Learning to Breathe: A Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents to Cultivate Emotion Regulation, Attention, and Performance

By Patricia C. Broderick

Learning to breathe: A Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents to Cultivate Emotion Regulation, Attention, and Performance (L2B) is an extremely useful text for anyone who is thinking of bringing mindfulness to their classroom or school. Following the core practices of mindfulness-based stress reduction, this curriculum guide includes everything teachers and support staff might need to guide their students in learning the practice of mindfulness.

Broderick, a research associate and founder of the Stress Reduction Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, has carefully crafted a classroom-friendly, step-by-step guide for introducing mindfulness to both middle school-age children and adolescents.

Initially, the book presents research conducted into the mental health of adolescents since 2000 and points to a dramatically rising epidemic of mental disorders that meet “diagnostic criteria” by 2010. The author uses this research along with developmental data about the inner workings of the adolescent mind to build a compelling case for mindfulness training as a relevant and effective intervention strategy.

L2B includes two different student workbooks as well as many visual and informational aids for the classroom. The curriculum covers six themes that relate to the word BREATHE—the Body, Reflection, Emotions, Attention, Tenderness, Healthy Habits of Mind and Empowerment. The author seems to have carefully considered what gaps school staff might encounter in delivering this curriculum. She includes scripted lessons, downloadable audio and text support, as well as relevant background information to help unpack the neuroscience supporting this practice.

Given the rise of mental health disorders within our classroom and the impact of this rise on the overall health of our school communities, the L2B curriculum is well-timed and highly relevant. It is a resource which just might help build the capacity for resilience and healing in our students.

About Stephanie Benn
Stephanie Benn is an elementary teacher at Edmison Heights.

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