“These days, everyone is buzzing about the need to integrate mindfulness and social and emotional learning into schools. Well, here is a program that has been doing it successfully for almost 20 years. I am astounded by this beautiful curriculum. Linda and her colleagues have created a brilliantly practical guide for teachers, one that understands kids – both how they think, and their imaginative capacities. …This is a model for the classroom of the future.”

Jeff Warren, Mindfulness Teacher and co-author with Dan Harris of Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. July 2019

Read more from…  StudentsEducators  * Parents


Elementary School Students Say…

“When I get frustrated, I don’t take it out on other people anymore.”

“When I have a test I worry but I breathe to calm down.”

“When people are saying mean things about me, I use heartfulness.”

“I learned to apologize in Peace Class.”

“I can use the tools I have learned to understand why I am upset.”

“Thank you for teaching me how to be mindful and stop and think about what is happening around me and inside my brain. Mindfulness has shown me things that are incredible it has helped me through hard things. My anger issues used to be a lot worse and I wasn’t the nicest. I was rude! BUT MINDFULNESS helped me.”

“It is important to learn about peace as a kid so when you grow up you know what to do when you get in an argument or what to do that is right.”

“I can calm myself down by being mindful.”

“My mom wanted me to do my homework but I did not want to. I remember the stories we had about flipping your lid so I cleaned up and went to do my work.”

“When I get angry, I think about flipping my lid and trying to back down.”

“I use mindful breathing when I argue with my sister to get calm.”

“I use Take Five breathing when I am in a conflict with my brother”

“Without Peace Class I wouldn’t have learned how to breathe to feel better. Peace class helps me personally.”

“If you get into a problem or get angry, you know how to solve them. When you feel stressed, you know what to do.”

“Peace Class makes me feel safe because if I did not have Peace Class, I would flip my lid and everything would go wrong.


Middle School Students Say…

“Mindfulness is so much more than just breathing in and breathing out. It’s a mindset.”  

“Learning about controlling my actions and speech helped me when transitioning from elementary school to middle school because sometimes I am stressed out from assignments, or just mad because I missed the bus and I want to lash out and express my feelings. My amigdala is starting to control my brain. But when I have those moments, I think about the THINK test and if what I say or do will hurt someone. So, I take some deep breaths and calm myself down.”

“It [Peace of Mind] made it so I don’t get so mad that I just give up, so that I can actually get better.”

“Trust me, if every school in the world had peace class, then the world would be a better place. I used to do the mindfulness practice without really paying attention to what I was doing (if that makes sense) but then when I actually paid attention, I realize that the outcomes are amazing. So, I think every school should have a peace class.”

“Middle schools should have a program like Peace of Mind because they are transitioning from elementary school and not getting as much help as before which could be different and hard to get used to. Also, there are more assignments and homework which could be stressful because in elementary school there were not as many tests so breathing to calm down could be helpful. Finally, there are more, older, and new people which could be overwhelming and uncomfortable … so lessons in peace class could guide you through social conflict.”


Educators Say…

“Finding quality, accessible, purposeful resources that have an immediate and positive impact on learners is a school leader’s persistent goal. This Peace of Mind Curriculum achieves that aim as it provides educators with a set of teacher-developed-and-tested lessons that build a foundation of respect for self and other. ”

Principal Liz Whisnant, Horace Mann Elementary School (public), Washington DC

“As we prepared to open DC’s newest middle school, we knew it was critically important to plan for intentional social-emotional learning opportunities. Many developmental psychologists recommend meditation and mindfulness practices to be taught to adolescent students as their bodies and brains continue to grow and change. We were thrilled to partner with the Peace of Mind team to bring the curriculum to our middle school students in our inaugural year! As our students learn and practice self-regulation and conflict resolution strategies from the curriculum, we know it will support their well-balanced development and achievement in all areas of life.”

Principal Megan Vroman, Ida B. Wells Middle School (public) Washington DC

“We want our children to master their academics but we equally want them to master being good citizens who care about one another and the world at large. The Peace Program does just that. In an age where bullying has become a major problem, the Program is proactive instead of reactive, thereby eliminating some of those problems before they begin…

Jackie Snowden, Assistant Principal

“This is an extraordinary curriculum, at once practical and visionary. The lessons are thoughtfully and meticulously scaffolded as the children are guided step-by-step into an understanding of how their brains work, how to interact with the world with kindness, and how to master themselves. In this age of anxiety, what could be more important or valuable than to teach children at an early age how to interpret and navigate their big emotions, calm themselves, and by extension, each other? A must-read for early education teachers everywhere.”

Val Carroll, Early Childhood Arts Integration Educator, Washington DC

“When I am overwhelmed or frustrated with the kids, I’ve been able to say “I’m going to take a mindful moment so I can be more careful before I respond.” and the kids have really respected that, now that they see it and try it.”

Elementary Educator, Washington DC

“I use Peace of Mind every day in my classroom not only because it supports my own personal meditation practice, but also because I have seen the positive impact it has had on my students over the past six years. Peace of Mind should be in every classroom in America because every child will benefit from looking inward, understanding themselves, and sharing their positivity with others.”

Jared Catapano, Fourth Grade Teacher, Washington DC Public School

“The Peace program works. We have been able to see the difference between the students’ ability to handle conflicts over the years and we have seen improvement. We hear the language that Ms. Ryden teaches out on the playground. We see kids doing nice things for their kindness pals which gives them real life practice to show them how good it feels to be nice. Kids listen. They really do.  “Mindful movement” supports the school’s focus on controlled voices and bodies.”

Lisa Jensen and Blake Yedwab, Third Grade Teachers, Washington DC

“The Peace program has really helped my students over the past few years. I teach children with special needs.  I have seen the program’s principles at work every time I teach my students. I also believe that having this program has allowed my students to be more included. In short, we have a nicer school and students go out of their way to make my students feel welcome. I believe the Peace program has played a part in this.

Kerry Cassidy, Special Education Teacher

“The program carries over to the classroom in several ways…..The instances of bullying are down as children understand the scope of what bullying is.”

Brad Jewett, Fifth Grade Teacher, DC Public Elementary School

Students at Lafayette are demonstrating increasing skills in working as a team and supporting each other. There is a very positive and cooperative “vibe” … at Lafayette, and I attribute that in part to Lafayette’s unique Peace program. “

Laurie McLaughlin, Art Teacher, DC Public Elementary School

“I have been very impressed with the Peace Program …. I can tell you as a psychologist who has worked in DCPS for 22 years, this is one of the calmest buildings I have ever been in. I do believe that your program has had a big part to do with that.”

Harriet Kuhn, School Psychologist, DC Public Schools

Parents Say…

“We use Peace class in our family all the time. The kids use it and then they help us use it.”  – 

“It [Peace of Mind] helped my daughter navigate some thorny social dynamics.”

“I can see my son step back and breathe when he is facing a difficult situation and I know he is using ideas he learned from Peace of Mind to help himself.”

“I loved the peace buddies and the mentoring opportunities. My son loved teaching younger students.”

“Thank you so much. I think it is a fabulous program. It is very hard to convince adults that peace and conflict resolution are learned processes. Peace is built upon moment-to-moment decisions. It is best to introduce these techniques to children early. I’m very impressed by the Peace [of Mind] Program (and grateful.)”

“We are beyond grateful to have this program. Thank you so much. Keep it going!”

“Thanks. It’s been very useful for our daughter. She has found a place to be and some good tools to use when her temper runs of with her!”

“This program has made a big difference in my son’s life by giving him tools to use to calm himself and respond to stress and conflict. This has helped him academically and socially.”

“Peace class has given us as a family a way to talk about mindfulness in a common language.”

Results of Spring 2018 Parent Survey

“I believe that if there were someone like Ms. Ryden in each elementary school across America, we would likely see a wholesale reduction in bullying and juvenile crime. The value that the Peace program provides to the Lafayette community is immeasurable.” – Sam Frumkin, third grade parent

“Peace Class teaches our children how to be part of a community that is kind, cooperative, intelligent and emotionally healthy.” – Janet Zwick, fourth grade parent and third grade teacher

“How lucky we are to be able to provide such a positive and uplifting program for our children… Lessons of conflict resolution and self-control are an invaluable tool for our children now and in the future… I am happy, through the fundraising efforts of the HSA, that we can provide our children with resources like the Peace [of Mind] Program.” – Kerrie Bouker, fifth and second grade parent

“I was co-president of the HSA …when Linda Ryden approached us with the idea of a Peace Program. At that time, the kids in the school were very “cliquey”.  There was also a rise in bullying within the school. Although the HSA board at the time was unfamiliar with a Peace Program, it seemed to be a wonderful solution to the problems that the school was facing. Since the program was implemented, bullying has not been a large issue. There is much greater spirit of kindness and concern within the student body. ” – Kim Ford, second grade parent

“In a world where many of our children believe that community only exists online and where communication with others can only happen through monosyllabic words exchanged on a small screen, we need the Peace Program at Lafayette. Our students do recognize real warmth, generosity, kindness, and yes, even real community, when they are given the opportunity to experience it and celebrate it!” – Jenny Nachbar, third grade parent

“A couple of years ago, I was able to witness how students are able to use what they learn in the Peace class. I was a monitor during recess when I noticed two fourth graders get into a heated argument to the point of it getting physical. I was trying to resolve the issue when a fourth grader who knew both of them interceded. He calmly talked to them both, asking both what had happened, how they were feeling and mentioning the “conflict escalator”. I was able to stand back and observe while he helped the two boys resolve the issue and even got them to shake hands.  – Maria Petaros and David Engvall, fourth-grade parents

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