By Rita Benn, PhD
Co-founder of the Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education (MC4ME)

In the last decade, the importance of mindfulness for education has been gaining a foothold. There is growing recognition that mindfulness training can help prepare children to effectively navigate the challenges of living in a complex world that is changing ever so quickly, and mitigate adverse effects from this uncertainty, and the anxiety resulting from peer, family or self-imposed academic pressures.

Mindfulness training gives students lifelong skills they can use to self-regulate their emotions and behaviors, and understand and accept themselves.

MC4ME provides mindfulness training throughout Michigan primarily to schools – principals, teachers, mental health providers, and students. Mindfulness is a trending buzzword for sure. There now exists more than 30 years of scientific evidence showing mindfulness training to have positive benefits for reducing stress and enhancing health and well-being. Mindfulness training involves learning how to engage our natural capacity to pay attention in the present moment, with full awareness, kindness, and equanimity. While simple in theory, incorporating mindfulness into our way of being is not easy.

To gain skills in mindfulness, students need educators who know how to model and teach these practices. MC4ME provides various programs to help staff and students engage in mindfulness. Testimonials and formal evaluations we have conducted of our trainings consistently show high impact on reducing stress as well as improving overall mental health in students and teachers.

There is a plethora of wonderful books and digital apps available that provide information and instruction in mindfulness. Like any new skill, becoming mindful takes time and patience as well as the intention and commitment to practice.

Many workplaces, including Google, General Mills, and Aetna, have rolled out mindfulness programs. 

During this period of COVID-19, with so much physical isolation and uncertainty over our safety and well-being, mindfulness practice is invaluable. It can provide a sense of groundedness and stability.

Our board at the Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education is very grateful to QLTD for helping us redesign our brand and website. When MC4ME formed as a non-profit six years ago, we developed our website ourselves. We definitely felt that we were overdue for a new look. We had grown considerably, in terms of our vision and in terms of the information we wish to share about our programs and resources. We knew too that, with the explosion of social media, it was important that we get our messaging better integrated and aligned across the various platforms. 

I am very grateful to have worked with QLTD. It has been a pleasure to get to know the staff, all of whom I found to be lovely, caring and dedicated to their work. Emily and Christine, my two main contacts, were an absolute delight to work with – accommodating the limitations of our budget with their generosity, and the many tweaks and work-arounds that came up during the process with kindness and clarity. 

Together, we co-created the inviting and inspirational website that I envisioned for MC4ME. And our board was thrilled with the product!

I was delighted to offer the staff at QLTD the opportunity to experience mindfulness training. Throughout the three months that we worked together, I guided the staff in a formal practice session once per week. After each session, the staff typically reported feeling re-centered and refreshed, ready to move forward with their day. Hopefully now that that they have completed their work with MC4ME, they will remember to practice and at least take a few mindful moments throughout the day to replenish and refocus their creativity to the projects at hand.

If you are interested in mindfulness in education, explore our website, like us on Facebook, and help support our work with a donation.