Jockey Club “Peace and Awareness” Mindfulness Culture in Schools Initiative held the Third Anniversary Sharing Webinar and will continue to support schools in promoting mindfulness culture

Year 2022 marked the third anniversary of the Jockey Club “Peace and Awareness” Mindfulness Culture in Schools Initiative (JC PandA), which is organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences of The University of Hong Kong and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (The Trust). Online events were held today (May 21) to showcase the success of the project. The project team and the nine JC PandA’s Seed Schools shared their valuable experiences and insights in successfully promoting mindfulness culture in the education sector.

Officiating guests today included Ms Elsie Tsang, Executive Manager, Charities (Youth, Education & Poverty Alleviation) of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Professor William Hayward, Dean of Social Sciences of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), and Professor Shui-fong Lam, Director of JC PandA.

Ms Tsang said challenges brought by the pandemic has affected mental health in our community, especially youth, who had to cope with school disruptions and the new normal. “JC PandA has proven successful both on the individual and sector levels even in difficult times. I’m very grateful that the seed schools that first joined this project have become mindfulness resource hubs and have been sharing their pioneering experiences with other schools, benefiting over 3,000 students.” She added the project has attracted nearly 40 schools to join as network partners as well as assisted universities and NGOs to promote mindfulness. Ms Tsang said these efforts are driven by the Club’s purpose to act continuously for the betterment of society. She said with the fruitful results, the project will extend until 2025 to enhance and expand its services.

Professor Hayward is grateful for The Trust’s continuous support. He commended, “To teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. The success of JC PandA comes from empowerment.” Since the beginning of the project, the team has provided mindfulness training to over a thousand teachers and school helping professionals, e.g. educational psychologists, social workers and counsellors, to equip them with stress coping skills and prepare them to teach mindfulness. They are also encouraged to include mindfulness in the repertoire of their teaching and services. In the coming three years, the project will include parents as one of the major stakeholders. By empowering parents with mindful parenting, they can take better care of themselves and their children. When parents, teachers, and school helping professionals learnt the foundation of mindfulness, the second phase of JC PandA will be able to enhance family-school-community collaboration and create synergy.

Professor Lam said, “In the time of COVID-19 pandemic, staying mindful to take good care of our mental health was crucial. The team made timely responses to support the public during difficult times.” The project has launched a mobile app and has developed resource packages, video clips and audio guides during the pandemic. Moreover, many mindfulness gathering sessions, and public education and outreach activities were organised to serve not only teachers and the education sector but also the community-at-large.

Cutting-edge research findings were also shared by Professor Lam. JC PandA conducted a randomised controlled trial (RCT), and discovered that the benefit of eight-week mindfulness training is not limited to teachers’ well-being, but also translated into a higher level of mindfulness in their teaching. These teachers reported being more open, accepting, and sensitive to their students’ needs. The results indicated a worth-noting phenomenon: teachers with lower baseline in well-being benefitted the most from the mindfulness training. Compared with their counterparts with a higher baseline, they show a significant improvement in terms of well-being. It is clear that mindfulness is vital when we are adapting to the “new normal”. The research has been published in an international academic journal.

Representatives of the nine participating seed schools shared their insights and effectiveness of promoting a mindfulness culture at school, which is of valuable reference value for other practitioners.

The resources developed by JC PandA are freely available to the public for use. For details, please visit the project website: www.jcpanda.hk. Also, please stay tuned for the latest news on the project website.

About Jockey Club “Peace and Awareness” Mindfulness Culture in Schools Initiative
Jockey Club “Peace and Awareness” Mindfulness Culture in Schools Initiative (JC PandA) aims to promote mindfulness culture in schools in Hong Kong and focuses on the mental health of students, teachers and the general public in Hong Kong. This six years’ project spans between 2019 and 2025 is funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and is organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences of The University of Hong Kong. JC PandA is one of the pioneer large-scale projects in Chinese societies that explores the benefits of mindfulness for students and teachers in school settings. The research findings and experiences of the project will shed light on how mindfulness could be applied in the education sector, and enable educators in Chinese societies to apply mindfulness in building a healthy and flourishing school culture.

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