This stage involves communicating to the wider school what the school will be doing; why you will be doing it; how it is advantageous to the school’s previous approach; and how each can get involved.
One of the most important stages for the introduction of a new program in a school is a targeted effort to raise the school community’s awareness of the new program. The importance of this stage was first introduced by Rogers25 who defined the process by which programs are ‘diffused’ into an organisation. One of the first phases of diffusion is making the school community aware of the approach.
Since Rogers early Diffusion of Innovation theory, researchers and practitioners working with schools have advocated for the importance of this initial awareness raising step. Moreover, the school capacity work of Gingiss11 and others also cites this initial ‘awareness’ raising phase critical to the success of a whole-school approach.
Some of the core messages recommended in Gingiss’11 work include providing sufficient detail of the proposed approach, demonstrating how the approach fits with and not against the school’s current activities and the relative ‘advantage’ of the approach as compared with normal practice.
In the literature relating to mindfulness in schools, the importance of first describing the school’s approach to mindfulness is widely recommended. Many previous intervention studies reported in the literature cite misconceptions of mindfulness as a religious activity as one of the most significant barriers to a program’s success18, 24, 26.
Therefore, in the most recent review articles, experts in this field recommend a critical first step in planning and implementing mindfulness in schools is to take the time to communicate very clearly the school’s secular approach to mindfulness to staff, parents and students5. Some scholars note this process can be time consuming, depending on the pre-existing views of the school community.