The purpose of this pilot study is to examine the effects of a mindfulness intervention on emerging self-regulation and compassion/empathy among low-income preschoolers. The study will be conducted with children enrolled in Project GROW, an Americorps program at UW-Madison that pairs college students with low-income preschoolers over the course of a school year. Project GROW provides one-on-one mentoring and structured activities to improve school readiness and emergent literacy. This study will pilot a mindfulness intervention offered to half of the children in Project GROW. A control group will consist of children enrolled in Project GROW who do not receive the mindfulness intervention. The proposed exploratory study has 3 aims: (1) to conduct a pilot study with high risk (i.e., low income) preschoolers to determine effects of a mindfulness intervention on children’s empathy, compassion, and self-regulation, (2) to determine how a mindfulness curriculum can be implemented in a developmentally appropriate manner for high risk preschoolers, and (3) to assess how this field-based application enhances or raises new questions regarding laboratory-based findings regarding use of contemplative practices, especially pertaining to the development of empathic responding in children.

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