Our Mission is to cultivate the inner lives of students, teachers and schools by integrating social and emotional learning with contemplative practice.
The Inner Resilience Program (IRP) was founded by Director Linda Lantieri in the spring of 2002 in response to the effects of the events of September 11, 2001 on New York City schools. The aim was to equip school staff and parents with the skills necessary to build back their inner strength and resilience, and to model this way of being for the children in their care. Since the beginning, the implementation of IRP has included weekend residential retreats for school staff, professional development workshops, individual stress reduction sessions and parent workshops at school sites. The program also includes opportunities for teachers to nurture their inner lives through weekly yoga classes and monthly sessions in which school staff are introduced to many self-care strategies including a variety of contemplative practices. IRP has also developed and piloted a k-8 curriculum: Building Resilience from the Inside Out
It became clear that the work being implemented in schools in lower Manhattan had broader implications to the field of education in general. Public school teachers all over the city and the country were overstressed and close to burnout. Many of them needed help managing the new challenges facing them inside the classroom and out. However, before expanding the work further, IRP embarked on a randomized control research study of 57 NYC teachers and 855 students to measure its effects on reducing teachers’ stress levels and classroom climate. Treatment group teachers showed a significant decrease in stress their levels, and an increase in mindfulness and relational trust. Third and fourth grade students of teachers in the treatment group showed a significant increase in autonomy and influence and a decrease in frustration levels.
Today IRP is also being implemented in the South Burlington School District in Vermont and will also be integrated in the Warren, Niles, and Youngstown City School Districts in Ohio. Since IRP began, over 6,000 school staff, 3,000 parents and over 12,000 students have been served. Adults and students alike are helping to reclaim their schools as caring and mindful communities of learning.