A Message to Families on Mindfulness Breathing from Chancellor David C. Banks: June 26, 2023

As part of our continuing effort to focus on the wellness of our students, I want the NYC Public Schools to do even more to help students build social-emotional skills. I want to ensure that our students have access to the tools and resources they need to develop habits for good mental health and overall wellness throughout their lives. 

As such, Mayor Adams and I are directing that each school set aside time every day for your children to engage in 2–5 minutes of Mindful Breathing activities. Schools can offer these activities in any class or school program. For example, your children may experience mindful breathing in their physical education classes, advisory classes, homeroom, or even during school announcements.

To support schools, we have developed a simple set of mindful breathing exercises that schools may use. We believe these simple techniques can help students focus on being fully present and reduce anxiety. Over the past few months, several hundred school-based staff members were trained in these Mindful Breath Practices. These simple exercises take only about 2–5 minutes a day to perform and do not require significant training.

Over 70% of our schools are already practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, but our expectation has been that every student practice 2–5 minutes of mindful breathing daily starting this school year and continue in September. As we enter the summer, these resources, training, and support will continue. We will also collaborate with schools to offer mindful breathing during summer school as I want our children to have these tools whether school is in session or not.

As you know, the mental health and wellbeing of our students is a key priority for the city and school administration, and this is one more effort to create the strong mind/body connection that is so important for our students. Thank you.

Soaring high,
David C. Banks