Mindful Schools Certification Details

What Certification Means

Certification Benefits

Inclusion in our Certified Instructors Directory. Participants who complete all program components and are awarded certification will be featured in the Certified Instructors Directory on mindfulschools.org. The directory will act as referral network for the thousands of inquiries for programming Mindful Schools receives every year. Our website currently receives many tens of thousands of visits per month, making it one of the most visited mindfulness in education websites in the world.

List your professional background, special competencies, education and other information in an individual profile on the Mindful Schools website. Within the Certified Instructors Directory, instructors will have a personal webpage where they can summarize their teaching, professional background, education, geographic area served, expertise with special populations and other important information.

Receive inquiries from schools & institutions seeking mindfulness programs through your profile. Schools and institutions interested in mindfulness programming will be able to contact you directly through your profile. Those searching for mindfulness providers will be able to search the directory by geography, ages taught, and other fields.

Affiliate with a world-wide leader in mindfulness and education. Mindful Schools has trained thousands of adults, impacting over 150,000 youth. Our web site receives many tens of thousands of visits each month, making it a central resource for the Mindfulness in Education field.

Process for Awarding Certification

Participants seeking certification will be required to attend all 14 days of the in-person retreat and complete all the online learning components of the course. Progress through course content is tracked via an online learning management system. Participants will also be required to put their skills to work by completing the Practicum and Evaluation component of the program. Participants may take the program without seeking certification, in which case the percentage of course assignments they complete will not be relevant, and the practicum and evaluation components will be waived.

Practicum: Participants will be required to teach mindfulness curriculum material to children or adolescents for a full program cycle. Specific suggestions for meeting the practicum requirement will be offered for different populations (classroom teachers, therapists, social workers, etc.). Participants will be required to videotape a complete lesson, unedited. This will be submitted for review by the trainers.

Evaluation: Participants will be required to administer simple evaluations to the youth they are teaching and to one administrator, professional, or parent who has approved and/or witnessed the program. These evaluations will be part of determining your full certification.

Review Process: Practicum video(s) and evaluation data will be reviewed by the trainers. Participants will be evaluated uniformly in several core areas (group facilitation skills, student engagement, and clarity of presentation, etc.). Participants will be given specific and constructive feedback in these areas with the opportunity to submit additional videos if any area requires more development. Please be assured that this review process is supportive and friendly – we want you to succeed!

**Please note: If you are participating in the year-long and seeking certification and you do not have access to youth to fulfill the practicum requirement, you will have one year after the second retreat to complete this requirement.

What support will I receive after I graduate?

The Mindful Schools Certification is designed to create a world-wide community of highly trained and committed mindfulness in education practitioners. In addition to the lasting bonds that will form during the in-depth year-long training, Mindful Schools will offer annual restricted retreats for year-long graduates that will include time for personal practice, networking with other graduates, creative curriculum development and revision, updates and further training from the field, and special guest speakers.

Additionally, Mindful Schools will maintain restricted forums and list serves for year-long graduates to discuss program and curriculum development, implementation challenges, and personal practice on an ongoing basis.

Course Curriculum & Faculty

This training is appropriate for and tailored to classroom teachers, school administrators, psychologists, social workers and other mental health providers, mentors, youth and family service organizations or employees, organizations providing mindfulness services, and anyone interested in integrating mindfulness into their individual or organizational work with young people in a profound and meaningful way.

Program Components

The content of the year-long training will fall into the following three categories:

    1. The development (or continued cultivation) of your own personal mindfulness practice.
    2. The understanding of how personal practice increases dynamism, embodiment, and overall facilitation ability in your work with youth.
    3. The effective implementation of mindfulness practices and techniques in your work with children & adolescents in a variety of contexts.

Component Cycle

The year-long curriculum is made up of the following components:

Intensive Residential Practice: The year includes two week-long intensive residential retreats. These sessions will focus on two areas – intensive personal practice and embodied group facilitation.

Regarding personal practice, the retreat space allows us to enter into a deeper understanding of the principals and instructions of the mindfulness traditions. It supports our exploration of ourselves, and our lives, and provides the foundation for being an embodied and authentic mindfulness teacher. It also synchronizes our use of language, as well as our understanding of core techniques and principles.

Regarding facilitation, retreat time allows us the space for significant experimentation, group exercises, role-plays, demonstrations, and inquiry. This part of the training will feel as much like a performing arts or improv workshop as a mindfulness retreat. It is, in our experience, one of the more neglected components of good mindfulness teaching.

Finally, a major intention of this program is to create and support a community of contemplative educators and youth service providers. Our experience shows that these retreats facilitate this better than any other component.

Curricula: This training will provide further training in the curricula given during our prerequisite Curriculum Training course for working with children and adolescents (aged 5-18). Adaptations and alternate lesson plans will be given for many of the core Mindful Schools modules. Over time you will be encouraged and supported, if you choose, to expand on these by creating your own lesson plans. You will also be given various supporting documents and manuals for teachers, parents and administrators.

Weekly Personal Practice: You will be asked to maintain a daily personal practice. What this looks like will vary from person to person. Guidance around personal practice will be offered during the retreat and weekly office hours.

Weekly Content: The ten months of online learning will be driven by weekly content including a variety of videos and written materials covering four key areas:

  • Practice (material related to the cultivation of your personal practice)
  • Curriculum (curriculum material, demystifying curriculum components, lesson variants, key concepts, etc.)
  • Science (psychology, neuroscience, research, program evaluation)
  • Skills (group facilitation, compassionate communication, working with trauma, other supplementary modalities)

Weekly Mentorship with Trainers: A trainer will be available each week to support participants. Office hours will be held online via interactive webinars. Participants will be able to attend live or submit questions ahead of time. Office hours will be done in a “group consult” format where participants can seek input on specific issues coming up in their work with youth, as well as receive more detailed support regarding various topics and assignments.

Monthly Support Cohorts: You will be placed in a small sub-group with participants from a similar geographic location and/or who have similar professional background. This smaller group will be a way to stay more intimately connected and get specific support from your fellow participants.

Ongoing Discussion Forums: Everyone in the course will have access to a forum open to the entire group where you can stay in touch, share ideas, celebrate successes, or create topic-specific discussions to deepen your conversations. This allows you to have access to a wide range of experience and support.


The primary instructors for this training are Vinny Ferraro, Chris McKenna, Megan Cowan, and Pam Dunn. These instructors have over 55 years of combined mindfulness practice and over 30 years of teaching mindfulness and/or emotional intelligence to youth, making them the most experienced team in the field. Please click on the names to see complete bios. In addition to this team, other experts will be brought in for the topic-specific webinars to bring you the most well-rounded, most up-to-date information on the many areas we will be covering.
Megan CowanVinny FerraroPam DunnChris McKenna

Prerequisites, Dates, Pricing, and Logistics


The prerequisites for participating in the year-long are Mindful Schools Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Schools Curriculum Training courses.

Mindfulness Fundamentals (MF)*: If you do not have a prior mindfulness practice, the Mindfulness Fundamentals Online course will prepare you for the retreats and a year of delving into personal practice.

If you do have an established practice, the Mindfulness Fundamentals Online course will familiarize you with the Mindful Schools vocabulary and approach to secular mindfulness training.

Mindfulness Fundamentals is a 6-week online course requiring about 90 minutes of your time per week.

Curriculum Training (CT)*: The Curriculum Training is a thorough training in our curricula for children and adolescents. It will provide the foundation for your practicum and year-long exploration of presenting mindfulness to youth.

The Curriculum Training can be taken in person over 2.5 days, or online over 6 weeks.

*Mindfulness Fundamentals and the Curriculum Training must be completed before the beginning of retreat one.

Time Commitment

  • A regular sitting practice of at least 20-minutes/day
  • Two week-long retreats
  • 1 hour per week of online videos or webinars and material
  • Optional weekly office hour with trainer(s)
  • Monthly support call with small cohort group (1 hour)
  • Occasional written assignments to reflect learning
  • Monthly suggested reading
  • About 12 hours of practicum (hands on teaching to youth)

Required Dates

Retreats and Online: Participants choose which retreat cohort to join. Both cohorts participate in the online environment together.

West Coast Cohort (Retreat location: Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, CA – 1 hour north of SFO)

  • Opening Retreat
    Arrive: Saturday July 12, 2014 at 4pm
    Depart: Saturday July 19, 2014 at noon
  • Closing Retreat
    Arrive: Sunday July 8, 2015 at 4pm
    Depart: Sunday July 14, 2015 at noon

East Coast Cohort (Retreat location: Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center in Craryville, NY – 125 miles north of NYC)

  • Opening Retreat
    Arrive: Sunday August 10, 2014 at 4pm
    Depart: Sunday August 17, 2014 at noon
  • Closing Retreat
    Arrive: Sunday June 28, 2015 at 4pm
    Depart: Sunday July 4, 2015 at noon

10 Months Online Content (for both coasts)
September 2014 thru June 2015

Pricing and Cancellation Policy


Standard Tuition: $4,950
If you have taken the prerequisite courses, we automatically deduct the amount you paid from the Year-Long tuition. Scholarships and group discounts available.

Retreat Room, Board & Transportation

Room and Board for the two retreats (14 days total) range between $1,540 – $1,890 (based on double occupancy for both retreats). Other occupancy options are available. Lodging costs are passed on directly without any mark-up by Mindful Schools.

Travel expenses and plans are the responsibility of the participant (limited discounted airport transportation to and from the retreat center will be provided by Mindful Schools).

Cancellation Policy

Before April 1, 2014: Full refund minus $500
April 1 – June 1, 2014: Refund minus $1000
No refunds will be given after June 1, 2014

Group Discounts, Scholarships and Payment Plans

Group Discounts and Payment Plans are available. Please inquire with Christina Costelo at yearlong@mindfulschools.org.

Scholarships are available for participants working in public school and agency environments and/or serving high-risk youth populations. Please see application for scholarship information.

Have Questions?

We realize that a year-long training program is a big investment of time and resources. If you have any questions about the program, logistics, pricing, payment plans, scholarships, or anything else, our Certification Program Coordinator Christina Costelo will be delighted to help you at (510) 858-5350 or yearlong@mindfulschools.org.

Application for the Year-Long Certification
Apply for the 2014 – 2015 Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification

The Mindful Schools Certification is an equal opportunity program. People from LBGTQ communities, people with disabilities, and people of all racial backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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Mindful Schools Certification – Details