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MindUP 3-7

Evidence rating
2
Cost rating
1
Review: November 2019

Note on provider involvement: This provider has agreed to EIF’s terms of reference, and the assessment has been conducted and published with the full cooperation of the programme provider.

MindUP is a schools-based social and emotional learning and mindfulness programme. It is a universal programme and is offered in three versions pertaining to children aged 3-7 (MindUP 3-7), 8-11 (MindUP 8-11), and 11-14 (MindUP 11-14). The version described here is for children aged 3-7. MindUP 3-7 is delivered in children’s centres or other early years settings and primary schools and aims to improve self-regulation, prosociality in the short-term, and academic achievement and positive mental health in the long-term.

Using an educational neuroscience approach, the programme teaches children strategies to focus attention, regulate emotions, and engage in prosocial behaviours in order to foster positive academic, social, and emotional well-being. This is supported by promoting a school-wide mindful culture to support wellbeing and academic outcomes.

MindUP is a universal programme that is intended to be inclusive, accessible, and adaptable to different ages.

The intervention consists of 15 lessons that cover topics such as self-regulation, perspective taking, and mental health. A core part of the intervention is learning a mindfulness technique that consists of focusing the mind on a given stimulus. This exercise is intended to be practiced three times a day, with the length being adaptable to children’s needs.

EIF Programme Assessment

Evidence rating
2

MindUP 3-7 has preliminary evidence of improving a child outcome, but we cannot be confident that the programme caused the improvement.

What does the evidence rating mean?

Level 2 indicates that the programme has evidence of improving a child outcome from a study involving at least 20 participants, representing 60% of the sample, using validated instruments. 

This programme does not receive a rating of 3 as its best evidence is not from a rigorously conducted RCT or QED evaluation.

Note that MindUP 8-11 can also be found on the guidebook with an EIF Strength of Evidence Level 2. No studies were available on MindUP 11-14 at the time of assessment, therefore we do not have information on the evidence for this programme version. Please note that a newer version of the programme - MindUp for Life - an online curriculum for teachers to implement in the classroom, is now available for 3-14 year olds.

Cost rating
1

A rating of 1 indicates that a programme has a low cost to set up and deliver, compared with other interventions reviewed by EIF. This is equivalent to an estimated unit cost of less than £100.

Child outcomes

According to the best available evidence for this programme's impact, it can achieve the following positive outcomes for children:

Enhancing school achievement & employment

based on
based on
MindUP 3-7

Key programme characteristics

Who is it for?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to the following age-groups:

  • Preschool
  • Primary school

How is it delivered?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to implementation through these delivery models:

  • Group

Where is it delivered?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to its implementation in these settings:

  • Children's centre or early-years setting
  • Primary school

How is it targeted?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to its implementation as:

  • Universal

Where has it been implemented?

Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Serbia, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States

UK provision

This programme has been implemented in the UK.

UK evaluation

This programme’s best evidence does not include evaluation conducted in the UK.

Spotlight sets

EIF includes this programme in the following Spotlight sets:

  • School-based social & emotional learning
MindUP 3-7

About the programme

What happens during delivery?

How is it delivered?
  • MindUP is delivered in 15 sessions of 20 to 30 minutes duration each by one class teacher, to one class/group of children.
What happens during the intervention?
  • There are 15 sequential lessons that can be taught across one academic year or can be taught in a 15-week block.
  • Each lesson revisits the neuroscience underpinning the lesson theme and involves interactive and engaging activities, including individual and group work.
  • There are applications to real life and cross curricular learning.
  • Each lesson provides the teacher with a detailed background to the lessons, including why and how each lesson links to previous learning to inform new learning. Literature suggestions and opportunities for reflection on learning are built into each lesson.
  • A core element of the programme is “The Brain Break”, a mindfulness practice that is intended to be practiced 3 times per day and consists of focusing on a stimulus, e.g., a sound. The length of these breaks is tailored to the age of the children and their needs.

What are the implementation requirements?

Who can deliver it?
  • The practitioner who delivers this programme is a teacher with QCF-6 level qualifications.
What are the training requirements?
  • The practitioners have 26 hours of programme training. Booster training of practitioners is not required.
How are the practitioners supervised?

Practitioner supervision is provided through the following processes:

  • It is recommended that practitioners are supervised by two MindUP consultants (qualified to QCF-6 level), with 5 days of programme training and a MindUP school lead who is a teacher or member of the leadership team at the school offering MindUP.
What are the systems for maintaining fidelity?

Programme fidelity is maintained through the following processes:

  • Training manual
  • Other printed material
  • Other online material
  • Face-to-face training
  • Fidelity monitoring
  • Teachers receive digital decks to teach each of the 15 lessons. Enhanced resources will be available in 2020 on the new UK website. Ongoing CPD sessions for MindUP school leads are provided.
Is there a licensing requirement?

There is no licence required to run this programme.

How does it work? (Theory of Change)

How does it work?
  • Robust social and emotional competencies, such as self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness, facilitate children’s readiness for learning, prosocial behaviour, and positive mental health.
  • Using an educational neuroscience approach, the programme teaches children strategies to focus attention, regulate emotions, and engage in prosocial behaviours in order to foster positive academic, social, and emotional well-being. This is supported by fostering a school-wide mindful culture to support wellbeing and academic outcomes.
  • In the short term, children understand how the brain experiences and regulates emotions, can apply strategies to focus attention and calm down, and are better able to act prosocially with their peers and community.
  • Over the longer term, children are equipped with and apply social and emotional knowledge, attitudes, and skills to obtain better academic achievement, improved prosociality, and positive mental health.
Intended outcomes

Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing
Enhancing school achievement & employment

Contact details

Carrie Patterson
The Goldie Hawn Foundation
[email protected]

https://uk.mindup.org/

MindUP 3-7

About the evidence

MindUP 3-7’s most rigorous evidence comes from a QED which was conducted in the U.S.

This study identified statistically significant positive impact on a number of child outcomes.

A programme receives the same rating as its most robust study, and so the programme receives a Level 2 rating overall.

Study 1

Citation: Thierry, Bryant, Speegle Nobles, & Norris (2016)
Design: QED
Country: United States
Sample: 47 4-year old children, where families are mainly of Hispanic ethnicity and economically disadvantaged.
Timing: Post-test, 1-year follow-up
Child outcomes: Improved executive function
Improved vocabulary and literacy skills
Other outcomes: None measured
Study rating: 2

Thierry, K. L., Bryant, H. L., Speegle Nobles, S., & Norris, K. S. (2016). Two-year impact of a mindfulness-based program on preschoolers’ self-regulation and academic performance. Early Education and Development, 27(6), 805-821. DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2016.1141616

Available at
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2016.1141616

Study design and sample

The first study is a QED. 

Participants were drawn from two cohorts in prekindergarten and followed through to the end of kindergarten. One year group constituted the control group, the following year group constituted the treatment group.

This study was conducted in the U.S., with a sample of 47 children aged 4. The majority of children in the sample were socially disadvantaged with 72% being eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and over 80% were of Hispanic ethnicity.

Measures

Executive function was measured using the BRIEF-P (parent and teacher report). Receptive vocabulary was measured using the PPVT-4 ( direct assessment). Literacy and vocabulary skills were measured using the ISIP Early Reading Assessment (direct assessment).

Findings

This study identified statistically significant positive impact on a number of child outcomes.

This includes improved executive function (improved working memory and plan/organise skills) and improved vocabulary and literacy skills compared to the business as usual group.

The conclusions that can be drawn from this study are limited by methodological issues pertaining to unequivalent groups and clustering not being taken into account in statistical analyses, hence why a higher rating is not achieved.

More Less about study 1

Other studies

The following studies were identified for this programme but did not count towards the programme's overall evidence rating. A programme receives the same rating as its most robust study or studies.

De Carvalho, J. S., Marques Pinto, A., & Marôco, J. (2017). Results of a Mindfulness-Based Social-Emotional Learning Program on Portuguese Elementary Students and Teachers: a Quasi-Experimental Study. Mindfulness, 8, 337-350. DOI 10.1007/s12671-016-0603-z - This reference refers to a quasi-experimental design, conducted in Portugal.

Harpin, S. B., Rossie, A., Kim, A. K. (2016). Behavioral impacts of a mindfulness pilot intervention for elementary school students. Education, 137(2), 149-156 - This reference refers to a quasi-experimental design, conducted in the USA.

Published March 2024