Calmer Choice, non-profit organization in Barnstable, Massachusetts Calmer Choice, non-profit organization in Barnstable, Massachusetts

The Child, The Teacher, The Researcher and the MRI (part 1 of 4)

The Calmer Choice Research Story

We’d like to tell you a story. No, not the one about Calmer Choice and its humble beginnings. But the one about the amazing, measurable, positive changes occurring in children...


For real.

Of course, that didn’t happen overnight, but we want to tell the story about how we got here, to the brain changes.

It started with one mother’s determination to support her daughter’s peer group during a time of crisis, which turned into an organization bringing a mindfulness curriculum to thousands of kids on Cape Cod, and beyond.

Of course, you might all know Fiona- the tenacious, determined OT who wasn’t looking for a new job? Well, she got one!

She never would have guessed that leading institutions like MIT, Harvard, Tufts, and Yale would be interested in studying the efficacy of teaching this curriculum to children. But they are, and now they have. We want to tell you this remarkable research story that started right here on little Ol’ Cape Cod.

A Lesson in Patience

One thing we’ve learned during this research journey is, nothing happens quickly. It is a slow, meandering process of asking questions and finding the best ways to get the answers.

It is creative and technical and convoluted and messy and exciting. Once the answers are there, you still might be waiting years to be published, if publishing happens at all.

But, the results still stand and we want to share them with you here in this 4 part research story.

On The Shoulders of Giants

We are fortunate at Calmer Choice to have researchers who are supporters and cheerleaders for the work we do.

Dr. Dan Siegel, founder of the Mindsight Institute, is one of these supporters.

He is a clinical professor and researcher at UCLA who has written a number of books focused on brain research and aspects of mindful awareness. In this video, he briefly outlines how Calmer Choice supports three pillars of mindfulness training that research has shown improves the way the mind works.

Dan siegel
Dr. Dan Siegel, founder of the Mindsight Institute

A Mission of Mindfulness

Our mission at Calmer Choice is to provide the tools and strategies kids need to apply mindfulness to their everyday lives. This is not a program only for underserved or disenfranchised students. It is for everyone.

Schools that commit to adopting Calmer Choice as a school-wide prevention and social-emotional learning program have prioritized these essential skills we all need to maneuver our face-paced, information-overloaded, and often stressful world.

And, the research shows that kids in our programs are WINNING at life strategies.

Through this research series, we will bring you results of what has been found about the Calmer Choice program to date in the following research:

  • 2012-13 What impact does mindfulness have on children in schools?
    Tufts- Mary Barnes, OTRL, Svea V. Hall, MS, OTR/L, OTRL, Fiona Jensen, OTR/L, Adria Kennedy, RN, MSN, NCSN, PMHNP-BC
  • 2014-17 Can Mindfulness Mitigate Anxiety in Middle Schoolers?
    Yale, Child Study Center- Michael Crowley, PhD, Fiona Jensen, OTR/L, Adria Kennedy, RN, MSN, NCSN, PMHNP-BC, Sarah Nicholls PhD
  • 2016 Neural Mechanisms Enhanced by Mindfulness Training
    MIT and Harvard, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and McGovern Institute for Brain Research- Clemens Bauer, PhD, John Gabrieli, PhD