Frontiers in Psychology published an article on mindfulness, reflection, and executive function. The study, “Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training: Effects on Executive Function in Early Childhood” was conducted by Dr. Phil Zelazo, Dr. Ann Masten, and Dr. Stephanie Carlson of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development and Jessie Forston of Learning Tree Yoga, Minneapolis.

The goal of the study was to assess the impact of an intervention targeting reflection and stress reduction on children's executive function (EF) skills. Often called the air traffic controller of the mind, EF is the primary skill set required for impulse control. Although EF skills are essential for academic achievement, poverty-related stress interferes with their development, leaving many children unprepared for the transition into school. Preschool children (N = 218) from two charters schools serving low-income children participated in the study. They were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Mindfulness + Reflection training; Literacy training; or Business as Usual (BAU). For all three groups, EF improved over the course of the 6 weeks, which was expected because the preschool period is marked by particularly rapid EF development. However, at a follow up 4 weeks after the sessions ended, the students receiving the Mindfulness + Reflection training significantly outperformed the BAU group. [caption id="attachment_2355" align="aligncenter" width="364"] Standard scores (z) on the EF composite as a function of time and condition. BAU = Business as Usual; Mind + Reflect = mindfulness plus Reflection.[/caption] Rank order of the children was also assessed. The researchers found that children’s ranks increased significantly over time for the Mindfulness + Reflection group, whereas they declined for the BAU group and remained stable for the Literacy group. By the end of the study, the children from the Mindfulness + Reflection group ranked highest in the class, Literacy group children were ranked in the middle, and BAU group children had the lowest ranks. Overall, the study’s results suggest that teaching mindfulness and reflection is a promising intervention for improving EF in low-income preschool children. Read the Full Article Here: Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training: Effects on Executive Function in Early Childhood" />

Tag: emotional and social skills

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Mindfulness, Reflection, and Executive Function

Earlier this week, Frontiers in Psychology published an article on mindfulness, reflection, and executive function. The study, “Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training: Effects on Executive Function in Early Childhood” was conducted by Dr. Phil Zelazo, Dr. Ann Masten, and Dr. Stephanie Carlson of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development and Jessie Forston of Learning Tree Yoga,…

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Part II: Executive Function Interventions

We know that executive function skills are important, but how can parents and teachers use executive function interventions such as reflection training, mindfulness, and scaffolding, to promote healthy development? In this second episode of Full Prefrontal,  Sucheta Kamath and Dr. Phil Zelazo discuss interventions ideas for parents, teachers, and caregivers to build successful members of society. Listen to the…

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St. Paul Schools Try Mixing Work and Play

Twenty-seven St. Paul Public elementary schools are blurring the lines between school work and play with a homegrown curriculum called “Discovering Our World.” Kids get around 90 minutes each day to play — or “actively learn” — at any of several stations stocked with blocks, modeling clay and art, or pretend cooking supplies. Stephanie Carlson,…

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Continuing Partnership to Measure Montessori Success

Reflection Sciences and The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS) are proud to announce another year of partnership to measure Montessori success! The Mission: Our partnership serves to provide Montessori educators with the tools and training to reliably measure the efficacy of your classrooms. Pair Reflection Sciences’ MEFS assessment tool with NCMPS’s…

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What Is Social Development in Early Childhood?

Social development in early childhood is an important part of a person’s overall health, well-being, and happiness throughout his or her life. Social development is very closely linked to cognitive and emotional development, and together these developmental markers and milestones build the foundation for developing relationships with other people, coping with stressful situations, and many…