“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.

Mindfulness classes are also available to faculty and staff, 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
Students in the Middle School learn and practice mindfulness throughout the year. This area of our curriculum is led by faculty member Mary Margaret Ryan, a certified yoga teacher who has received training through Mindful Schools. Students in Grades 5-8 gather during advisory or health class for a session that includes a guided breathing exercise and a discussion and activity centered around one of the following themes:
  • Mindful Breathing and the Mind-Body Connection
  • Observing Emotions/ Reaction vs. Response
  • Mindful Communication and Mindful Relationships with others
  • Reflection
  • Self-Compassion and Gratitude
  • Intention and Goal Setting
  • Acts of Kindness
  • Challenges and how to use Mindfulness to face those challenges
Following the directed sessions, the students have the opportunity to practice mindfulness in their individual advisories through a planned lesson of reflection, a follow-up activity or a journaling assignment. Mindfulness practice is also available for all Middle School students during exam weeks, upon individual teacher request or through private appointments.

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.