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S. Benvenuti1, R. Navarro Torres2

1UniversitĂ  di Camerino (ITALY)
2Mindful Barcelona (SPAIN)
Developing healthy habits of mind through managing emotions and being able to recognize, accept and let go of thoughts that put the person in a ruminating mode is something very important to stay healthy and have well being. Mindfulness can provide a base for that. Besides, the fact that developing a healthy mind through the practice of Mindfulness improves the ability to develop empathy and compassion too.

Children need to learn how to develop these healthy habits at school, but it is also very important that parents know how to perform this function at home too. In this way, parents grow the capacity to be a healthy mirror for their children, as well as taking care of their own minds. The same thing can be applied to teachers, who spend long hours with children. They also need to know how to handle the situation where emotions come into place and where managing them is crucial. As well as expanding the attitude of listening to others, having compassion toward others and respecting others. All that together will lead to a good example to be taken by the children.
This is why working with children at school age is a big opportunity, but parents and teachers should be taken into account too as part of the solution.

We would like to study the impact of only children and teachers having mindulness vs. children, teachers and parents and make a quantitative and qualitative assessment of this change, thinking in terms of empathy, compassion, kindness, concentration, reactivity, performance and stress level. In our last intervention in a school with students and teachers, we had the opportunity to introduce some of the families to Mindfulness too. The change we could observe was much bigger in these children whose parents were also taking Mindfulness than the ones who were not. This is why we decided that I wanted to study and measure the impact of only children and teachers having mindulness vs. children, teachers and parents. Besides that, it was very difficult to enhance the practice of children if they didn’t have a follow-up at home. Mindfulness as a community matter, I think can have a much greater effect than just working with a part of this community.

This insight opened the chance to make a further study to determine how true this is and maybe develop a tool (test) to measure this change through Mindfulness in students, teachers and families.

There are two different interventions, depending on the age:
1. The intervention with children takes sixteen sessions of half an hour per session. It is done twice a week at school. Children are from 6-12 years old. They do not need to move from class if they do not have the possibility. Each week, they are given a Mindfulness practice to be done daily and some questions to be answered in a diary.
2. The intervention with adults (teachers and parents) takes eight weeks plus an 8hr retreat, usually over the weekend. There is a weekly session of two and a half hours and they are given Mindfulness practices and exercises to be done every day (approximately one hour of time). Groups are of between 10 and 15 people.

Adults are given a stress test in week 2 and week 8 to see the change in their stress level. They are also given a Mindfulness test.
Children are given a Mindfulness test.