Type of services provided:
Inner Explorer is a mindfulness-based social emotional learning (MBSEL) program, implemented in preschool through high school classrooms, after-school centers, and summer programs to reduce the biological and behavioral impacts of stress. The program uses a sequence of 5-10-minute daily audio-guided mindful attention and awareness practices to address the biological impact of stress by regulating the fight/flight response in the limbic system and improving higher order thinking in the prefrontal cortex-PFC. The practices enhance cognitive, social, and behavioral aptitude and outcomes.
Inner Explorer is an evidence-based program with several published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showing that those who participated in the program, compared to controls, experienced 43% less stress, 60% fewer behavior problems, and had 10-15% better academic results. As well, since teachers actually practice along with students, they experienced less stress and secondary trauma and improved classroom climate. The program structure follows the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) protocol (Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School) with 40 years of rigorous research and nearly 9,000 published papers.
Inner Explorer includes four age-appropriate levels from PK-12, with 180 brief, daily practices, 5-10 minutes long, as well as additional ‘transition’ and ‘sound’ practices that are 1-4 minutes long. The program helps students learn intrapersonal skills for naming and handling difficult emotions such as anger and frustration and for managing stress and anxiety. The program is offered in English and Spanish. The core series includes content on:
- Breathing and focusing practices help students attend to direct experiences, leading to self-awareness
- Relaxation and sense awareness practices that reduce fight-flight response and interrupt auto-pilot reactivity, leading to improved self-management
- Thought and emotional awareness practices that create space between stimulus and response, fostering responsible decision-making
- Gratitude, kindness, and forgiveness practices for self and others
There is also a dedicated series for Educator Wellbeing and for School Counselors. Sample Inner Explorer Mindfulness practices for test-taking, elementary school, high school, and an adult relaxation practice can be listened to at: https://innerexplorer.org/experience.html.
Educators can access and manage the program via a digital portal using a web browser or smartphone app. The program is accessible on any internet device. It is also integrated with top Learning Management Systems (LMS) including Clever, Schoology, Google Classroom, and Microsoft Teams, to further simplify access for educators. Families are encouraged to join in the daily Inner Explorer practices, by opting in to the program (at no cost), which increases overall usage by 2-3x and overall impact.
Inner Explorer provides an analytics panel for school administrators so they can assess usage by classroom and family program impact on key school-based outcomes (grades/test scores, attendance, behavior, graduation rates, classroom culture, teacher turnover).
Inner Explorer has three tiers of subscription:
- Explorer: Individual schools choose this option with a focus on mindfulness in the classroom (and for at-home learning). The classroom teachers have access and can share content with families through Tune-In or LMS tools like Clever.
- Community: Schools and districts choose this option to use Inner Explorer in the classroom, for at-home learning, and want to provide families with full access in all age levels (with their own log-in credentials) to be used anytime, not just through Tune-In or LMS. This option includes the Inner Explorer-Home family app, as well as the new Educator Well-Being Series and Counselor Series
- District: School districts choose this option to use Inner Explorer in schools throughout the district with all the benefits of the Community option, plus a dedicated access portal for district-wide ease of use throughout the school year and during out-of-school time, and added support from a dedicated Inner Explorer Coordinator.
Classrooms, afterschool programs, and summer learning programs (PreK-12) with integrated access for “at home” and asynchronous learning.
Length of program/number of sessions:
There are 180 5-10-minute audio-guided recordings for daily use per age group, which coincides with the typical school year, as well as 1-4-minute transition and sound practices. The Educator Well-Being Series and Counselor Series provide a complement of additional practices. The Summer Series provides a complete set of daily practices and corresponding suggested activities, as well as transition and sound practices.
Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:
Inner Explorer combines social emotional learning (SEL) and mindfulness skills and is universally implemented with all students in a classroom and/or at home. The daily practices, designed to reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress, help students process traumas closer to when they occur and build resilience and cognitive clarity, making it more likely they will reach out for help.
Education level of providers:
While most mindfulness programs for schools bring in outside trainers to deliver practices to students or train classroom teachers to deliver practices, Inner Explorer provides audio-recorded practices so students and teachers (and families) can listen together, so the curriculum can be delivered consistently without the need for additional prep, planning or training for staff. Classroom teachers simply log into InnerExplorer.org and press ‘play’ to listen to the practices along with their students. The diverse narrators are the ‘experts’. The online teacher toolkit provides additional resources.
This design provides teachers with well-being and social emotional learning (SEL) skills through daily practices. RCTs on the program’s impact have shown reduced stress and reduced secondary trauma in teachers.
Inner Explorer is the only audio-guided mindfulness program:
Formatted on MBSR and with published scientific evidence showing it improves academic outcomes.
Designed to provide families with access to the same mindfulness practice their child is listening to at school, for a shared experience and program transparency.
Designated in the CASEL Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs (2021) as an SEL- Related Approach for elementary-aged students. Childhood trauma can significantly impact SEL. SEL interventions are increasingly being integrated into trauma-informed school responses.
With diverse narrators, and in English and Spanish
Highlighted as a TOP 10 Program in the Brain Futures Policy Paper released September 2019 and with the GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency in 2019
Currently reaching over 2 million students https://innerexplorer.org