2021 Mindfulness Workshop Starting in October 2021


    • Experiential, interactive, mindfulness-based training to teach age-appropriate practices, skills, activities, and Lovingkindness practices to “all” children & teens, Pre-K through grade 12.
    • Deep dive into your own understanding of mindfulness and effective training for youth which is different from teaching adults.
    • Comprehensive exploration of current critical issues & questions facing educators, mental health counselors, professionals serving youth, teens and children today:
• Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
• Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Mental Health & Resilience
• Non-violent Communication
• Addictions
• Racism
• Discrimination
• Resolving Conflict
  • Prior completion of the MBSR or MBCT Program (or equivalent training) is required. Space is limited.

Science of Mindfulness


Video link here: Harvard Gazette


SCIENTIFIC BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS

According to Mindfulness Research Monthly  neuroscience research on the benefits of mindfulness has become more prolific. In recent years there has been a surge in NIH-funded research trials in the U.S. In 2008, even the U.S. Department of Defense began using mindfulness practice as part of its treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (link). According to Black (2010), a meta-analytic review by Sawyer, Witt and Oh in 2010 found that mindfulness-based therapies had a dramatic effect on improving both depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness-Based Training for Adults

Research among the scientific community has grown exponentially with researchers from leading institutions around the world including “Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Oxford, Cambridge, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and others” leading the way. Numerous studies now show that mindfulness practice can have a profound impact on our emotional wellbeing, physical health, ability to cope with stress and challenges, relationships, and performance.

Brain scanning technologies reveal that not only does the activity of the brain change from moment to moment but the actual structure of the brain itself can change. New synaptic connections can form among brain cells and new brain cells can develop. Practice has been shown to lead to growth of key brain regions associated with emotional regulation, concentration and self-control, as well as reductions in grey-matter density, the area of the brain central to the stress response, fear and anxiety.

blue brain scan image
blue brain scan image

Mindfulness-Based Training for M-DCPS Teachers and Counselors

In the 2015-2016 school year a research study was conducted on a Professional Development Pilot Program for Miami-Dade County Public School Teachers and Administrators based on the Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program, the MBSR adaptation developed and taught by Valerie York-Zimmerman beginning in 2002.

As Founder of, Executive Director, and Senior Trainer for Mindful Kids Miami, from its inception through 2016, Valerie taught the 200 teachers and mental health school counselors from 100 schools who participated in the Pilot Program during the 2015-2016 school year. Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is the 4th largest and one of the most diverse districts in the U.S. (source)

The study was a research collaboration led by David J. Lee, Ph.D., University of Miami’s Department of Public Health Sciences, Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, and Tarek Chebbi, Ed.D., Chair, Research Review Committee of M-DCPS.

Study description and conclusions were included in a project supervised by Dr. David Lee in the UMass REDCap System collaborative study entitled “Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on the Well-Being of Educators.” It was a UM Medical School IRB and Miami-Dade County Public Schools approved study, which objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness training on teachers and administrators that participated in the 8-week Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program training.  The Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on the Well-Being of Educators study was embedded in the IJ-MBSR Program as a pilot program for Miami-Dade County Public Schools Professional Development and Evaluation.

Study results suggest improvements in self-compassion and mindfulness, and decreased levels of anxiety in individuals that participated in the IJ-MBSR 8-week program. These findings are consistent with previous research on the benefits of mindfulness practice.

Other Research Studies on the IJ-MBSR Program for Adults

During the two years prior to the M-DCPS IJ-MBSR Pilot Program, research studies with adult participants in all of the Inner Journey~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Programs taught by Valerie York-Zimmerman were overseen and evaluated by Sharon Theroux, Ph.D., neuropsychologist and founder of the South Florida Center for Mindfulness.  Pre- and Post- Surveys which included the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), Zung Anxiety Scale, and Self-Compassion Surveys were conducted.

Analysis of the data from all adult participants in the IJ-MBSR trainings resulted in significant improvements in each area: reduced anxiety, increased compassion, and improved mindfulness.

The Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) measures improvements associated with positive well-being something that is necessary to help reduce burnout. Higher scores in the observing facet are associated with good psychological adjustment. (Baer, 2008).  The five facets are:

1. Observe surroundings
2. Describe thoughts and emotions
3. Act with awareness
4. Be non-judgmental
5. Be non-reactive in day-to-day life

Mindfulness-Based Training for Children

The body of research on mindfulness training for children and teens continues to grow. There is now evidence to show the impact which mindfulness has on the prefrontal cortex and interconnections involved in attention, working memory, executive function, emotional and behavioral regulation, all of which are relevant to academic, psychological and social well-being and the success of youth today.

Several more prominent school-based interventions (Napoli, 2002; Napoli, 2004; Napoli, Rock Krech, and Holley, 2005; Flook et al. 2010;   Rechtschaffen and Cohen, 2010) focused on mindfulness training for elementary school students. Linda Lantieri’s work in New York City after 9/11 with children in crises culminated in interventions for students and teachers (Lantieri and Goleman, 2008). Willingham (2011) notes that teachers who use emotion regulation skills in their classrooms can improve the self-control capacities of their students.

In the 2011-2012 school year, Mindful Schools partnered with the University of California at Davis to conduct the largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness involving 915 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public elementary schools in a high crime area.  Substantive behavioral improvements were apparent after just six weeks of training.

Mindfulness teachers in the study had a strong mindfulness background, which is a key determinant of success when teaching mindfulness.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn stated in an article in Mindful, February 2014:

The brain science has become very rigorous. A lot of credit obviously goes to Richie Davidson in his lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. Their work is unique and focuses on both basic science and translational research, which takes place in real-life settings such as Madisonâ’s public schools.

Mindfulness for Children (NY Times Well)

Children of all ages can benefit from mindfulness, the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. It can help parents and caregivers, too, by promoting happiness and relieving stress. Here, we offer basic tips for children and adults of all ages, as well as several activities that develop compassion, focus, curiosity and empathy. And remember, mindfulness can be fun.

What Is Mindfulness, and Why Do Kids Need It?

From our earliest moments, mindfulness can help minimize anxiety and increase happiness.

HOW IT HELPS

Adversity comes at us from the moment we are born. Infants get hungry and tired. Toddlers grapple with language and self-control. And as children develop through adolescence to become teenagers, life grows ever more complicated. Developing relationships, navigating school and exercising independence — the very stuff of growing up — naturally creates stressful situations for every child.

At each developmental stage, mindfulness can be a useful tool for decreasing anxiety and promoting happiness. Mindfulness — a simple technique that emphasizes paying attention to the present moment in an accepting, nonjudgmental manner — has emerged as a popular mainstream practice in recent decades. It is being taught to executives at corporations, athletes in the locker room, and increasingly, to children both at home and in school.

EARLY HABITS

Children are uniquely suited to benefit from mindfulness practice. Habits formed early in life will inform behaviors in adulthood, and with mindfulness, we have the opportunity to give our children the habit of being peaceful, kind and accepting.

Copyright © 2015 The New York Times Co.

Read more:  https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/mindfulness-for-children/

Research and Science of Mindfulness

According to Mindfulness Research Monthly (Black, 2010), neuroscience research on the benefits of mindfulness has become more prolific. In recent years there has been a surge in NIH-funded research trials in the U.S. In 2008, even the U.S. Department of Defense began using mindfulness practice as part of its treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to Black (2010), a meta-analytic review by Sawyer, Witt and Oh in 2010 found that mindfulness-based therapies had a dramatic effect on improving both depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness-Based Training for Adults

Research among the scientific community has grown exponentially with researchers from leading institutions around the world including – Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Oxford, Cambridge, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and others – leading the way. Numerous studies now show that mindfulness practice can have a profound impact on our emotional wellbeing, physical health, ability to cope with stress and challenges, relationships, and performance.

Brain scanning technologies reveal that not only does the activity of the brain change from moment to moment but the actual structure of the brain itself can change. New synaptic connections can form among brain cells and new brain cells can develop. Practice has been shown to lead to growth of key brain regions associated with emotional regulation, concentration and self-control, as well as reductions in grey-matter density, the area of the brain central to the stress response, fear and anxiety.

Mindfulness-Based Training for M-DCPS Teachers and Counselors

In the 2015-2016 school year a research study was conducted on a Professional Development Pilot Program for Miami-Dade County Public School Teachers and Administrators based on the Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program, the MBSR adaptation developed and taught by Valerie York-Zimmerman beginning in 2002.

As Founder of, Executive Director, and Senior Trainer for Mindful Kids Miami, from its inception through 2016, Valerie taught the 200 teachers and mental health school counselors from 100 schools who participated in the Pilot Program during the 2015-2016 school year. Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is the 3rd largest and one of the most diverse districts in the U.S.

The study was a research collaboration led by David J. Lee, Ph.D., University of Miami’s Department of Public Health Sciences, Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, and Tarek Chebbi, Ed.D., Chair, Research Review Committee of M-DCPS.

Study description and conclusions were included in a project supervised by Dr. David Lee in the UM – UMass REDCap System collaborative study entitled “Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on the Well-Being of Educators.”  It was a UM Medical School IRB and Miami-Dade County Public Schools approved study, which objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness training on teachers and administrators that participated in the 8-week  Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program training.  The “Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on the Well-Being of Educators” study was embedded in the IJ-MBSR Program as a pilot program for Miami-Dade County Public Schools Professional Development and Evaluation.

These results suggest improvements in self-compassion and mindfulness, and decreased levels of anxiety in individuals that participated in the IJ-MBSR 8 week program. These findings are consistent with previous research on the benefits of mindfulness practice.

Other Research Studies on the IJ-MBSR Program for Adults

During the two years prior to the M-DCPS IJ-MBSR Pilot Program, research studies with adult participants in all of the Inner Journey~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Programs taught by Valerie York-Zimmerman were overseen and evaluated by Sharon Theroux, Ph.D., neuro-psychologist and founder of the South Florida Center for Mindfulness.  Pre- and Post- Surveys which included the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), Zung Anxiety Scale, and Self-Compassion Surveys were conducted.

Analysis of the data from all adult participants in the IJ-MBSR trainings resulted in significant improvements in each area: reduced anxiety, increased compassion, and improved mindfulness.

The Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) measures improvements associated with positive well-being something that is necessary to help reduce burnout. Higher scores in the “observing” facet are associated with good psychological adjustment. (Baer, 2008).  The five facets are:

1. Observe surroundings
2. Describe thoughts and emotions
3. Act with awareness
4. Be non-judgmental
5. Be non-reactive in day-to-day life

Mindfulness-Based Training for Children

The body of research on mindfulness training for children and teens continues to grow. There is now evidence to show the impact which mindfulness has on the prefrontal cortex and interconnections involved in attention, working memory, executive function, emotional and behavioral regulation, all of which are relevant to academic, psychological and social well-being and the success of youth today.

Several more prominent school-based interventions (Napoli, 2002; Napoli, 2004; Napoli, Rock Krech, and Holley, 2005; Flook et al. 2010;  Rechtschaffen and Cohen, 2010) focused on mindfulness training for elementary school students. Linda Lantieri’s work in New York City after 9/11 with children in crises culminated in interventions for students and teachers (Lantieri and Goleman, 2008). Willingham (2011) notes that teachers who use emotion regulation skills in their classrooms can improve the self-control capacities of their students.

In the 2011-2012 school year, Mindful Schools partnered with the University of California at Davis to conduct the largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness involving 915 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public elementary schools in a high crime area.  Substantive behavioral improvements were apparent after just six weeks of training.

Mindfulness teachers in the study had a strong mindfulness background, which is a key determinant of success when teaching mindfulness.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn stated in an article in Mindful, February 2014,

“The brain science has become very rigorous. A lot of credit obviously goes to Richie Davidson in his lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. Their work is unique and focuses on both basic science and translational research, which takes place in real-life settings such as Madison’s public schools.”

When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom (The Atlantic)

MINDFUL SCHOOLS

Read the original 2015 article at The Atlantic

BY LAUREN CASSANI DAVIS  © The Atlantic

Many educators are introducing meditation into the classroom as a means of improving kids’ attention and emotional regulation.

A five-minute walk from the rickety, raised track that carries the 5 train through the Bronx, the English teacher Argos Gonzalez balanced a rounded metal bowl on an outstretched palm. His class—a mix of black and Hispanic students in their late teens, most of whom live in one of the poorest districts in New York City—by now were used to the sight of this unusual object: a Tibetan meditation bell.“Today we’re going to talk about mindfulness of emotion,” Gonzalez said with a hint of a Venezuelan accent. “You guys remember what mindfulness is?” Met with quiet stares, Gonzalez gestured to one of the posters pasted at the back of the classroom, where the students a few weeks earlier had brainstormed terms describing the meaning of “mindfulness.” There were some tentative mumblings: “being focused,” “being aware of our surroundings.”Gonzalez nodded. “Right. But it’s also being aware of our feelings, our emotions, and how they impact us.”

Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy is what is known in New York City as a transfer school, a small high school designed to re-engage students who have dropped out or fallen behind. This academy occupies two floors of a hulking, grey building that’s also home to two other public schools. For the most part, Gonzalez told me, the kids who come here genuinely want to graduate, but attendance is their biggest barrier to success. On the day I visited, one of Gonzalez’s students had just been released from jail; one recently had an abortion; one had watched a friend bleed to death from a gunshot wound the previous year. Between finding money to put food on the table and dealing with unstable family members, these students’ minds are often crowded with concerns more pressing than schoolwork.

Still holding the bowl, Gonzalez continued with the day’s lesson. “I’m going to say a couple of words to you. You’re not literally going to feel that emotion, but the word is going to trigger something, it’s going to make you think of something or feel something. Try to explore it.”

Read the original 2015 article at The Atlantic

Copyright © 2015 The Atlantic

The One Quality You Must Instill In Your Child (Huffington Post)

By Amanda McCorquodale

Published (c) 2013 The Huffington Post, November 2013

Teachers and parents: What if we told you you were only 10 minutes away from having studious, focused, well-adjusted, compassionate, and happy children?

Some researchers say the secret is mindfulness, a daily meditative practice that emphasizes bringing one’s complete attention to the present moment.

Enter Mindful Kids Miami, a non-profit working to introduce mindfulness into Miami-Dade public schools, oncology wards, and centers that serve abused children and their families.

In the years since, she has trained teachers to reduce children’s stress and combat over-stimulation by bringing their focus to their direct experience as they become aware of physical sensations such as breathing.

“Children and teens are experiencing much higher levels of stress today,” York-Zimmerman told The Huffington Post. “And stress impairs the ability to learn and effects executive function in the brain. Executive function correlates with working memory, emotional regulation, resilience, and socially appropriate behavior – all important functions in development and learning.”

Here are five ways a mindful child can benefit in the classroom and at home, according to York-Zimmerman:

    1. Mindfulness increases attention and focus that can result in higher academic achievement.
    2. Mindfulness reduces stress, allowing kids to learn more and perform better throughout the day.
    3. Mindfulness has been shown to improve kid’s impulse control, a benefit that can increase productive teaching time in the classroom.
    4. Mindfulness develops emotional regulation in turn teaching children to “respond” rather than “react.”
    5. Mindfulness builds empathy and compassion in children, cultivating greater tolerance of cultural, religious and sexual diversity; and reducing cruelty, bullying, and violence leading to safer and happier schools.
BREATHING BEAR PRACTICE MEDITATION
See below for Bear Breathing Practice, an example of the kind of activities York-Zimmerman uses at Mindful Kids Miami.

“It’s something teachers can do in the classroom and parents can do at night when putting a child to bed,” she said. “Even big kids like focusing on their breath with a lovable stuffed animal.”

Breathing Bear Practice:

Mindful Kids Miami has adorable, stuffed teddy bears wearing hoodies that have the MKM logo on the back and “BREATHE” on the front. These friendly bears help children to become aware of their breath, to relax, and to learn to breathe fully into their bellies.

Intention: To experience relaxation with your Breathing Bear.

Instructions:

    1. Ring the mindfulness chimes 3 times.
    2. Ask the children to lie down on their backs and put their Breathing Bear on their belly.
    3. Invite them to close their eyes if they are comfortable doing so. If not, almost close them. And see if they can feel their friendly bear resting on their belly.
    4. Now encourage the children to feel their breath flowing into and out from their nose.
    5. To feel their chest rising with each in-breath and falling with each out-breath.
    6. To notice if they can feel their belly moving up and down gently with each breath… feeling the belly expand and deflate slightly like a balloon with each breath.
    7. Now invite the children to focus on feeling their Breathing Bear riding on their belly.
    8. Seeing if they can take their Breathing Bear for a relaxing belly ride up and down.
    9. Invite them to notice if their Breathing Bear helps them to feel their breath.
    10. Continuing on in your own words if you like.
    11. Now invite the children to listen to the chimes with their mindful ears without moving until they can’t hear the chimes anymore.
    12. Ring the mindfulness chimes 3 times.