Runtime: 55m 57s | Release date: 2013
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.