About this course
Learn how to integrate mindfulness into your work with youth using our research-backed K-12 Mindful Schools Curriculum. Our curriculum – used by thousands of educators, mental health professionals, social workers, and parents in 50 states and over 100 countries – is adaptable for classrooms, after-school programs, clinical settings, and home. It uses developmentally appropriate language for explaining key mindfulness concepts and practices to youth. See a sample module.
Course graduates report strong improvements in job satisfaction, connecting with youth, delivering school curriculum, and student behavior (attention, self-regulation, engagement, compassion).
Recommended by 98% of participants, this course includes:
- K-5 Curriculum (30 modules for ages 5-12)
- Middle & High School Curriculum (25 modules for ages 12-17)
- Student workbooks
- Manual on facilitation & classroom management
- Summaries of neuroscience concepts
- Program evaluation tools
- Accurately presenting the research on mindfulness and youth
- The basic neuroscience of attention and emotion
Connecting with Youth
- Working with youth at different developmental stages
- Group facilitation and classroom management skills
- Presenting to administrators, school, and agency staff
- Join our vibrant, supportive private community of graduates
- Unlimited future access to course content
Teaching mindfulness techniques to youth is exponentially more effective when it stems from a base of personal practice. For this reason, participants must establish a personal mindfulness practice prior to this training by completing our Mindfulness Fundamentals course or any one of the approved trainings listed here.
Upon completing this course, educators can receive up to 3 CEUs [details].
The course is taught by Megan Cowan, Chris McKenna, and Vinny Ferraro. This team has over 40 years of combined mindfulness practice and over 30 years of teaching mindfulness and/or emotional intelligence to children and adolescents, as well as experience training many thousands of adults. Their work is featured in documentary films Healthy Habits of Mind and Room to Breathe, and MTV’s “If You Really Knew Me”.
Megan Cowan comes to this work with over 15 years of formal and intensive mindfulness training, a background in teaching and education, and a degree from UC Berkeley in Alternative Health. Megan is the primary author of the Mindful Schools Elementary School Curriculum, and created their first Adolescent Curriculum. She has taught more than 3500 youth via Mindful Schools’ in-class direct-service program, trained more than 2000 educators, mental health professionals, and parents in mindfulness practices and applications for youth, and has been leading Mindful Educator Essentials domestically and internationally since its inception in 2010. She has been the sole trainer for the dozens of instructors who have taught for Mindful Schools. In 2012, Megan was featured in “Room To Breathe,” the first feature-length film documentary on the effort to integrate mindfulness training into U.S. public schools.
Previous to joining Mindful Schools, Chris McKenna was Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project, a nonprofit that pioneered the development of mindfulness-based interventions for high-risk adolescents with complex trauma. During his tenure, MBA published the first formal research on the impact of mindfulness programming on youth in the U.S. juvenile probation system. In collaboration with Colorado State University, MBA also developed mindfulness training programs that met the specific needs of diverse youth populations, including youth of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana, and military youth in Ft. Collins, CO.
Chris has spent over a decade working with diverse communities suffering from high incidents of trauma, including five years with an organization launched out of Amnesty International that provided legal and psychosocial services to victims of torture and war crimes from over 20 countries. He has an eighteen-year history with mindfulness meditation and has taught mindfulness practices to diverse youth & adult populations. He is on the Curriculum Advisory Committee of Dalai Lama Fellows and the Advisory Councils of the Mind Body Awareness Project, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and Honoring the Path of the Warrior – a project which teaches mindfulness to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He holds a degree in Religion & Asian Studies from Columbia University.
Vinny Ferraro is a long-time mindfulness practitioner and instructor and a nationally recognized leader in designing and implementing interventions for at-risk adolescents. The child of an incarcerated father, Vinny spent the majority of his teenage life hustling and living on the streets. In 1987, after recovering from drug addiction, he began leading youth groups in drug rehabilitation centers, juvenile halls, schools and half-way houses through the Hospitals and Institutions Program of Narcotics Anonymous. Vinny continued this work for nearly a decade before transitioning to a more intensive focus on mindfulness and emotional intelligence work. In 2001, he began teaching for the Challenge Day organization, a nationally recognized, school-based emotional intelligence and life skills program, eventually becoming Challenge Day’s Director of Training and leading workshops for over 110,000 youth on four continents. In 2008, Vinny became Training Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA) and is the principle author of MBA’s mindfulness-based curriculum for incarcerated youth. Vinny has received national media coverage for his work with adolescents; he is the subject of the MTV series “If You Really Knew Me…” In addition to his work with youth, Vinny teaches mindfulness retreats to adults around the U.S. and the world.
In addition to the Program Team, each Mindful Educator Essentials course has a Guiding Teacher. The Guiding Teacher directs the learning process by synthesizing emerging themes, answering questions, and providing ongoing participant feedback. All of our Guiding Teachers have over a decade of mindfulness practice and broad teaching experience with different youth populations. Your Guiding Teacher is available to answer questions throughout the course.
Mindful Educator Essentials
Argos Gonzalez grew up in Queens, NY and is a product of the NYC public educations system from elementary school to his graduate studies. He is a high school English teacher in the Bronx with ten years experience. He also teaches literacy instruction at Hunter College and is finishing his Ph.D. in Urban Education at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is interested in the impact mindfulness can have on teachers and students alike.
Mindful Educator Essentials
Dr. Montminy is a clinical child psychologist, family wellness coach, and national workshop presenter. As the founding director of MidStep Centers for Child Development, private practitioner, and school-based mental health consultant, he has worked passionately for 25 years to improve the emotional well-being of children and adolescents. Peter was educated at Dartmouth, Penn State University, and Yale Medical School’s Child Study Center, yet his ultimate training – and source of joy – come from raising his four children with his wife Mary in the woods of central Pennsylvania.
Sarah M. Waxman
Sarah M. Waxman
Mindful Educator Essentials
Sarah M. Waxman is a youth mindfulness and mind/body educator. Since completing the Mindful Schools Mindful Educator Essentials in 2010 Sarah has been teaching mindfulness in schools, after-school programs, summer camps, and Jewish religious schools. She holds a 200-hr vinyasa teacher training certification as well as certifications from several youth mind/body courses. Her enthusiasm for mindfulness and other mind/body practices in schools comes from her own discoveries with contemplative practices, and from her experience teaching in the classroom. She firmly believes that educating youth in healthy self-soothing methods will greatly enhance our education system, reduce harmful addictive behaviors, and improve the character of our society. Sarah began practicing mindfulness and yoga while playing Goalkeeper in Lacrosse at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a BA degree in Sociology.