Largest Study on Mindfulness and Children Shows Significant Behavioral Improvement

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — In the 2011-12 school year, Mindful Schools partnered with the University of California, Davis to conduct the largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness and children, involving 915 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public elementary schools.

The Mindful Schools curriculum (which has been taught to over 30,000 children) produced statistically significant improvements in behavior versus the control group (shown in the graph) with just 4 hours of mindfulness instruction for the students–a very small, low-cost dose. Further instruction through teacher training could produce even more long-term benefit. A journal paper with additional analysis is upcoming.

The mindfulness teachers in the study had a strong mindfulness background, which is a key determinant of success when teaching mindfulness to others. Mindful Schools offers range of courses to help adults learn mindfulness and teach it to children.

In addition to the study’s size, it is notable for the population served and the environment around the schools. The accompanying diagram shows the very high level of crime around the three elementary schools that were studied — surroundings that add tremendous turmoil to children’s lives. In 2010, Oakland was ranked 5th in the United States in violent crime. In addition, 85% of the students in the study were on Free Lunch and 6% were on Reduced Lunch. 68% of the students were English Language Learners. 49% of the parents did not have high school diplomas.

Additional information about the study is available at

Mindful Schools would like to thank the S. H. Cowell Foundation and the Julia Burke Foundation for their generous support of this efficiently-conducted study. Parties interested in supporting future studies or the hiring of a dedicated research coordinator may contact Randima Fernando at research (at) mindfulschools (dot) org.


Mindful Schools is a non-profit organization that offers professional training, in-class instruction, and other resources to support secular mindfulness in education. Over 30,000 children have learned concentration, attention, and empathy from Mindful Schools staff and their trainees. Over 2,000 people in 37 U.S. states and 20 countries have taken Mindful Schools courses. Learn more at


Randima Fernando
Mindful Schools

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