School for Early Development and Achievement  SEDA-Logo-JPEG

                                         

                                                                SEDA and Mindfulness


During the 2013-14 school year, the School for Early Development and Achievement (SEDA), has partnered with Dr. Astrida Kaugars from Marquette University's Psychology Department to implement and evaluate interventions that promote developing elementary school-age children's mindfulness awareness and executive functioning skills.  Mindfulness awareness practices help individuals be attuned to and receptive of present experiences.  Executive functioning skills include abilities such as controlling attention and processing information in order to carry out goal-directed activities.  Throughout the 2013-14 school year, students at SEDA received training in mindfulness awareness in their classrooms.

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To implement mindfulness as part of each child's day, SEDA used the MindUp Curriculum.  MindUp™ is a research-based program that is composed of 15 lessons based in neuroscience.  Students learn to self-regulate behavior and mindfully engage in the focused concentration required for academic success.  Many children are facing a multitude of stressful, and at times, traumatic events. 

Teaching students how to self-regulate not only improves their academic performance but also increases their social and emotional compentencies by enhancing their ability to view events through a multitude of perspectives, developing empathy and kindness and fostering problem solving skills.

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 Photo1_core practive   Photo4_1st 2nd graders core practice 

To fully implement mindfulness throughout the school, the staff and families of SEDA also took part in mindfulness training.  Dr. Kaugars lead monthly teacher professional development sessions to support program implementation and Jennifer Wilson of New Leaf Coaching and Consulting guided the staff through understanding and developing mindful practice at monthly mindfulness trainings for school staff.  Parents also participated in monthly sessions with Jennifer to learn about mindfulness, its impact on their brains, and how the practices can help in their day-to-day interactions with their children.

While the formal data is in the process of being collected and analyzed, the staff has noticed a marked improvement in many students' ability to work with the staff to regulate themselves.  Many of the staff and parents have also expressed a deeper awareness in how they cope and react to daily stresses and find using the core practice and being aware of emotions and the importance of being in the moment is making a positive impact in their lives.

For more information about the School for Early Development and Achievement, please call 414-937-2059, or visit the website at mcfi.net/SEDA.htm.