Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MSW/MA Social Work and Child Development


Child Development Graduate Program


A culture of education embedded in mind-body learning experiences and mindfulness approaches to knowledge on multiple levels through awareness has the potential to cultivate versatile and flexible social individuals who are mentally, emotionally, and intellectually “capable.” Since children experience the world primarily through their bodies, movement and interaction with the environment are a means for them to explore, find, understand, and fortify the self to better regulate their physical, emotional, and social realms so that they develop into social individuals who find value in themselves and in others. Therefore, focusing on strengthening children‟s mind-body connection through mindfulness-based practices is a topic worth investigating. Accordingly, this thesis addresses the processes of awareness in preschool children through movement and interaction with nature. The nature component is crucial because it grounds the self inside a world that is boundless yet intimate and engulfing yet comforting. Therefore, the theme of nature was incorporated throughout the thesis project. Awareness and openness, particularly in preschool children, begins in noticing and caring not only for themselves but for others – people, animals, and “things.” Thus I created 3 activities – nature walks, stone building, and mindful movement –while observing the ways children behaved throughout each activity. The gathered observations were analyzed and related back to the importance and benefits of mindfulness education. The goal was to foster intentional attention and sense of awareness while strengthening the mind-body connection. This study was qualitative, multidisciplinary, and experiential – an exploration based on observations of ongoing activities in the classroom – and was not intended to measure outcomes but rather document and record the process, including the children‟s verbal, physical, and symbolic expression of their experiences.