Ensure mindfulness programmes are evidence-based, developed by experts

Pupils participating in a mindful breathing session. Mindfulness for children is still a young field. But if tailored to students' needs and delivered professionally, these programmes can have lasting positive effects.
Pupils participating in a mindful breathing session. Mindfulness for children is still a young field. But if tailored to students' needs and delivered professionally, these programmes can have lasting positive effects.ST FILE PHOTO

Studies and pilot programmes have shown the benefits of mindfulness practices for children.

Promising though it looks, mindfulness for children is still a young field, and more robust studies are needed to understand its impact - both positive and negative.

I can, thus, understand Mrs Evelyn Teo's concerns about it (Review safety of mindfulness practices; March 20).

Most mindfulness programmes for children are developed for mainstream contexts and their delivery is encouraged in schools, in collaboration with teachers who have a good understanding of the students' profiles.

Also, the person delivering the programme has to have undergone rigorous training in this area.

It is important for schools to ensure that any such programme offered is evidence-based and developed by experts and professionals who work with children. Mindfulness should not be viewed as a quick fix to students' behavioural issues or other problems.

However, when tailored to students' needs and delivered professionally, mindfulness programmes can have lasting positive effects over the long term.

Dawn Sim Meow Cheng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Ensure mindfulness programmes are evidence-based, developed by experts'. Print Edition | Subscribe