Mindfulness For Young People: Developing Our Curriculum

We all have times when our thoughts and feelings get in the way and our worries take over, making it difficult to focus on what is really happening. Young people have the additional challenge of tackling phases of transition; these can be changing schools, their bodies and finding their place in society.

To help cope with these difficulties it’s important to be confident in finding a place of calm and stillness within ourselves.  Mindfulness can help us do

Now Unlimited wants to improve young people’s life chances by providing those in schools with opportunities to improve their their ability to learn and achieve by:

  • Recognising and accepting thoughts, feelings and body sensations as they arise
  • Developing a greater awareness of moods and habitual ways of thinking and acting
  • Learning how to identify and question thoughts as they arise
  • Learning how to develop a sense of calm and being at peace

We have worked with young people to co-create a 10-week mindfulness-based programme for young people, which contributes to their cognitive functioning and their social and emotional learning. The curriculum has been designed to integrate emotional and social skills development within each aspect of the programme, more specifically: self-awareness, collaborative working, understanding and managing feelings, and managing relationships.

The programme is delivered over 20 hours and covers the following topics:

  • How the brain works
  • How meditation affects the brain
  • Pressures and challenges and their impact on thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Paying attention and how this impacts on our experience
  • Helpful and unhelpful strategies for dealing with difficult emotions
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Personal values and living ethically

Young people are encouraged to create a portfolio of evidence that could be used to support the accreditation of their learning. From this experience we produced a resource called Signs and Survival which can be purchased here.