"ROOM TO BREATHE has drawn national attention to mindfulness...perhaps
the fastest-growing technique in classrooms for teaching self-control."
— Washington Post
Many schools across the country are facing an epidemic of students struggling with poor attention, low academic performance, lack of self-control, bullying and stress.ROOM TO BREATHE
explores one promising solution that has been tested in dozens of public and private schools – a self-awareness technique called mindfulness that increases kids’ focus and concentration, self-control and classroom performance.
The film presents a hopeful story of transformation, following a young mindfulness teacher, Megan Cowan, who spends several months attempting to teach the technique to troubled kids in a San Francisco public middle school that tops the district in disciplinary suspensions.
Cowan is confronted at first by defiance and contempt. But under her guidance, the students begin to learn the mindfulness technique and eventually use it to take greater control over their lives, decrease stress, and better focus in class and at home.
Based on the experiences depicted in the film, as well as results at other schools and independent academic studies, mindfulness 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.
Interviews with mindfulness in the classroom experts:
- Megan Cowan, Director of Mindful Schools;
- Dan Siegel, MD, UCLA Clinical Professor of Psychiatry;
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., Emeritus Prof. of Medicine, Univ. of Massachusetts
Video testimonials from 6 students in the San Francisco class.
Reviews and Festivals"Highly Recommended. An excellent resource for parents, educators, and community members interested in seeing all students cultivate a lifelong love of learning; also useful for introducing young adults to the benefits of training in self-awareness."
— Educational Media Reviews Online
"An excellent discussion starter for educators and students interested in raising achievement levels."
— Booklist (American Library Association)
“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
"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 Villareal, 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, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University
“A beautifully crafted jewel of a documentary. As an educator, my heart and mind were captured by this film and the exquisite tool it provides. This is a film that can change so much with so little. “
— Leslie Leslie, Fred Gellert Family Foundation
“This film beautifully and authentically portrays the power of mindfulness to change individuals, families, one classroom, and perhaps, one day, the world.”
— Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education,
UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center
"A riveting story of at-risk kids learning to take more control of their lives and actions through the powerful practice of mindfulness. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that the ability to focus, to attend and regulate one's emotions has extraordinary positive benefit…."
— James R. Doty, M.D., Founder and Director,
The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.
"As a foundation that provides college scholarships to graduating seniors in a rural public school system in Georgia, we see the negative results of impulsive and apathetic behavior in young people. Room to Breathe is an outstanding film that portrays the importance of learning to take responsibility and determine ones own fate through the art of mindful thinking."
— Phyllis Bowen, Executive Director, Sapelo Foundation
"An enjoyable and encouraging film about the potential value of mindfulness in our troubled schools."
— Ann Shulman, Executive Director, Greater Good Science Center