Mindfulness in K-12 education: a case study approach exploring the implementation and sustainability of school mindfulness programs
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Mindfulness practices are increasingly being implemented in schools across the United States. Due to the relatively nascent nature of the research on the impact of mindfulness on youth, it is critical to gain a deeper understanding of how mindfulness interventions work. Further, there is scant research on the implementation and sustainability of school mindfulness programs. This deficit in our knowledge makes it difficult to understand the process of bringing mindfulness programs into schools, preventing researchers and practitioners from ascertaining how implementation affects outcomes. This qualitative study is comprised of two case studies that explore the goals, successes, and challenges of implementing school mindfulness programs. The first case features a non-profit organization that provides mindfulness programming to school districts; the second focuses on the perspectives of administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, and mental health professionals from a school district that has employed mindfulness practices for over a decade. Findings suggest that implementing mindfulness practices in schools is a complex process involving multiple stakeholders, significant planning, staff training, and noteworthy challenges, such as the lack of clarity when defining program goals.