Mindfulness and Young Children’s Well-being in Hong Kong: A Mixed Methods Study

  • Helen Maffini

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


Research indicates that children of all ages are experiencing more stress, anxiety and depression for a variety of reasons. Schools and educators are looking for solutions to help children overcome these negative states and transition into more positive states.
Mindfulness is one area that looks promising in helping children develop higher levels of well-being and in developing positive dispositions. Preschool children enter schools with a variety of dispositions, both positive and negative, and teachers would like to further develop the more positive dispositions and encourage the development of other well-being dispositions. Mindfulness could be a way to tap into this area and help preschool children to learn and thrive.
There are limited research studies in preschools on whether or not mindfulness is beneficial, what practices are suitable for young children and what children perceive mindfulness to be.
The purpose of this study was to examine parent’s, teachers’ and children’s perspectives of mindfulness and to explore whether well-being dispositions, including being attentive, focussed, showing prosocial behaviours and being emotionally and socially regulated can benefit from this practice.
A mixed methods approach, integrated with the Mosaic approach, took place in seven Hong Kong preschools. The study used a variety of data including surveys, interviews, children’s drawings, scribed words and classroom assessments. A six-week, preschool classroom intervention brought mindfulness to life with a variety of practices for young children including breathwork, movement, awareness, and kindness practices.
Teachers and parents observed increased well-being dispositions including prosocial behaviours such as being kind and caring, feelings of increased calmness and more focus in the children. Children incorporated mindfulness themes in their drawings, including attention to breath, listening, calmness and relaxation. Children also placed themes related to kindness in their drawings, including giving, helping others, love and sharing. Self-regulation data was less convincing as the triangulated data showed a mix of outcomes.
This study contributes to the larger conversation on how mindfulness might aid in the development of preschool children’s well-being dispositions, and on how children’s voice might develop in future mindfulness research.
Date of Award24 Jun 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorRita Chawla-Duggan (Supervisor) & Kathleen Bullock (Supervisor)

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