What is The Peace of Mind Program?
Peace of Mind is a mindfulness-based social and emotional learning (SEL) program. The Peace of Mind Program includes a weekly curriculum for grades 1-5, and directions for how to integrate mindfulness, and social and emotional skills such as kindness, compassion, inclusion, and peaceful conflict resolution throughout the life of a school.
We believe that teaching mindfulness and SEL together helps children more than teaching either one on its own, based on current research on our own deep experience in the classroom. Mindfulness helps children become aware of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions so that they can actually use the SEL skills they are learning when they are angry, anxious or feeling stressed.
Peace of Mind supports academic learning as well as social and emotional growth. Peace of Mind is not religious, and it is not therapy. Peace of Mind does not tell children what or how to think, but rather to notice what they are feeling and thinking, and helps them to pause and consider before acting on those feelings and thoughts.
What do my children learn in Peace of Mind Class?
The Peace of Mind Curriculum teaches students basic mindfulness practices such as deep breathing, “Take Five” breathing and counting breaths in order to manage big emotions such as excitement, anxiety, stress, anger, and sadness. Students also learn related brain science, including the roles of the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
Peace of Mind class offers opportunities to learn about and practice kindness and empathy every week. Once students have established their personal mindfulness practices and explored the value of kindness and empathy, they begin to learn skills to solve conflicts peacefully.
The ultimate goal is to give students the ability to notice and manage their emotions in order to build healthy relationships with others and with themselves. This helps create more positive and inclusive school climates.
What studies have been done on the impact of Peace of Mind?
A 2016 study by Minds Inc of the impact of Peace of Mind at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington DC confirmed positive perceived impact by the majority of students and parents surveyed. We conducted a similar survey for students and parents in 2018; analysis of results is underway.
We are in the process of analyzing results of pre- and post-pilot impact surveys of students and teachers at four pilot schools in Washington DC with wide variation in student population. Qualitative responses from teachers, students and parents are promising.
How are parents involved in Peace of Mind?
We honor parents as the first and most important teacher of their children. Peace of Mind hopes to partner with you to give your children the tools they need to face the social, emotional, academic and practical challenges ahead. You might think of this as helping them to develop life skills.
We are developing communication tools for your children’s teachers so that they can keep you up to date on what your children are learning. We also hope that this website will provide you insight into the language and practices your child might be bringing home, and ways you can use these new skills at home.
Some books you might enjoy: The Mindful Child by Susan Kaiser Greenland; The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students by Daniel Rechstaffsen; Emotional Intelligence (and other books) by Daniel Goleman.
What does Social and Emotional Learning mean?
According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Social and emotional learning (SEL) is defined as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” The Peace of Mind Curriculum is aligned with CASEL standards.
Why do schools value mindfulness-based social and emotional learning?
Studies show that Mindfulness Practice can enhance children’s social-emotional development. In particular, mindfulness training can help to enhance children’s attention and focus and can help improve self-control and emotion regulation. Studies also show that teaching SEL can lead to academic gains. In addition, research shows that creating a positive school climate and dedicating class time to social and emotional learning are two important and evidence approaches to bullying prevention.
Our experience of teaching and developing the Peace of Mind Curriculum to thousands of students over the last decade at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington DC supports these findings.
Where can I find additional information for parents about Social and Emotional learning (SEL)?
Here is a great list of SEL resources for parents compiled by CASEL and the University of Illinois-Chicago: Social and Emotional Learning Resources for Parents .