools. In both cases, the program has been overwhelmingly endorsed as beneficial by students, parents and school staff, and in both schools their have been increases in attendance and NAPLAN test scores following adoption of the program.

The current research will extend our knowledge of the impact of the MMA program by involving two schools newly embarking on the program. Schools and education systems would benefit from having a strong evidence base available to support their choices of programs to offer their students. Schools could make informed choices if answers to the following questions were known:

  • How much do mindfulness-based programs improve students’ learning and academic outcomes?
  • Can these benefits be sustained over time?
  • What is the optimal “dose” (duration, intensity and timing) of mindfulness-based training?
  • How can mindfulness programs be most effectively incorporated into schools?

To address these questions, the research study will implement MMA’s framework across two schools focussing on MMA’s curriculum being taught over a period of one school term. To minimise the impact of the research on the school, one Year 5 or Year 6 class per school will participate in data collection for the study. During this time, assessments will be conducted on the impact of the program on children’s focus, attention, self-regulation, and wellbeing and teachers’ effective classroom management and teaching time. The study will also investigate if the program improves student behaviour and reduces teaching time devoted to behaviour management.

Both schools participating in the program will receive MMA’s full training curriculum for all school staff. The schools will implement mindfulness across all classes but for the purposes of the research, one class of Year 5 or Year 6 children will be recruited to participate in the research data collection 2 aspect. An introduction to mindfulness will be provided to all students using MMA’s curriculum at the beginning of the term. Teachers across each school will implement brief mindfulness interventions on a daily basis during regular class times so as to minimise disruption to everyday school activities.

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