Elementary school pupils who took part in a mindfulness programme showed improved social-emotional competencies and maths achievement.
The study in Canada took place in four elementary schools, which were allocated at random to deliver either a mindfulness programme or a social responsibility programme as a control. In total, almost 100 grade 4 and 5 (Year 5 and 6) children took part. The mindfulness programme, MindUp, consisted of 12 lessons taught once a week, each lesson lasting around 45 minutes. The programme included mindfulness activities such as breathing and attentive listening and lessons encouraging acts of kindness and community service.
Children in the MindUp programme showed significant improvements in executive function, self-reported well-being, and self- and peer-reported social behaviour. They also demonstrated better maths performance.
The authors argue that although this study is small, it shows potential for this kind of training to improve cognitive skills, social-emotional competence, and well-being in a real-world setting.
Source: Enhancing cognitive and social-emotional development through a simple-to-administer mindfulness-based school program for elementary school children: A randomized controlled trial (2015), Developmental Psychology, 51(1)