Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Nudging children with mindfulness training

From Neil Henderson

"Youngsters at Tanshall Primary School are among the first pupils in Scotland to have gained a unique new qualification.

For the group of classmates have just completed an eight-week ‘mindfulness’ course which has given the children the ability to cope with a multitude of different situations."

"Entitled the .b programme, it helps to increase the children’s well-being and learning, has already been endorsed by Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and was conducted by teacher Christine Carson, who is currently also studying for a masters degree in the subject at Aberdeen University."

"Our world is becoming more complex everyday with rapid change impacting on all our lives, the question is are our young people psychologically prepared not just to survive but, to thrive in such a fast changing world," said Christine."

"The ‘.b programme’, which the pupils have recently completed, has been developed as a programme for the pupils to explore for themselves how the mind operates."

"Through Christine’s experiential teaching the children learned skills that allowed them (to) approach situations through training their minds. ..."

"And while the Tanshall pupils are among the first in Scotland to benefit from the course, the concept of mindfulness is already used by the NHS as an alternative to medication in the treatment of anxiety and depression."

Notice how ideas about learning and wellbeing are converging in the classroom so that schools are becoming more and more therapeutic environments. There have been a few warnings:
(P)sychiatrists have now sounded a warning that as well as bringing benefits, mindfulness meditation can have troubling side-effects. Evidence is also emerging of underqualified teachers presenting themselves as mindfulness experts, including through the NHS.

Jeannie Georges recognises an ulterior motive for bringing `mindfulness` into the classroom:
Because children enter school with beliefs and values they have learned at home, there is an emphasis on `cleaning the slate,` emptying the child`s mind before addressing their attitudes. Children are taught how to relax and clear their minds of their thoughts to achieve an altered state of consciousness. (mindfulness) In this way they become more receptive to unconscious processes, a skill they will carry into adulthood.

It should be taken seriously:

"The Behavioural Insights Team – also known as the Nudge Unit – is now a social purpose company. It is partly owned by the Cabinet Office, employees and Nesta. For more information, please visit the Behavioural Insights Team’s website"

"The Behavioural Insights Team, often called the ‘Nudge Unit’, applies insights from academic research in behavioural economics and psychology to public policy and services."

"In addition to working with almost every government department, (they) work with local authorities, charities, NGOs, private sector partners and foreign government, developing proposals and testing them empirically across the full spectrum of government policy."

See their `Mindfulness in schools` campaign and expect to see more of this appearing in schools:

See also


  1. Thanks for share this good information here. Relax and keep the mindfulness on your in breath and out. Practice mindfulness meditation besides let your brain be calm also improve your information. I learn mindfulness meditation from the guru with above 30 years’ practical knowledge named Ajahn Wimoak. We've record his instructing in MP3 and share around my blog. Feel free check out my blog as well as download his MP3 teaching free of charge at:

  2. Thanks for sharing this information.

    I did try meditation some years ago and I can testify through my own experience that it does work. I decided not to continue with the practice because I found myself becoming too absorbed in my inner world for my taste. I prefer to deal with real life problems even though that might be stressful. The point was I was an adult at the time and I had a choice.

    I am against mindfulness being imposed on children at school without parental consent.

    As you have pointed out, for adults interested in mindfulness it is important to engage with people who have had plenty of experience.