Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Matthew E. Davis, PhD

Second Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD


This study aimed to assess the impact of mindfulness activities, yoga, and kinesthetic movement on students’ self-reported mood, feelings of wellbeing, and levels of calmness and attention. Research suggests that meditation and mindfulness can help students regulate emotions and accordingly decrease levels of stress and increase feelings of wellbeing in the classroom (Dariotis, Mirabal-Beltran, Cluxton-Keller, 2016). Mindfulness has also been shown to increase executive functioning in young children. Kinesthetic movement, including yoga and repetitive movements, has also been shown to increase cognitive functioning in young children, especially in regards to executive functioning (Zeng, Ayyub, Sun, Wen, Xiang, & Gao, 2017).

This qualitative study was conducted with three classes of the first year of a new program for TK classroom students, who in this research, participated in a sequence of mindfulness and yoga activities over three weeks. Students reflected on their experiences in post-exercise drawings and focus groups. The classroom teachers also participated in interviews. The major findings identified that many students felt readier to learn and calmer after and during the mindfulness, movement, and drawing exercises. To exemplify this, students rate themselves as more calm on average through lower numbers on a scale of 1-5. More students drew themselves as being rainbow or “ready to go” after the activities. Students also found that after participating they had greater facility for identifying their emotions. Finally, many students showed improved peer relationships throughout the day following the experiences.

Movement and mindfulness practices can promote equity in young children by providing opportunities for all children to develop self-awareness, emotional regulation, and empathy. These practices can be particularly helpful for children from marginalized communities who may experience stress and trauma related to their experiences with systemic oppression. By engaging in mindfulness and movement activities, children can learn to recognize and regulate their emotions, which can improve their overall well-being and reduce behavioral challenges. Additionally, these practices can help children develop empathy for others and foster a sense of community and connection with their peers. By making these practices accessible and inclusive for all children, regardless of their background, school mindfulness and movement programs can help promote equity and support the healthy development of all children.

IRB Number