With the lingering effects of the global pandemic, coupled with myriad instances of civil unrest, K-12 students have been through a great deal over the past two years. While academic learning is at the crux of teaching, we as teachers must also focus on the social-emotional needs and wellness of students.
One way to address this is to offer students opportunities to engage in mindfulness practices. According to Mindful.org, “ Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Here are five mindfulness apps and websites for K-12 students and teachers.
Dreamy Kid offers a comprehensive platform of mindfulness and mediation tools for students ages 3-17. Content on Dreamy Kid can be accessed through a web browser as well as a mobile application. One of the unique aspects of Dreamy Kids is the diverse category offerings that range from supporting ADD, ADHD, and anxiety, to healing activities and guided journeys for teens. For teachers who want to incorporate Dreamy Kid into their classroom, an education program is available.
The Calm app offers a robust suite of online mindfulness resources focused on stress management, resilience, and self-care. One unique feature of Calm that is relevant to K-12 students is the 30 Days of Mindfulness in the Classroom resource. Included are reflection questions, scripts, and a plethora of mindfulness activities. Even if you are not familiar with mindfulness strategies, there is a Self-care Guide for Teachers. The self-care guide includes calm tips, images, blog postings, planning calendars, and links to videos.
Geared toward younger learners, Sesame Street offers the Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame app that is designed to help children de-stress. Within the app, a variety of scenarios are offered with video clips that learners move through. Additional resources and games can be accessed once the learner has completed the prerequisite activity. Activities are offered in both English and Spanish.
The Headspace platform offers a series of sleep, meditation, and mindfulness resources and activities. Educators are welcomed to Headspace and supported through free access for K-12 teachers and supporting staff members in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia. Resources for how to care for yourself as a teacher are available, as well as mindfulness tools for your students. If you would like to delve deeper into specific topics, categories include: mediation; sleep and wake up; stress and anxiety; and movement and healthy living.
5: Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is a nonprofit based in Australia that offers a mindfulness app developed by educators and psychologists. The app has strategies that support students’ social and emotional well-being, and it offers a series of strategies and techniques specifically designed for children. Teachers and parents can order care packets too. Also, if you are an educator in Australia, there are additional professional development opportunities along with indigenous languages resources.
These mindfulness apps and websites can support humanizing educational experiences while helping students cope with the ongoing mental health crisis. As students are seemingly always engaged on tech devices, introducing mindfulness, meditation, and de-stressing practices through the use of edtech tools may provide a pathway for students to self-reflect, center calmness, and become less overwhelmed with other environmental forces impacting them.