In this article, learn more about:
- What courses or training are required prior to enrolling in SWIP? (Prerequisites)
- Is it possible to do SWIP in the year immediately following my MTCP completion?
- What if I have taken another year-long teacher training course, other mindfulness courses, or have a long-standing meditation practice?
- What does a typical week look like?
- Will I have access to the teachers for questions and support? How does that work?
- How does this online program support connections with participants?
- Are there activities of calls that are mandatory for me to attend live?
- Are assignments suggestions or required for program completion?
- Can I complete the course without attending the retreats?
- Do I need to work in a school or educational setting in order to participate in the program?
- Do I need to be a classroom teacher to participate in SWIP?
- How does the SWIP program differ from MTCP and from taking all four of the other Mindful Schools courses?
- Will I need to purchase additional materials?
- Is everything online, with the exception of the residential retreat?
- What are the requirements for program completion?
- Is there a practicum at the end of this course? Does this program offer certification?
- What does this program qualify me to do?
- How are graduate credits granted for the program? How many Educator Graduate Level Credits are available for completing this program?
What courses or training are required prior to enrolling in SWIP?
We ask that all applicants:
- Have an established, regular mindfulness practice
- Have completed 101: Mindfulness Foundations and 201: Mindfulness in the Classroom
- If you have completed our previous courses, Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials, 201T: Mindfulness in the Classroom (Abridged) will be required to ensure you are in sync with the updated materials and the Mindful Schools Way.
- Have completed our Mindful Teacher Certification Course OR another intensive mindfulness certification program that includes a retreat component
- For graduates of MTCP, we do NOT require applicants to be "Certified Mindfulness Instructors" - only that they have earned Course Completion for MTCP.
- For those who have not completed MTCP, we do require certification in a mindfulness teaching program that includes a retreat component (e.g. MBSR, Engaged Mindfulness Institute, iBme)
Is it possible to do SWIP in the year immediately following my MTCP completion?
We strongly encourage participants to take a year between completing MTCP and enrolling in SWIP, as we believe that you will need some time to integrate the learnings from the Mindful Teacher program before taking it to scale.
What if I have taken another year-long teacher training course, other mindfulness courses, or have a long-standing meditation practice?
We do accept alternate mindfulness teacher training certifications (see course/training requirements question above). The other requirements include:
- At least 4 years of established personal practice or equivalent practice intensive program (e.g. Power of Awareness).
- At least 4 years experience teaching mindfulness with youth.
What does a typical week look like?
The goal of the Schoolwide Implementation Program is to support your development as an expert of Schoolwide Implementation (with a focus on developing your capacity to take mindfulness to scale across a school or district or in your specific context). This program unfolds in monthly modules, so no two consecutive weeks are quite the same. That said, in most weeks you can expect to have some video content to watch (either recorded videos or a live call). You will have reading and up to two short written reflections to complete. During each module, you will be asked to experiment and try something new in your context. And in all weeks, you will maintain your own daily mindfulness practice, meditating at least 20 minutes per day.
Will I have access to the teachers for questions and support? How does this work?
Our teaching faculty loves to answer questions! The entire program benefits from the questions that participants raise, as they are rooted in real life, so we encourage participants to bring as many questions as possible to the group--at retreat, in our online classroom, and during live calls.
How does this online program support connections with participants?
Community and connection are two of the core values of the Mindful Schools organization, and is the heart of the MTCP program. Therefore, it will remain central in the SWIP program, as well. We will begin with an online Opening retreat, and close with an in-person* Closing Retreat which will "bookend" your year of study. In addition, we host live calls in each module, where participants have the chance to ask questions and discuss course material in small groups. Finally, the small cohort groups that meet once per month together are designed to foster relationships and a supportive personal connection among the participants. While we might not be in the same room, time zone, or country, participants relate feeling close bonds with their fellows, often reporting a delight at finding a community of like-minded educators who are doing the same work, and we often have cohorts of participants who form such a close bond over the year that they continue to meet together, even after the completion of the course.
*Due to COVID-19, in-person residential retreats may need to become virtual online retreats.
Are there activities or calls that are mandatory for me to attend live?
We do record most live calls, recognizing that we have participants in many different time zones and with many different schedules. While our calls are intended to be interactive and offer participants the chance to ask questions and discuss material in small groups, much of the experience can be gained from watching the recording. The only exception to this is your monthly Cohort Group Call - this is the one call which is not recorded and at which live attendance is mandatory.
Cohort Group Call: Once a month, your small cohort group-approximately 8 participants and your Guiding Teacher-have live calls. Group discussion, feedback, and support is an integral part of these calls. These calls are not recorded, and live attendance is mandatory. You will self-select into cohorts at the Opening Retreat and will be able to choose a cohort that meets at an available time for your schedule.
Are assignments suggestions or required for program completion?
In order to qualify for Course Completion status, participants must complete all assignments in the program. Because we know people have different needs and different teaching situations, participants are always given a choice of several different assignments from which to choose. In each module, there are required "intake" assignments (where participants are taking in information by reading or watching a video), an "application" assignment where we ask you to try something new in your teaching, and either one or two written reflection assignments.
Can I complete the course without attending the retreats?
No. Full and complete attendance at both the Opening and Closing Retreats is a required and critical component of this program. You will not be able to participate in the Schoolwide Implementation Program if you are not able to fully attend the Opening Retreat and will not be considered a Graduate of the program if you are not able to fully attend the Closing Retreat.
Do I need to work in a school or educational setting in order to participate in the program?
SWIP is a hands-on program. Since one of the main goals of this training is to gain expertise in various aspects of Schoolwide Implementation (such as facilitating teacher learning, creating professional development for teachers, working with administrators, and designing multi-year strategic implementation plans), having access to an educational setting is extremely important. You may be working in the school, or you may have a partnership with that school as an outside provider. Each month, you will be asked to try out a facilitation experiment and report back on the results, and in the second half of the program, you will be designing a multi-year implementation program for your educational setting.
Do I need to be a classroom teacher to participate in SWIP?
While it's helpful to have prior experience in schools or teaching youth in other settings, you are not required to be a classroom teacher. Our program has served a wide array of participants throughout varying educational communities, including classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, school administrators, school counselors & mental health professionals, yoga teachers, parents, other outside providers & volunteer, and those switching careers. One of the exciting elements of the program is hearing the wide variety of perspectives that participants bring to this work.
How does the SWIP program differ from MTCP and from taking all five of the other Mindful Schools courses?
The Mindful Teacher Certification Program (MTCP) focuses on supporting your development as a Mindful Teacher (with a focus on your development and the teaching of mindfulness in your classroom), while our Schoolwide Implementation Program (SWIP) focuses on supporting your development as an expert of Schoolwide Implementation (with a focus on developing your capacity to take mindfulness to scale across a school or district or in your specific context).
Where MTCP is designed to strengthen your skills facilitating mindfulness with students, SWIP is designed to strengthen your facilitation in a variety of organizational contexts (including instructional coaching, practice support for adults, design thinking & planning).
Will I need to purchase additional materials?
There are no additional materials you need to purchase for the core content of the program. All participants will need to have access to the online classroom/internet access.
Is everything online, with the exception of the residential retreat?
Yes. Other than the Closing residential retreat*, our learning experience takes place in our online classroom, through the online Opening retreat, online readings, forums, and videos, as well as live, interactive practice and workshop calls, and Cohort Calls.
*Due to COVID-19, in-person residential retreats may need to become virtual online retreats.
What are the requirements for program completion?
Course Completion: A participant who achieves course completion may say they are a "graduate of Mindful Schools' Schoolwide Implementation Program" and will be listed in the "Schoolwide Implementation Program Graduates Directory".
For course completion, participants must:
- Attend (in full) the online Opening retreat (live attendance is required)
- Attend (in full) the Closing residential retreat* (live attendance is required)
- View all required online content, including instructional videos and webinars (may attend live or view recording)
- Attend all monthly small-group webinar cohort calls (live attendance is required)
- Complete all required readings and written reflection assignments and all online community of practice, small study group, and mentor engagement requirements
- Maintain a daily personal mindfulness practice of 20 minutes
- Complete the Implementation Lab requirements: submit a multi-year implementation plan and give feedback of the plans of others in their cohort
Is there a practicum at the end of this course? Does this program offer certification?
This course does not offer certification, and therefore does not have a practicum submission at the end of the course. Participants do, however, prepare a portfolio of their work and their school's journey for sharing at the Closing Retreat.
What does this program qualify me to do?
At the end of this program, you will be qualified to:
(In addition to everything you were qualified to do as either a graduate of MTCP or a Certified Mindfulness Instructor):
Specifically, as a graduate of the Schoolwide Implementation Program, you ARE qualified to:
- Design school- and district-wide implementation of mindfulness program plans, implement those plans
- Use the Mindful Schools Schoolwide Implementation Assessment Tool to evaluate schools, districts, and other educational settings to determine where they are on the path to becoming mindful schools (or educational settings) and provide guidance for the best next steps the organization can take on the journey
- Create and adapt a mindfulness program to the needs of a specific school setting or content area (e.g. ongoing classroom instruction, science, health, PE, philosophy, supporting sports teams, etc.) and incorporate mindfulness instruction into other types of instruction or classroom routines (e.g. test-taking, counseling, circle time, advisory/homeroom, etc.)
- Support efforts to design a mindfulness program for school communities or similar institutions, and in general, support teachers and administrators in their work to establish or grow a mindfulness program
- Lead professional development sessions related to the field of mindfulness in education, the benefits of teaching mindfulness to youth, and the benefits of youth caregivers having a personal mindfulness practice
- Teach adults how to practice mindfulness by offering introductory and beginner-level mindfulness classes. You can also offer mindfulness practice to groups of teacher, administrators, parents, or other interested adults in the school community or institution
- Provide observation, feedback, and instructional coaching using Mindful Schools' Mindful Teaching Observation Tool
At the end of this program, you will not be qualified to:
- Certify other teachers to teach mindfulness
- Represent yourself as an employee of Mindful Schools or teach Mindful Schools courses (e.g. 101: Mindfulness Foundations, 201: Mindfulness in the Classroom)
- Offer advanced personal practice support or multi-day/residential practice-intensive retreats for adults
- Provide mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions (e.g. mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, trauma therapy, etc.)
How are graduate credits granted for the program? How many Educator Graduate Level Credits are available for completing this program?
You may apply for and receive Educator Graduate Level Credits after completing SWIP. Educator GLCs are offered through our partner organization, Courses 4 Teachers, an affiliate of University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA.
For SWIP you can register for up to 15 units/credits for the year. You can learn more about that process here.