Contemplative practices in early childhood: Implications for self-regulation skills and school readiness

  • Willis E
  • Dinehart L
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This article examines the development of self-regulation skills in early childhood and the possibilities of children's contemplative practices as a viable tool to facilitate this development. Current research indicates that self-regulation skills in early childhood education make a significant contribution to school readiness, and long-term academic success. This link establishes the need to bridge the gap between scientific research and classroom practice to implement more programmes that facilitate this development in early childhood classrooms. The development of self-regulation skills are discussed and examined specifically in relation to being mindful, achieving focussed attention and increased awareness of social–emotional behaviours. The contemplative practices, an umbrella term for mindfulness and meditational-based practices, are viewed as potential vehicles to facilitate self-regulation skills in the early childhood classrooms. Additional research is recommended to determine whether children exposed to these programmes will demonstrate more appropriate social–emotional behaviours, including enhancing children's self-regulation skills leading to long-term academic success.

Author-supplied keywords

  • early childhood
  • meditation
  • mindfulness
  • school readiness
  • self-regulation

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  • Elizabeth Willis

  • Laura H. Dinehart

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