Bringing Mindfulness &
Movement to Our Urban Youth

The Mindfulness Through Movement program has been established to offer mindfulness and yoga programs to youth in urban Philadelphia schools. We also offer an annual Mindfulness Through Movement training program to educate certified yoga teachers on ways to empower school-age children in underserved areas with proven mindfulness and yoga practices.

Mindfulness Through Movement Program for Youth
The Mindfulness Through Movement Program offers mindfulness and yoga programs to youth in urban Philadelphia schools. This program is recommended for children in grades 4, 5, or 6, although the curriculum has been successfully taught to ages 7-15. Schools participating in this program for the school year apply for a one-year program that includes weekly classes for the students. This program was co-founded by Cara Bradley and Cheryl Nichols.

Supporting Research

According to the MindLife Institute that is currently conducting programs in elementary schools in California, studies of mindfulness programs in schools have found that regular practice — even just a few minutes per day — improves student self-control and increases their classroom participation, respect for others, happiness, optimism, and self-acceptance levels. It can help reduce absenteeism and suspensions too. A mindfulness practice helps reduce activity in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center responsible for fear and stress reactions.

Prevention researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Pennsylvania State University and practitioners from the Holistic Life Foundation developed and evaluated a mindfulness- based intervention for youth. Most of the participating youth were African American and lived in low-income neighborhoods with high levels of violence. They determined that youth in under-served, urban communities are at risk for a range of negative outcomes related to stress, including social-emotional difficulties, behavior problems, and poor academic performance. Mindfulness-based approaches may improve adjustment among chronically stressed and disadvantaged youth by enhancing self-regulatory capacities.