Mindful Impact, an Oakland-based organization that offers mindfulness training to predominantly underserved communities in an effort to promote social justice and educational equity, is coming to Urban Montessori Charter School.
Funded by an anonymous grant, the Mindful Impact program will provide mindfulness training to UMCS' faculty, staff and 230 students, beginning on February 18, 2014. Parents will have an opportunity to be exposed to the curriculum at our Spring Parent Night on February 26, 2014.
There is a sizeable body of research that shows that teaching children self-regulation skills improves academic outcomes. This partnership will enable us to equip children with a greater range of self-regulation skills. The Mindful Impact lessons will be a welcome addition to our social-emotional curriculum.
Montessori schools teach basic sitting and walking meditation lessons called "The Silence Game" and "Walking the Line." The opportunity to provide students with more mindfulness habits, skills and practices through working with Mindful Impact is a logical partnership.
Photos of UMCS kindergarten students practicing one of Maria Montessori's "Silence" lessons, in October 2013:
Mindful Impact is the latest creation of Laurie Grossman, who previously co-founded The Community Partnership for Mindfulness in Education, now known as Mindful Schools.
Laurie says, “While Mindfulness in Education is helpful in school, it is also an empowering life skill that immediately is used not only in the classroom but in kids’ lives outside the classroom.” As a result of her program, “52% of participating kids teach their families mindfulness. In urban schools, that number is higher. Kids recognize when their relatives and friends are having a hard time; they have a tool they know can help and they share it.”
Mindful Impact’s program in schools is an eight-week series of 16 lessons that teach students skills to increase attention, enhance their self-regulation, build community and reduce stress. One of the unusual benefits of the program is that it supports both students and teachers. “Many teachers have reported that their lives were changed by the program,” she says.
Urban Montessori is thrilled to be chosen as Mindful Impact’s latest school-based partner.
Find out more about Mindful Impact at www.mindfulimpact.com.
Urban Montessori Charter School is a K-8 public school located in Oakland near Mills College. The school is based on the teachings of Maria Montessori, in combination with Design Thinking and Arts Integration. Its mission is to develop self-directed and engaged learners who are academically, socially and emotionally prepared to succeed in any high school.
UMCS opened its doors in August 2012 with a student body reflective of the vast socio-economic and racial diversity of Oakland: currently 34% white, 24% black, 22% Latino, 14% Asian; more than 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch. UMCS was recently named an Ashoka Changemaker School (www.ashoka.org) for our use of the Design Thinking process to address equity issues in schooling; in particular, for our practice of using empathy in developing our curriculum.
For more information, contact Jill Stansbury, Head of School, at (510) 842-1181 ext. 3 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Laurie Grossman and Mindful Impact:
Laurie Grossman has over 35 years experience in working in non-profits and creating programs to help improve the lives of people living in underserved communities. Laurie’s passion, energy, creativity and sense of justice have enabled her to imagine innovative methods to address problems and she has helped schools look at how to serve their students in totally new ways. Laurie brings her warmth, enthusiasm, humor and insight into each project. In the last 20 years she has created two initiatives in schools impacting tens of thousands of children and adults. Laurie believes that mindfulness is the most important social justice tool of which she is aware and she is working hard to spread mindfulness far and wide!
Ms. Grossman is dedicated to teaching mindfulness in a variety of environments, particularly to vulnerable communities, adapting programs to the needs of schools, non-profits, athletic teams and corporations. Her work in the private sector in athletics and corporations supports many pro-bono efforts in communities of need.
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