With all of the attention around mindfulness in education these days, you might wonder if it really works. Is it a passing fad or a catalyst for breakthrough growth in schools?
We’ve seen this growth again and again. Our program, Modern Mindfulness, was designed in collaboration with Vermont public school teachers and students to ensure successful outcomes and easy implementation. Modmind is an interactive online program that has proven to be a breakthrough approach to strengthen executive functioning skills resulting in a focused and relaxed student.
This is a low-cost way to make a dramatic impact on the culture and performance of your school.
Jump to the frequently asked questions to learn more: FaQ
A successful mindfulness program should show positive results within a year. In Winooski Vermont, Modern Mindfulness created results in six months for a city! Check out this news story on The Mindful City and visit here to learn more.
Modmind has had a powerful impact in several Vermont schools with only five minutes of practice a day! To learn more about the benefits of Mindfulness and the impact ModMind has had (click on the sheets below.)
Print out these sheets to share with your principal, guidance counselor and colleagues.
Ready to bring mindfulness into your classroom?
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What makes us unique
Whole School Implementation
Our program uses a standard, interactive program, so that every student does the same practice. This facilitates common vocabulary, application, and culture, and allows for easy whole-school integration.
The program was designed in a public school, in collaboration between mindfulness experts, school teachers and their students.
It delivers effective instruction in five minutes a day. You are guided by mindfulness experts, so that you don't have to be a professional immediately. This structure allows students and teachers to practice and learn mindfulness together.
The interactive program leads the class in daily mindfulness exercises. In ten lessons, the teachers learn to lead exercises on their own.
The mindful message helps to bridge the lesson and daily application of mindfulness. Allowing the teacher to integrate mindfulness with tasks throughout the day.
Jeanne Sullivan, Parent
The program is clear, precise, well thought out and easy to use. It is extremely important and useful to help kids relax, learn, and connect.
Andrew Knapp, Ph.D., The University of Vermont, Department of Psychology
The curriculum. . . has been designed by experts with decades of training for the express purpose of delivery by teachers with minimal training.
John Pontius, Teacher, Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School, Essex Junction, Vermont
As you have no doubt heard many times, (the training) was very effective, and I believe I now have the tools to help the kids develop some very important lifelong habits.
Mary Woodruff, Principal, Smilie Memorial School, Bolton, Vermont
Teachers are less stressed because their students are more able to be calm and focused. This increases their teaching time and the time that their students are engaged in learning.
Mariah Freemole, Teacher, Barstow Memorial School, Chittenden, Vermont
Modern Mindfulness practice dovetails beautifully with the Responsive Classroom model. In both, the teacher and students co-create a learning environment that encourages respect, self-care and empathy. Mindfulness fortifies components of Responsive Classroom—such as Morning Meeting, Academic Choice and the focus on hopes and dreams—as it helps each individual develop greater self-awareness.
Samantha Stevens, Co-Coordinator of the VNA Family Room, Burlington, Vermont
One major unexpected benefit of the mindfulness work has been the opportunity to build trust and share personal insights and experiences that affect how we work together, but which would not otherwise come to the surface.
Tori Cleiland, JFK School, Winooski, Vermont
I am continually grateful to CML for entering Winooski’s world for the betterment of all kids and teachers for the highest good of all concerned. Yay!
Parent, Smilie Memorial School, Bolton, Vermont
I had to share with you that mindfulness is seeping into their heads after all! [One child] was crying (loudly I might add) and [another child] said so calmly, “Take action to make things better!” It maybe wouldn’t have meant so much to me if I hadn’t been in mindfulness class this week to really understand it. I thought that was so great and so impressive! So hats off to you! The mindful message this week for the kindergarten class is, “When we are mindful, we take actions to make things better,” as you could probably tell.
A: Mindfulness is focused, relaxed attention. The two foundational learning skills of mindfulness are:
- Focus, the ability to pay attention to what is most important.
- Relaxation, the ability to let go of tension, be open to and accept your experiences.
In this program, we apply and develop the skills of focus and relaxation by learning techniques specifically relevant to social, emotional and academic learning, such as:
- Listening: hearing sounds around us (especially teachers or peers talking), which helps to learn from our teachers, follow directions, understand and communicate with others, resolve conflicts, and be aware of our environment.
- Achievement: setting and accomplishing positive and realistic goals.
- Relaxation: focusing on letting go of tension.
As a result, we aim to achieve two measurable outcomes for students:
- Improved academic performance, a result of increased attention and learning.
- Improved behavior, a result of increased calm, empathy and ability to follow directions.
Students improve social and emotional skills such as anti-bullying, self-confidence, positive
peer relationships, and emotional self-regulation.
A: Mindfulness Is Composed of Two Foundational Skills:
- Focus is paying attention to what’s most important now.
In order to do anything, we need to be able to sustain our attention. For youth and adults alike, maintaining focus is often a challenge. Mindfulness trains concentration and makes it stronger. Mindfulness also trains interest, because when we focus, we investigate with interest. When we improve at focusing, we improve at getting interested in whatever we turn our attention to. When we were young, we may have been told to “Pay attention!” but may not have been taught how to do so, nor were we asked to practice it. We may not have learned to notice all the things that can make it hard to pay attention–—things like distracting thoughts or emotions–—and then practicing overcoming those difficult challenges.
- Relaxation is letting go of tension.
If you feel a calm confidence, you are becoming skilled at relaxation. Calm confidence is focused, yet settled. Relaxation also doesn’t mean you’re lazy. Slumping relaxation is a form of relaxation, but mindful relaxation is alert, focused relaxation. The end result is that you’re energetically engaged. When we were young, we may have been told to “Calm down!” but may not have been taught how to do so, nor were we asked to practice it. We may not have learned to notice all the things that can make it hard to relax–—things like distracting or overwhelming circumstances, thoughts or emotions–—and then practiced overcoming those difficult challenges. When the mindfulness skills of focus and relaxation are developed, they create the optimal conditions for learning.
Some areas where these skills can be applied:
Reading: To read well, we must bring sustained attention to the material and have a sense of interest (focus). To learn from our reading, we need to relax when it’s difficult, so that we can meet difficulty with composure, rather than frustration or resistance.
Regulating emotions: Emotions are often overwhelming, but if we can focus, notice the emotions, and relax, we can keep our composure. For example, instead of saying, “I feel frustrated, and I hate this! I can’t stand it another moment!”, we can focus and observe, “I’m feeling frustration, and I’m going to allow that to be there while I take a few deep breaths and relax. It’s going to be all right. . . . Okay, now what should I do?”
A: Among the many mindfulness techniques available, Modern Mindfulness uses three techniques perfectly suited for young people’s social, emotional, and academic learning:
- Focus on Relaxation is the technique of paying attention to letting go of tension.
It helps to:
Calm ourselves and manage stress;
Pay attention and follow directions;
Improve academic performance and test-taking;
Regulate our emotions and behavior;
Understand and communicate with others;
- Listening is the technique of hearing sounds around us (especially teachers or peers talking).
It helps to:
Learn from our teachers and follow directions;
Improve academic performance;
Understand and communicate with others;
Be aware of our environment.
- Achievement is the technique of setting and accomplishing positive and realistic goals.
It helps to:
Know the difference between realistic goals and fantasies, so we can enjoy the creativity of fantasies and employ realistic goals that tangibly improve our lives;
Set goals that are important to us and feel right for ourselves;
Take action to accomplish our goals;
Develop self-confidence, enthusiasm and creativity;
Improve relationships and cultivate compassion for ourselves and others.
A: Educators frequently report they want to offer mindfulness in their classrooms, but the program needs to:
- It's short—it takes five minutes a day! It fits nicely into a busy school day (morning meetings, advisory periods or the beginning and end of a class period).
- Offer teacher training in gradual, bite-size increments, due to teachers’ many demands.
- Be capable of delivering exceptional mindfulness instruction in a convenient way that doesn’t disrupt the classroom schedule.
Modern Mindfulness addresses all of these points!
A: We aim to achieve three outcomes for teachers. They feel:
- supported by the program; it makes their jobs easier.
- fulfilled by their relationships with students and colleagues.
- less stress and more energy.
How does the program train teachers to teach mindfulness and teach mindfulness to students at the same time?
A: Teachers receive comprehensive mindfulness training through a gradual combination of online training and applied learning in the classroom (normally completed over 10 weeks).
- The online training—which the teacher completes for each chapter prior to introducing the chapter in class—keeps the teacher one step ahead of the students.
- The online lesson delivered in class is guided by a mindfulness expert, so teacher and students practice and learn mindfulness together.
- Complete a chapter training, then introduce the chapter lesson in class—at your own pace.
A: The Modern Mindfulness program was designed to allow teachers to feel confident teaching mindfulness right away.
Teachers receive access to our interactive online curriculum right away. The curriculum allows teachers to learn alongside their students as they gain the skills to teach effectively without it.
- The curriculum has two main functions:
- It provides daily mindfulness exercises and weekly videos for teachers and students to practice together. The exercises are audio files that can be played through the speakers of a computer, tablet, or smart board. The software program is interactive: it asks students questions about their experience, and responds with positive feedback. The exercises end with a "Mindful Message" that helps to bridge the lesson and daily application of mindfulness. The videos use storytelling to inspire students and to help them relate to mindfulness concepts. Both the exercises and the videos are approximately five minutes.
- It supports teachers to continue their learning with an online teacher training. The teacher training is divided into ten chapters. Each chapter includes a short training video, a weekly assignment, reading from the manual, and a short quiz. Prior to introducing the exercise and video of the week to the students, the teacher completes a training chapter (approximately 20-30 minutes of coursework) and then applies their learning in the classroom. At the end of the ten chapters, teachers can continue using the program or transition to leading mindfulness lessons without the software. Teachers often go on to train their students to lead the lessons!
Modern Mindfulness trains you to teach mindfulness on your own. When you finish the course, you will have the skills you need to do this successfully without the aid of our online software. Teachers receive comprehensive mindfulness training through a gradual combination of online training and applied learning.
Modern Mindfulness can be accessed online anytime at schoolsapp.modmind.org.
For teachers, each chapter of the program contains the following training materials: a training video of about 10 minutes, an assignment, and a quiz. Although it is optional, we highly recommend that you complete the teacher training materials for each chapter. After you have completed the teacher training materials for a chapter, you are ready to start that chapter with the students.
The student materials for each chapter include a short video and a mindfulness lesson. We recommend that you start by showing the student video. (Students watch this video only once, at the beginning of each chapter.) Then, both teacher and students practice that week’s guided mindfulness lesson, led by a mindfulness expert.
Repetition and practice is essential to mindfulness, as it is in any skill based activity. We recommend you repeat the mindfulness lesson for the chapter you are on several times during the week and then once or twice you can review a mindfulness lesson from the previous week. This program is designed as a support to the teacher. The five minute lesson guides the mindfulness exercise in class, allowing the teacher and students to practice together. When the five minute lesson ends, the teacher takes center stage and resumes a more active role. After the five minute lesson completes, the teacher has the option to have a discussion about the students’ experiences. It is best to have a discussion about once a week.
Every day, a "Mindful Message" is chosen or created, and then written on the board. It is essential to refer to it at least three times during the day to ensure the mindfulness skills are applied to learning. We encourage you to celebrate two successes when the students have applied mindfulness to their daily activities, and to make one suggestion of how they can better apply mindfulness to their daily activities. To do this, it will be useful to take advantage of potential “Mindful Moments” during the day. This will reinforce application of the skills and techniques, and make the day run more smoothly. The single most important source of student success in this program is the same as every other program in school: the enthusiasm teachers bring to it, and their belief that students can succeed at it.
* Repetition is Important * Repetition is Important * Repetition is Important *
Mindfulness is like exercise: repetition builds strength and skill! That is why we practice these skills and applications over and over, like a baseball pitcher practicing the same pitch over and over. If someone tells you how to throw a baseball, you don't instantly know how to throw. Even if you understand their words perfectly, you won’t be ready to pitch for the pros. You probably can’t even throw the ball over home plate the first time you try. The people who throw best are those who practice the most. Mindfulness training works the same way: it’s primarily about practice, not knowledge.
A: Validating and empowering students reports about mindfulness is a core component of our program.
Validating your students’ experience is one of the two most important parts of teaching mindfulness.
When a student shares an experience, whether it is “positive” or “negative,” they are learning about themselves. Our job as educators is to encourage this learning by acknowledging their ability to know their own experience.
We acknowledge that any experience a person has is valid, because it’s an undeniable fact that they had it. This is the aspect of teaching we call validation.
The second important aspect of teaching mindfulness is empowering our students.
Empowering students allows them to apply mindfulness to their daily activities and lives, and to resolve problems which seemed insurmountable before they learned mindfulness.
We acknowledge that it’s natural for pleasant and unpleasant experiences to occur within each of us. When we improve at noticing them and then relaxing, we can respond appropriately and with composure.
Be clear with students that mindfulness gives us power over our own experience and choices. If students blame other students or their environment for their own internal choices, take that opportunity to show them the power of mindfulness. Explain that with power, comes responsibility. This is the aspect of teaching we call empowerment.
A: Start with the Modern Mindfulness App
This training prepares you to teach mindfulness to young people ages 5-18, using our interactive online curriculum.
Interactive Online Curriculum:
- Once you have completed a Level 1 training, you can immediately begin using the program with your students.
- The curriculum is divided into ten chapters that can be done at your own pace.
- The chapters include nine five minute daily classroom exercises, nine age-appropriate videos explaining mindfulness to your students, and an online teacher training.
- At the beginning of each chapter, prior to introducing the chapter to the students, the teacher completes approximately 20-30 minutes of course material through the online teacher training.
- The concepts from the online teacher training are then applied in the classroom as the students practice daily exercises and watch one video per week.
- At the end of the 10 chapters, teachers can continue using the program or can transition to leading the mindfulness lesson without the software.
The curriculum includes:
- Nine five minute mindfulness exercise for you and your students to practice every day.
- Nine short student videos to watch once a week. These videos inspire students and help them relate to mindfulness concepts.
- Online teacher training to help teachers effectively implement the program and gradually learn to teach without the software.
A: We at the Center for Mindful Learning want you to be successful at bringing mindfulness to young people. We are here to support you!
Once you have begun implementing the program, you can call us or email us for follow up support. If you are local to Vermont, we are able to make site visits.
After you used the program for four weeks, you are ready to join a Teacher support session
When a whole school begins to practice mindfulness, real transformation occurs. Our program allows for easy whole school integration, using five minute standard, daily exercises for teachers and students.