Center researchers are evaluating a mindfulness-based curriculum for 4-year-old pre-kindergarten students.
Our goal is to assess the feasibility and effects of implementing this "Kindness Curriculum," which includes lessons in focused attention, breathing practices, movement exercises to develop awareness, books related to themes of kindness and caring, and activities that provide children with the opportunity to demonstrate acts of kindness toward one another.
Classroom teachers in active training groups have the option of being trained in a modified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, while their students receive the Kindness Curriculum over a 12-week period (with 2-3 lessons per week, each lasting approximately 20 minutes). The children are assessed before and after training through computerized tasks of attention that measure their performance based on accuracy and response times. In addition, measures of working memory, peer relationships, teacher-perceived social competence and sharing are administered in individual testing sessions.
Initial findings indicate that children who took part in the Kindness Curriculum showed improved response times on computer measures of attention and larger gains in social competence compared to the children who did not receive the curriculum.