The Mindful Teacher Foundation

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

 

Mindful Teacher, Mindful KIDS

“Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids” is built on a 2-part sequence. In the first part (Mindful Teacher), K-12 teachers learn the fundamental skills of mindfulness practice. Participants who complete this training proceed to the second part (Mindful Kids), in which they learn how to bring mindfulness skills into the classroom to benefit their students. Mindful Teacher is offered in the fall semester and is followed by Mindful Kids in the spring semester.

The entire course is comprised of 19 sessions that meet weekly. All sessions are 75 to 90 minutes in length for a total of 24 classroom hours. Participants are also expected to complete assigned readings and exercises between sessions. Each course is led by 2 qualified mindfulness instructors and includes 12-16 participants—smaller groups ensure that each participant receives adequate attention and we have sufficient space to provide instruction.

SESSIONS 1-9: Mindful Teacher

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Because mindfulness is an experiential set of skills, teachers learn how to practice mindfulness before bringing it into their classrooms. Our first objective is to help teachers establish this essential foundation. 

Mindfulness: An 8-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman serves as a framework for practice, reflection, and discussion. Each weekly class is organized around a theme that is explored through inquiry and guided exercises. Between sessions, participants use guided audio meditations to support the development of mindfulness skills.

SESSIONS 10-19: Mindful Kids

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Our second objective is to help participants learn how to integrate mindfulness skills and practices in the classroom for the benefit of themselves and their students. 

The framework for the “Mindful Kids” portion of our course is Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom by Dr. Patricia Jennings, Associate Professor at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia. Dr. Jennings is one of the developers of the CARE for Teachers program (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education) and lead researcher of a recent study that found evidence that reducing teacher stress improved classroom environment and learning.

“The book offers offers simple, ready-to-use, and evidence-proven mindfulness techniques to help educators manage the stresses of the classroom, cultivate an exceptional learning environment, and revitalize both their teaching and their students’ knowledge acquisition.”

Teachers who complete “Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids” are invited to return in future years to help mentor new participants and share what they have learned in the classroom. 

A grassroots not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation serving teachers and students in the Urbana-Champaign area.