image Dr Peter Montminy with students
Dr. Peter Montminy works with students on mindfulness training

Bellefonte Area SD is working to create a culture of kindness through a mindfulness initiative. After looking at research and consulting with a local expert and child psychologist, administrators decided to invite clinical psychologist and mindfulness teacher Dr. Peter Montminy to come to Bellefonte Elementary and do eight weeks of mindfulness training with students and teachers. The training focused on helping students to be aware of their emotional states and to respond thoughtfully to challenges, rather than impulsively. The goal was to help students be prepared to learn, without being distracted by life stress. The district also provided mindfulness professional development after school for teachers – more than 30 attended. The basics of mindfulness are also promoted through the district’s Second Step Guidance Curriculum. Principal Karen Krisch says the classrooms that received the training reported a climate of more focused learning and kindness overall. Krisch also says there have been fewer referrals to her office for behavior problems in these classrooms. To see more on the Bellefonte Area mindfulness initiative, listen to the June issue of Keystone Education Radio at KeyEdRadio.org.