Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Leigh D’Amico


Children appear to be faced with more stressors today than ever before, and schools are tasked with providing social and emotional support and instruction to help their students navigate life’s ups and downs. The purpose of this mixed methods action research case study was to explore the effectiveness of mindfulness-based practices as a social and emotional learning (SEL) intervention for a small group of three second grade students at a rural elementary school. These students were identified by their teacher as having weaknesses in the areas of self-control, emotional regulation, and sustained attention that required more targeted intervention than the class-wide lessons already implemented. This exploration of an SEL intervention within a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework is grounded in a theoretical framework comprising Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and concept of self-actualization, and Carl Rogers’ humanist perspective. Data collected via pre- and post-intervention surveys, teacher and participant interviews, and observations suggest that all three students improved in the areas of self-awareness and self-management after participating in the mindfulness-based intervention. The three students also seemed to enjoy the intervention, and they reported practicing or using mindfulness strategies outside of the sessions. Important implications regarding the lesson delivery were also discovered and can be used to improve the use of this intervention as an SEL support in the future. The results of this action research study suggest that small-group, mindfulness-based practices boast the potential to serve as an engaging, effective, and practical SEL intervention for schools in a time of heightened social and emotional needs.