Why Mindfulness and Why Now?

NEED2 piloted the Mindfulness for Middle School program in the Spring of 2015.
Since that time the program has reached 2400 students and their teachers to the practice of mindfulness as a vehicle to expand mental health literacy in younger grades and provide youth-friendly tools to combat stress and anxiety.
The program is supported by research which demonstrates the benefits of supporting the social and emotional development of young people.
It also dovetails nicely with the Ministry of Education’s focus on social emotional learning.

The intention of the program is predicated on the following concepts:

  1. There is a positive link between mindfulness as a positive coping strategy for dealing with stress and anxiety.
  2. Mindfulness is a gentle and accessible practice which enables students to become self-aware, notice what is, experience how stressful events can impact emotions and how the response to those emotions impact actions and behaviour.
  3. Mindful and attuned facilitators can introduce these concepts in a fun, interactive and secular way, supporting the safety and learning of all students.

Practice Plan:

The program is composed of 3 hours of instructional time facilitated by a NEED2 staff member. Each class receives 6 sessions.  The program cost is $300 per class however if cost is a barrier NEED2 will endeavour to work with the school.

The curriculum is based on the Mindful School’s Curriculum. Each practice plan is derived from a myriad of teachings including MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Registered Yoga Teacher Training. NEED2 believes in a strength-based learning approach, inviting students into an open dialogue, encouraging curious participation by providing emotionally safe, inclusive, youth-centered exploration.

The initial funding for the pilot was provided by the Vancouver Foundation. Program funding this fiscal from BC Gaming enabled NEED2 to offset the cost for some classes this fiscal year.

What students say about when they used Mindfulness:

“Mindfulness was a huge mind break for me and it helped a lot. I definitely recommend this to other students – happy student.” – Grade 6, Fernwood Elementary, Salt Spring 

“I used mindfulness when my Mom and Dad had just separated and it really broke my heart.” – Grade 6, Arbutus Middle School

“When my brother took my stuff without my permission I almost flipped my lid but I used mindfulness and I talked to him. And he gave me my stuff back.” – Grade 6, Central Middle School

“I was wondering, have you done all the classes? I think you should!” – Grade 6, Royal Oak Middle School

1 Kimberley A. Schonert-Reichl, “Effectiveness of the Mindfulness Education (ME) Program: Research Summary, 2005-2008,” University of British Columbia (November 2008)