Youth Mindfulness Program
The Youth Mindfulness Program was developed by the non-profit organization, Youth Mindfulness (youthmindfulnes.org). Their mission was to create a secular (non-religious) mindfulness program for youth that would enable young people to engage with and learn from these practices in a way that was fun and easy to understand and integrate. Since inception, the program has been tried and tested in schools around the United Kingdom, and was also one of the programs evaluated for the Mindful Nation UK government recommendations report, published in October 2015.
The course can be offered within schools, as part of an effort to support the ongoing learning and overall well-being of children and youth as they begin to learn and explore about themselves, their relationships, their world and become equipped with the tools that will help them gain emotional balance and enhanced well-being.
I am certified to teach this program through the Youth Mindfulness organization.
Youth Mindfulness Program Structure
Each of the 16 1-hour lessons are built one upon the other in such a way that the concepts in mindfulness can be easily absorbed and understood by young people. Starting with the building of a solid foundation in what mindfulness is, how it can help us feel more joy and better handle situations that challenge us, the program invites young people to explore for themselves what this means in their own experience.
The graphic below demonstrates each of the 16 levels and the themes each are focused on.
THEMES OF THE CURRICULUM
INTENTION refers to the inner decision to be mindful. This relies on motivation. In the first lesson the children learn how the brain can change and grow and why paying attention to the present moment can be of benefit to them.
ATTENTION refers to the practice of bringing the attention back to the present moment. In lessons 2 and 3 the children learn about attention, how it’s key to our experience and how
it tends to wander. They also begin training their attention to be present.
ATTITUDE refers to the way we pay attention. In lesson 4 the children learn the value of non-reactivity; in lesson 5 the children learn how to cultivate the freshness of the beginner’s mind and in lesson 6 the children learn to develop their willpower and diligence.
GRATITUDE refers to the practice of recognising and appreciating the conditions of health and happiness that are available for us in the present moment. This is the focus of lessons 7 and 8.
RESILIENCE refers to art of handling difficult emotions, thoughts and mind-states with wisdom, courage and awareness. In lesson 9 we explore the natural reaction to turn away from difficulty and instead cultivate the capacity to “be-with” the difficult. In lesson 10 we explore idea that thoughts are not facts.
KINDNESS TO SELF. By the time we get to lessons 11 and 12 the children have become quite familiar with their own minds and are ready to begin cultivating an attitude of kindness and warmth towards themselves. We explore what is meant by kindness conceptually, and also how we can be kind to ourselves in practical ways.
KINDNESS TO OTHERS. Building on the understanding that everybody wants to be happy and nobody wants to suffer the children then practice cultivating kindness towards others, beginning with friends and extending the practice to classmates and others. The children also have the opportunity to engage in acts of kindness.
PURPOSE. In lesson 15 the children reflect on all they have learned over the course of the preceding 14 lessons and in lesson 16 they develop a personal mission statement, articulating a vision for integrating their learning and acting in a way they can be proud of.
This program can be offered as part of an after-school program, or in a summer camp setting. Please contact me if you'd like to discuss enrolling your child on the course, and I'll let you know of upcoming opportunities. Or, visit my course calendar page for a listing.
For School Administrators
This program was designed to integrate well within the school's everyday curriculum. To set up an appointment to discuss this possibility with me, please contact me to come in for a (no-obligation) discussion about the program and how it could work in your school.
Curious for a more in-depth look into the program
For a more in-depth overview of youth mindfulness program, including evidence-based reporting on outcomes, please follow this link: Overview of the Youth Mindfulness Program
For a more in-depth look at an individual lesson plan from the program, please follow this link: Lesson 5 - Beginner's Mind