What is Headspace and How Does it Work? Best Tips and Tricks For Educators

(Image credit: Headspace)

Headspace is a web and app-based meditation and mindfulness service that educators can use for free. 

The tool supports social and emotional learning for students and educators by providing a variety of meditation and mindfulness exercises that can be done in class or can help educators prepare for class by controlling their own anxieties and getting better sleep. 

Headspace’s exercises can be utilized at the start or end of class, regardless of the subject matter or medium in which it is being taught. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Headspace and how educators can use it. 

What is Headspace?  

Headspace offers users a variety of guided meditation and mindfulness exercises that are frequently age-specific. Educators can use it to lead their classes in short exercises that can help students get in touch with their feelings and thoughts. This is important at any time but particularly impactful for students and educators now. 

Educators can choose from meditation exercises offered in a variety of categories, from morning meditations to meditations aimed at reducing anxiety or helping with sleep. 

Subscribers, or educators who receive a free subscription, can access the service online (opens in new tab) or via the Apple App store or on Google Play. 

The service was founded in 2010 by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, and Richard Pierson, a marketer. 

Why is Headspace Helpful for Educators?  

“If you're a parent or a teacher, ask yourself this: What are the qualities you most want your children to possess as they grow into adults?” says Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, during an introductory video (opens in new tab)for Headspace for educators. “Is it math skills, scientific knowledge, athletic ability? Or is it confidence, kindness, a sense of purpose, the wisdom to build healthy, lasting relationships?” 

He adds, “Teachers who integrate emotional intelligence skills into their classrooms report less burnout and greater job satisfaction, they experience more positive emotions while teaching, and they receive more support from their principals. Implementing these skills in the classroom allows them to become more organized, which gives them the ability to be more present and supportive to their students.” He also suggests that when there's an emotionally intelligent teacher in the classroom, students disrupt less, focus more, and perform better academically. 

How Do Educators Get Free Headspace Subscription?  

Headspace offers a free Headspace Plus subscription for all K-12 staff in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. To access this free subscription visit headspace.com/educators (opens in new tab). You’ll be prompted to select your school location and then to enter your name and school email. If you are in the U.S., but get the notification “Member with this email doesn't match organization's enrollment rules,” try requesting your district be added by providing the information requested in this form

Headspace: Tips and Tricks  

Teach Youngsters to Focus and Understand Emotion 

Headspace has thousands of exercises organized by age and subject manner. Resources for children age 4 and under include brief audio lessons on practicing how to focus, learning to understand “big” feelings like anger or sadness, and learning how to shift from one activity to another. 

Teach Meditation Basics to Older Students 

Headspace offers basic meditation video sessions for kids 7-13 or 13 and up. Using these one-minute, age-specific resources can help educators facilitate meaningful meditation sessions that help students get in touch with their feelings and the moment. 

Utilize Educator-Specific Resources 

To effectively help students with SEL, educators need to engage in their own SEL practices. Headspace has many resources available to do that without a subscription. These include: 

  • Headspace for Educators: Daily Practice Guide, which includes a schedule of daily mindfulness exercises for educators
  • Headspace for Educators: Meditation 101, which offers educator-specific tips for regularly meditating
  • A Headspace for Educators Facebook group, with more than 5,000 members educators can connect and share ideas with.  

Further Reading

Erik Ofgang is Tech & Learning's senior staff writer. A journalist, author (opens in new tab) and educator, his work has appeared in the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Associated Press. He currently teaches at Western Connecticut State University’s MFA program. While a staff writer at Connecticut Magazine he won a Society of Professional Journalism Award for his education reporting. He is interested in how humans learn and how technology can make that more effective.