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Implementing mindfulness and yoga in urban schools: a community-academic partnership

Tamar Mendelson (Associate Professor, based at the Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Jacinda K. Dariotis (Assistant Professor, based at the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Laura Feagans Gould (Senior Project Director, based at SERVE Center, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Browns Summit, North Carolina, USA)
Ali S.R. Smith (Co-Founders of the Holistic Life Foundation Inc, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Atman A. Smith (Co-Founders of the Holistic Life Foundation Inc, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Andres A. Gonzalez (Co-Founders of the Holistic Life Foundation Inc, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Mark T. Greenberg (Professor of Human Development and Psychology and Director of the Prevention Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 29 November 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

Mindfulness-based interventions – which train capacities for attention, awareness, compassion, and self-regulation of thoughts and emotions – may offer unique benefits for urban youth exposed to chronic stress and adversity. Urban schools are promising settings in which to integrate mindfulness-based interventions; however, they pose complex challenges for intervention implementation and evaluation.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reflects on the experiences of our community-academic partnership conducting two school-based randomised trials on a mindfulness and yoga programme. The programme was developed by the Holistic Life Foundation and was delivered to middle school students in public schools serving disadvantaged urban communities.

Findings

This paper discusses barriers and facilitating factors related to effective intervention delivery and evaluation, presents recommendations for future work and reflects on the potential benefits of mindfulness-based practices for students, teachers and schools.

Originality/value

The paper offers a detailed account of challenges and opportunities associated with implementing mindfulness-based practices in urban school settings.

Keywords

Citation

Mendelson, T., K. Dariotis, J., Feagans Gould, L., S.R. Smith, A., A. Smith, A., A. Gonzalez, A. and T. Greenberg, M. (2013), "Implementing mindfulness and yoga in urban schools: a community-academic partnership", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 276-291. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-07-2013-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited