ROOM TO BREATHE – A film by Russell Long about teaching mindfulness in schools

Arts in Action in partnership with Well School and Mindful in May  presents a screening of the documentary  ROOM TO BREATHE a surprising story of transformation as struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation– a self-regulatory technique that increases kids’ focus and concentration, self-awareness and impulse control. JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT

ROOM TO BREATHE by director Russell Long is the first mainstream documentary about bringing mindfulness into education. It is an authentic representation of what it’s like to teach mindfulness in a truly challenging environment. By providing a raw and realistic look at the process, it shows how even the most difficult classrooms can be turned around with patience, teaching skill, and partnership with school staff. Based on the experiences depicted in the film, as well as results at other schools and independent academic studies, the mindfulness technique appears to have broad potential to significantly improve kids’ social interactions with peers and adults, to reduce bullying and violence, and to improve academic performance and graduation rates.

Panel discussion: A post screening panel discussion led by experts in the field of mindfulness and education  will present options for integrating mindfulness techniques into the classroom and discuss issues raised in the film. The audience will have the opportunity to participate in a mindful meditation and experience the benefits first hand!


Topping the district in disciplinary suspensions, and with overcrowded classrooms creating a nearly impossible learning environment, overwhelmed administrators are left with stark choices: repeating the cycle of trying to force tuned-out children to listen, or to experiment with timeless inner practices that may provide them with the social, emotional, and attentional skills that they need to succeed.

The film presents a hopeful story of transformation, following a young mindfulness teacher, Megan Cowan, as she spends several months attempting to teach the technique to her classroom. Confronted by defiance and contempt, Cowan at first runs into substantial difficulties. But under her guidance, the students begin to learn the technique and eventually use it to take greater control over their lives, decrease stress, and better focus in class and at home.

The first question is whether it’s already too late. Confronted by defiance, contempt for authority figures, poor discipline, and more interest in “social” than learning, can a young mindfulness teacher from Berkeley succeed in opening their minds and hearts?

How to make kids listen to their minds Self-reflection to help enlighten children is being introduced into classrooms  worldwide by Richard Schiffman SYDNEY MORNING HERALD



Room to Breathe is a beautifully crafted documentary and a must-see for anyone who cares about educating kids to be caring and responsible citizens in the 21st Century. More importantly, the practice of mindfulness in schools is truly the next frontier in education reform. We will never close the relentless achievement gap without this kind of intervention. It’s contemporary, relevant, evidence based, and it is working!” Lisa R. Villarreal Program Officer, Education, The San Francisco Foundation

“This is a meaningful, moving, and gutsy film that gives hope in the face of adversity. This film provides a powerful glimpse of what is possible when mindfulness is offered in a skillful manner to our youth in their schools.” Philippe Goldin, Ph.D.Department of Psychology, Research Scientist, Stanford University

Room to Breathe tells the story of a special school community that has the courage to try something positive, enriching and innovative to support their students. The principles learned through the Mindfulness sessions – focus, respect, calmness, introspection – will be of great lifelong value to the students, and, to the teachers and parents who support them.” –Mary Jane Burke, Superintendent of Schools, Marin County

Well School

Founded by Eva Migdal Well School is a global initiative focused on developing thriving school communities. Our primary focus is on teacher wellness and their capacity to bring wellness to themselves and their classroom.  Learning and living with wellness brings out the best in people. For teachers it can help reconnect to ones passion for teaching, for students it can help them reach their full potential  – in their physical, social, mental and spiritual development.

Mindful in May

Created by Elise Bialylew Mindful in May (MIM), a one month meditation campaign, was created as a way of supporting busy people to learn meditation at home and join with a conscious community to create new healthy habits and simultaneously contribute to the lives of others living in poverty.

Combining the benefits of mindfulness meditation with an opportunity to contribute to a global cause, in it’s first year, 850 participants from twelve countries collectively raised $27,000 to build five clean water wells in the developing world. Sign up to get information about MIM2013.

Facebook: Twitter: @mindfulinmay @meditatecreate


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