MindUP™ – Helping Children Thrive In Learning & In Life

Today our children grow up in a world very different than the one we experienced in our youth. From an early age they are forced to navigate a fast-paced lifestyle where they are overscheduled, overextended and overwhelmed. Grappling with unattainable expectations of perfectionism, there is an enormous amount of pressure on our young people. Unfortunately these children aren’t being given the skills they need to develop personal resilience, so many of them end up suffering from severe stress and anxiety. Add to this violence, poverty and a myriad of other problems at home and you have a generation in crisis.

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The consequences of this strain are troubling. Studies have shown that high levels of stress negatively affect a child’s ability to focus, learn, innovate and thrive. The results: classrooms filled with bored students who are unable to follow directions and sit still. In fact, one in five children now struggle with learning or attention issues like ADHD. Furthermore, without learning proper coping mechanisms many children are unable to emotionally regulate and struggle to make connections with those around them. This has spurred greater levels of aggression and rising incidences of school violence and bullying. The long-term implications are even more problematic. Substance abuse, self-mutilation, eating disorders, depression and suicide…the list goes on.

Recognizing a need for change award-winning actress and children’s activist Goldie Hawn decided to take a stand. Having experienced the benefits of meditation and mindfulness firsthand, Goldie knew its transformative quality could have a positive effect in the classroom. In 2003, Goldie launched The Hawn Foundation and more than a decade later this non-profit is still going strong.

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The Hawn Foundation is dedicated to transforming children’s lives by providing vital social and emotional learning programs. At the heart of the movement is their signature program MindUP™, an evidencebased program aimed on generating more mindful, optimistic, focused and resilient global citizens. However, MindUP™ is much more than a mindfulness program. Backed by science, MindUP™ was developed through the unique integration of neuroscience, positive psychology, mindful awareness and social and emotional learning. The result is a program that centers on developing the whole child and creating a positive influence on the classroom and school culture, as well as improving the quality of life in general.

The MindUP™ curriculum is published and distributed by Scholastic and is CASEL accredited. It consists of 15 lessons that are tailored to children’s age groups and development levels. Each lesson teaches kids new mindful strategies that can increase their self-control, focus, empathy and overall resilience. The program is administered by schools following an immersive training session with teachers and administrators.

This program works by helping children understand how their brains work and its effect on their emotions and behavior. From there it teaches children how to release stress, be more optimistic, and improve selfcontrol and self-management. The results of the program are nothing short of extraordinary. After being implemented for one year, MindUP™ schools have documented a reduction in absenteeism by 67% and bullying by 54%. The program has also been correlated with an increase in positive behavior. 90% of children improved their ability to get along with others, 82% were more optimistic and 75% of children had more impulse control and less reactivity.

“Our mission at MindUP™ is to teach people about the brain which provides an understanding of how the brain impacts feelings, emotions, and behavior. Our methods include fun and immersive experiences that teach perspective, empathy and compassion. I designed MindUP™ for children but it has applications for all age groups. We now offer MindUP™ in schools, after-school programs, families, communities and businesses, with dreams of reaching hospitals and healthcare providers, first responders and members of the military. In fact, the thoughtful application and extension of MindUP™ to any physical, social and emotional challenge — is unlimited” said Hawn, Founder and Board Chair for The Hawn Foundation.

The MindUP™ training provides teachers with new skills and strategies that result in a more focused classroom, with fewer disruptions, giving teachers more time to teach. This program also leads to higher teacher satisfaction, reduced stress in educators, as well as a lower level of turnover. When polled, 67% of teachers who use MindUP™ reported a decrease in their stress and improved satisfaction.

The Foundation also offers a MindUP™ Parent Workshop to introduce parents to the principles of the program and give an overview of the lessons and practices that their children will be learning. These workshops offer parents the tools to better manage their own stress and busy households. When combined with the in school program, 72% of parents have reported that MindUP™ has contributed to greater family harmony and improved relationships at home. The collective effect is a community that listens more mindfully, is calmer, more compassionate, empathetic and helpful to each other.

MindUP™ is sustainable, highly flexible and can be adapted to serve all types of classrooms and schools. The program now serves 600,000 children in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. Donations and grants to the Foundation help to expand their reach by offering scholarships to schools, teachers and communities as well as underwriting research, adaptations for new audiences and special needs and extending their support through new digital offerings, platforms and tech assets.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MINDUP™ VISIT THEHAWNFOUNDATION.ORG