Exploring experiences of children in applying a school-based mindfulness programme to their lives
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Evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for children and young people’s well-being is growing, particularly within educational settings. To date, very few studies have explored how children experience and apply mindfulness. This qualitative study investigated how children who received long-term mindfulness training applied mindfulness to their everyday lives. Year 6 Children (average age 11) were interviewed in three focus groups with their peers, in a semi-structured format, and the data was analysed using an inductive thematic analysis. The findings indicated that the children described mindfulness as assisting with their emotion regulation. Four themes were identified: (1) processes of emotion regulation (2) dysregulation prompt to apply mindfulness (3) challenges and strategies and (4) the conditions that support or hinder mindfulness use. These findings are discussed in the context of theories and evidence on emotion regulation, attachment, and mechanisms of mindfulness. Implications of these findings for future research of meditation-based approaches in schools, for example, self-compassion and kindness practices, are considered.
KeywordsMindfulness Children School-based Emotion regulation Thematic analysis
J.K.H.: designed and executed the study, analysed the data and wrote the paper. J.C.H.: collaborated with the design of the study and analysis of the data, and edited the manuscript. D.D.: collaborated with the design of the study and the analysis of the data and collaborated in the writing and editing of the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
J.K.H. teaches the Paws b curriculum on occasion and is renumerated for this work as part of her duties of employment. J.C.H. declares she has no conflict of interest. D.D. provided initial advice on inclusion of neuroscience content into the Paws b curriculum without renumeration, does not hold any IP for the Paws b curriculum and does not have any financial interests in the Paws b curriculum; she is not affiliated with the Mindfulness in Schools Project providing training in the Paws b curriculum. D.D. has been collaborating with Sarah Silverton and Tabitha Sawyer, the two main authors of the Paws b who are not receiving royalties from the Paws b curriculum, and Ysgol Pen Y Bryn where the Paws b curriculum was developed (also with no financial interests) on the development of another primary school curriculum (The Present Course for Primary Schools) and is a co-director of a community interest company providing training in the Present Course.
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. Ethical approval was provided by the School of Psychology at Bangor University. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Participation in this research was entirely voluntary and required both parents informed consent and children’s informed assent.
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