Integrating Mindfulness Meditation into Classes

by: Dan Florell, Ph.D.

This week’s episode focuses on integrating mindfulness meditation into a social studies curriculum in middle school.

We are featuring a journal article this week titled A randomized controlled pilot trial of a classroom-based mindfulness meditation compared to an active control condition in sixth-grade children. The interest in mindfulness meditation and its’ benefits for school children has been gathering momentum. The authors of this study wanted to see if mindfulness activities could be integrated into a sixth grade curriculum for six weeks and still have a significant impact in lowering psychological difficulties such as depression, anxiety, and inattention.

The authors had 101 sixth grade students divided into two groups. One group learned and practiced mindfulness meditation while studying Asian history while the other group learned about African history and engaged in a novel project.

The authors found that both groups significantly lowered their level of psychological difficulties which included externalizing problems, inattention, and internalizing problems. In addition, the mindfulness meditation group had a greater reduction in risk for suicidal ideation and self-harm compared to the other group.

The takeaway is that is feasible to integrate mindfulness meditation within an existing middle school curriculum and have it administered by a classroom teacher. The introduction of mindfulness meditation or other novel and engaging projects can have a positive effect on student’s mental health.

While this was a pilot study, it does point to the positive impact on students when integrating mindfulness meditation into the curriculum. Teachers should consider exploring this possibility or at least utilizing novel projects within their curriculum to stimulate students and thereby enhance their mental health.

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