Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Eleni Roulis, Jean-Pierre Bongila, Bonita Jungels



Spirituality practices like meditation, mindfulness, and movement (i.e., yoga) have become widely used and researched in the last 20 years among adults in both clinical and nonclinical settings (Bohlmeijer, Prenger, Taal, & Cuijipers, 2010; Burke, 2010; Ludwig & Kabat-Zinn, 2008). More recently practitioners have used them increasingly with young people in clinical settings (Biegel, Brown, Shapiro, & Schuber, 2009; Burke, 2010; Roberts, Roberts, & Chan, 2008; Thompson & Gauntlett-Gilbert, 2008). But at this time, few studies demonstrate how teachers incorporate these practices in K-12 schools, particularly within the regular education classroom (Goldstein, 2010).

The purpose of this grounded theory case study was to identify and analyze how teachers and school staff in Minnesota schools implement mindfulness programs with K-12 students in traditional classroom settings and the impact these practices have on students’ behavior, mental health, and performance as described by study participants. This study utilized qualitative data collection under a constructivist-interpretivist paradigm and investigated six schools. The study consisted of 13 interviews with administrators, teachers, and support staff in K-12 settings in addition to classroom observations and a review of mindfulness curriculum. Primary findings reflected three phases of implementation: initiation, the implementation process, and the impact felt by students and schools. Specific findings included the influence of administration and teacher leaders, obstacles faced by stakeholders, the influence of gateway programs, and the motivation for and impact of implementation of mindfulness practices. This study led to the development of a mindfulness implementation model for K-12 students stemming from Fowler and Dell’s (2006) stages of faith development. The phases of the mindfulness implementation model include establishing a safe environment, play, calm and control, and quiet. Results of the study indicate a need to educate the public in the nature of spirituality versus religion and continued K-12 studies that explore long-term levels of impact.


Mindfulness, spirituality, yoga, self-regulation, contemplative practice

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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