75% of Australian primary school students suffer from anxiety about school life – survey reveals
Melbourne primary school kick off world’s largest mindfulness initiative
St. Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Sunshine West joined thousands of Australian primary schools in kicking off the world’s biggest mindfulness class on Friday, promoting strong mental wellbeing amongst young people, with new lessons released over the course of a week.
The initiative by classroom education app ClassDojo – called A Mindful Moment – saw students from across the world set aside 15 minutes of their day to take part in a range of mindful activities, learn relaxation techniques and breathing exercises, and raise money for organisations that support mental wellbeing.
ClassDojo, a classroom communication app in over 50% of Australian primary schools, recently carried out a survey in Australia with primary school teachers and parents around mental wellbeing and mindfulness.
The survey revealed that 75% of parents say their child has experienced anxiety about school, 98% of teachers say some of their students have experienced anxiety about school life. Higher than both the UK and US according to the survey.
A Mindful Moment started at 11am (AEDT) in Australia and finish 20 hours later at 11am (HST) in Hawaii. It will continue for the
St. Peter’s teacher Maegan Howden said: “After attending a recent professional development with a focus on well-being, I have been experimenting with a range of strategies for teaching well-being in the classroom.
“I came across the growth mindset videos on Class Dojo and was thoroughly impressed with how they were engaging, informative and age appropriate.
“I intend to keep experimenting with well-being teaching strategies and made the decision to take part in the ‘Mindful Moment’ event to send the message to my students that their well-being is a vital part of a holistic education.”
ClassDojo, which is used in over 50% of Australian primary schools and the organiser of the event, is hoping that tens of millions of children will take part worldwide.
A Mindful Moment will be especially timely for two year groups of primary school children in Australia. Around 500,000 students in years’ 3 and 5 will sit their NAPLAN tests for literacy and numeracy the following week (14 – 16 May).
Mindfulness is known to promote good mental wellbeing and help children to feel better about themselves whilst also encouraging them to be more positive about their learning.
ClassDojo is one of many organisations who say that practicing mindfulness for even just a few minutes per day improves children’s optimism, decreases anxiety, increases their ability to feel empathy for others and benefits learning.
“Practicing mindfulness can help children (and adults) to improve their focus, reduce stress levels, regulate their emotions, increase their sense of optimism and demonstrate more compassion towards themselves and others,” added Maegan.
ClassDojo of 1,047 families and 891 teachers in Australia shows that:
- 75% of parents and 98% of teachers say students experience anxiety during the school day
- 63% of parents and 64% of teachers say learning how to manage feelings of anxiety is now equally as important as school work – 31% of parents and 32% of teachers say it’s even more important
- 67% of parents practice mindfulness with their child at home
- Of those who do, 96% say it has been beneficial for their child
- Top benefits include:
- Better at handling emotions: 63%
- Calmer: 42%
- Less anxious: 42%
- Happier: 36%
Liam Don, one of the co-founders of ClassDojo, says that “the aim of A Mindful Moment is to bring greater awareness to the benefits that mindfulness has on children’s long-term happiness, while also giving teachers and families a simple way to incorporate its practice into their classrooms and homes.”