Mindful Youth

Mindfulness Lessons and Workshops for Children, Young Adults & Families

Ellen McCartyEllen McCarty, a former senior mindfulness instructor for the non-profit Mindful Schools, has taught mindfulness to students and families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area since 2011. A secular practitioner of Vipassana and Zen meditation since 1997, she teaches private mindfulness lessons and workshops to students of all ages, including those with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Her goal is to help young people better understand their minds, reduce stress and communicate more effectively so that they can build fulfilling friendships and careers. She also wants to help children who are bullied find communities of kindness.

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Mindful Play

leaf on beachMindfulness skills are introduced to elementary school children in the context of their favorite games. Much like hiding healthy food in kids’ favorite meals, this technique gives children powerful tools to understand their minds (especially emotions) and communicate effectively (rather than act out) while playing. Whether your child is an outgoing over-achiever or suffering from emotional or social challenges, Mindful Play improves their lives. They will naturally start to apply their mindfulness skills to other areas of their life. The best part: they don’t know this is a lesson. When they see me, all they know is that we’re going to have a lot of fun! Note: Mindful Play can be paired with tutoring, during which I help children understand and overcome aversion to studying difficult subjects.
Ages 8+

A Mindful Family

For families who want to learn mindfulness at their own pace, these lessons are based on a set of skills that parents and children can learn and practice together. You will find that this quiet (fun!) time together creates a therapeutic space in your home that you can return to as often as you wish.
Ages 5+

Junior High, High School & College-level lessons

For junior high, high school and college students who want to learn mindfulness or deepen a new meditation practice, these lessons educate students how to develop and protect their well-being. Students will receive age-appropriate meditation instructions and learn how to use mindfulness to cope with stress and difficult life situations in a healthy way. These lessons can be given one-on-one or to small groups of friends based on your preferences.
Ages 11+


Bermuda Beach Scene

Mindful Families Workshop

Meet lots of new friends in your age group (parents, too!) who are dedicated to kindness and a healthier lifestyle. Explore a variety of fun and profound mindfulness-based activities as a community.*
Ages 8+


Youth Stress Management Workshop

Separate workshops are available for high school youth and college youth. Young adults face tremendous pressure to outperform their peers in increasingly competitive (and expensive) college-prep and university environments. As someone who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in four years as part of Northwestern University’s accelerated program, I can relate. This workshop teaches skills for achieving academic excellence without sacrificing well-being and physical health. After this workshop, students can network with each other to create their own ongoing support groups (my presence optional).*
Ages 14-22

*Please note: A minimum number of participants are required for workshops based on the expense and availability of meeting facilities in your community. Contact me if you are interested in a workshop and I’ll get back to you for a final confirmation (including price) when enough families or young adults representing compatible ages have indicated their interest.


“Ellen is gifted with children. She has the ability to reach them in a magical way, understanding the eyes through which they see the world and creatively introducing ways to explore their emotions, ideas and interactions. She makes self awareness fun and natural, teaching with relevance, playfulness and acceptance. She can reach children who are withdrawn, angry, or overwhelmed, as well as children who will simply benefit from a sincere connection with a caring adult. Good teachers know that the best teaching tool is that of modeling. Ellen models kindness, curiosity, mindfulness and love.”

-Megan Cowan, co-founder and Executive Director of Programming for Mindful Schools

"Ellen McCarty has a wonderful rapport with children. Her calm demeanor and non-judgmental style of communicating make her especially suited to working with them. As a special education teacher I had the opportunity to observe Ellen in several classrooms during the months she taught mindfulness at Lorin Eden School. She presented lessons in a clear, direct fashion and openly discussed areas where the students experienced difficulty. She then encouraged them to use mindfulness tools to overcome each difficulty by connecting mindfulness with tangible real life examples. She also made suggestions as to how students could use mindfulness to improve their studies as well as athletic and musical performance abilities. I would recommend Ellen's mindfulness instruction for children and tweens in a classroom or individual lesson setting." -

-Maree McGuire, RSP, Lorin Eden School, Hayward, Calif.

“Ellen was a guest speaker for one of my undergraduate psychology courses The Science of Happiness. She taught a 3-hour class by guiding students through different meditation techniques, probing students for how they were reacting to the meditation and answering every question they asked. I received numerous emails from students stating that Ellen’s class was their favorite of the entire semester; one student wrote: I am totally inspired by Ellen and so thankful that you gave us this opportunity to be exposed to meditation. As an instructor for nearly seven years, I have rarely seen anyone lead a college class as superbly as Ellen did that day. I hope she will come to many of my classes to teach my students as her skills and abilities were exceptional. I would recommend her instruction on meditation for any college class.”

-Dr. Ryan Howell, Ph.D., San Francisco State University


(415) 997-9651



All photos and content Copyright 2011 by Ellen McCarty