SITE UPGRADE COMING SOON: On or around January 31st, 2022, I'll be moving Mindful Teachers to a new, more mobile-friendly platform.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Integrating Academics with Mindfulness and SEL

Image by AkshayaPatra Foundation from Pixabay 

by Catharine Hannay

“SEL is not one more thing on the plate. It is the plate.” 
Lisa Xagas, Naperville 203 School District, Illinois

One of my main goals here at is to make it easier for educators to find quality resources on mindfulness and values-based teaching. With that in mind, I've been updating the Mindfulness Resources page so you can quickly scan for breath-based practicesfive senses activities, gratitude practicesteaching teens, teaching young children, and so on.

Today I'd like to focus on how K-12 teachers can integrate academic content with mindfulness and social-emotional learning.

If you aren't familiar with SEL

CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, has a lot of useful information on their website, including:

If you're wondering about the connection between mindfulness and SEL:

Renee Metty is the founder of a preschool specializing in mindfulness and social emotional learning. (If you teach younger kids, be sure to read her full interview on Breathing Buddies and Vibratones: Mindfulness for Young Children.) She explains,
Mindfulness is the doorway to any social emotional learning program. Social emotional learning programs are usually skill based and typically assume that the children already know how to pause.  
Mindfulness helps us recognize what is happening internally with our own experience and not just knowing and identifying emotions externally at a cognitive level. 
The practice of mindfulness also includes the key components of seeing your experience without judgment or evaluation and being able to shift focus away from the past or future while noticing and letting go of past behavioral conditioning. 

If you're looking for information about how to integrate SEL with your school's curriculum:

If you're looking for lesson plans and teaching tips
  • Collaborative Classroom has a couple of very useful resources:
He also has specific suggestions for 
And there are many more resources for teaching mindfulness, compassion, and SEL at

Catharine Hannay is the founder of and the author of Being You: A Girl’s Guide to Mindfulness, a workbook for teen girls on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance. (Sales of the book help me continue to run with no sponsorship or advertising.)