Programs
Wellness

Mindfulness

"Mindfulness is a practice of self-awareness, nonjudgment and presence, and from this practice we begin cultivating the ability to navigate through the challenging moments in life as well as the ability to fully experience life's greatest joys." –  Alex Peavey, Mindfulness Instructor
“This course helped me relax, perform better on quizzes and tests, and go to sleep better at night.
– Student
Mindfulness is the moment-by-moment intentional awareness of the present, cultivated in a nonjudgmental and openhearted effort to see things just exactly as they are. Helping our students approach life more mindfully enables them to respond to various challenges that arise each day and to be more centered and productive.

Mindfulness at Collegiate

Since 2008, Collegiate School freshmen have participated in an introductory class on mindfulness as part of their health and wellness curriculum. The class provides students with stress management skills, helps them build resilience in the face of any adversity and teaches them to maximize their ability to continually move toward peak performance in whatever endeavor they undertake.

As part of Collegiate's Senior Capstone program, the School also offers 12th Graders a semester-long Mindful Leadership course, which focuses on bringing together the elements of mindfulness, neuroscience and emotional intelligence to help cultivate more mindful and compassionate leaders.

Mindfulness classes are also available to faculty and staff at Collegiate for their professional development with the intention of cultivating an environment of mindful educators, as well as to parents and other adults in the community at large. 


Our Model

Collegiate follows the mindfulness model of Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center 30 years ago.

Kabat-Zinn trained medical patients, who doctors believed had received the maximum medical care but had no other hope for improvement, in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and, over time, the medical staff began seeing substantial physical and mental changes in these patients.

After continued success in the MBSR clinic, the mindfulness training expanded to doctors and nurses so that they could work with the stress in their own lives, as well as improve their ability to be fully present for each of their patients.

Across the country, many graduate schools of education are incorporating mindfulness-based programs into their curriculum so that teachers can begin integrating mindfulness into K-12 education. 

Our Methods

Middle School – All students in the Middle School learn about mindfulness from a faculty member, who leads a short lesson each month in English or reading classes (for 5th and 6th Grades) or in health classes (for 7th and 8th Grades). The goal of these sessions is to help students increase focus and attention as they become present in the moment. During the semester testing period for 7th and 8th Grades, mindfulness sessions are offered to help students reduce stress before major tests and exams. Through the 6th Grade Advisory program, each Advisor teaches students about mindfulness and demonstrates short mindfulness practices. Collegiate’s Middle School counselor also uses mindfulness practices to help students who might be experiencing stress and anxiety.

Freshmen Stress Management Class

 – The goal of stress management is for students to understand the physiology of their stress-response system, how their own thoughts can trigger these stressful responses and how to counteract these stress-related symptoms by increasing awareness of their thoughts and mindfully implementing relaxation techniques. 



These techniques are taught to help maximize the students' ability to perform at peak levels during potentially stress-inducing situations such as taking a test, giving a speech, playing a sport, performing in front of an audience or any other day-to-day challenges students may encounter. 



Having an understanding of the stress response and the ability to use the relaxation response provides students with the tools to maintain a healthy body and mind now and throughout their lives.


Freshmen classes are offered for two weeks, twice a semester in October, December, March and May.

Senior Capstone: Mindful Leadership – Seniors who choose this course as their semester-long Capstone program explore the question: How can a mindful and emotionally intelligent leader extend these practices into personal pursuits and have a positive impact of the world?

Mindful Leadership begins with a focus on the attitudes of mindfulness according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, which include: nonjudgment, beginner’s mind, patience, trust, acceptance, nonstriving, letting go, gratitude and generosity. Students establish their own mindfulness practice based on these attitudes and then spend the semester exploring the research and discussing the ways in which mindfulness can be turned outward into a form of authentic leadership. A key to this style of leadership also includes an understanding of Daniel Goleman’s components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

The primary case study for this Capstone is Patagonia, and it will include video conferencing with the Director of Philosophy at Patagonia. During Patagonia’s rise to success, the company did not deviate from the core values originally set by its founder, proving that a company can be values-based rather than outcome-based and still reach a profit margin that makes the company the best in its industry. This case study will allow students to explore various models of values-based social entrepreneurship. They will be taken through a process of creating their own set of core values, which will be the basis for each student’s ability to embark upon ethical decision-making as he or she determines individual life aspirations, and as the students find themselves in the position to lead others.

Through collaborative small group work, the Capstone will culminate in the students discovering their own examples of mindful leadership in the corporate and nonprofit sector through local partnerships, and revealing how passion, purpose and values can set each one of us on the path to having a positive impact on the world around us.



If you would like more information about mindfulness in the Middle School, or if you would like to sit in on one of the freshmen classes or the Mindful Leadership class, please contact Alex Peavey at apeavey@collegiate-va.org.