Title: Development of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Preschoolers
Stream: Mind, Brain & Psychology: Human Emotional & Cognitive Development & Outcomes within Educational Contexts
Presentation Type: Poster Presentation
Korinne Louison, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Samidha Maharaj, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Je Line Garcia, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Murella Sambucharan-Mohammed, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Mindfulness is an ancient meditative practice which has demonstrated therapeutic utility in enhancing mental and physical health. Increasingly, mindfulness activities have been incorporated into curricular activities as a way of promoting academic and social emotional development among students. The benefits of mindful practice include improving emotional regulation skills and scaffolding a state of calmness in times of distress for children and families and decreasing emotional reactivity and rumination by increasing present-centred-attention. For young learners, this practice offers potential health and well-being benefits at the individual level, stronger interpersonal relationships, and greater collective responsiveness overall.
The wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 education disruptions on students in Trinidad and Tobago have been an ongoing source of concern. We explored how mindfulness interventions, administered during pandemic school closure, in an online environment, could be used to help address the social and emotional needs of preschoolers, aged 3 to 5 years old. The objectives of the intervention were to help build mindful practice, self-regulatory skills and socioemotional competence using highly engaging and interactive lessons, exercises, skits and animation. Topics included deep breathing, body and sense awareness, mindful eating, recognizing emotions, coping with difficult circumstances and cultivating love and kindness.
The preschoolers were observed to grasp the presented concepts and apply the mindfulness practices to simulated and real-life scenarios. Both teachers and parents endorsed the content of the intervention program. The pilot programme has potential to serve as a guide for an Early Childhood Education Mindfulness Curriculum tailored to the Caribbean context.
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