The Mindful Scholar student mindfulness platform wins CBC Media Pitch at Startupfest

The online platform uses mindfulness to increase students’ EQ, or emotional intelligence

The online platform uses mindfulness to increase students’ EQ, or emotional intelligence

Rekha Magon developed an online platform for children from kindergarten to Grade 12, called The Mindful Scholar. (Kamila Hinkson/CBC)

When Rekha Magon was a child, she says she excelled — not because of her intellect or social status, but because she had access to tools that helped her practise mindfulness. 

That realization inspired Magon to develop her online platform for children from kindergarten to Grade 12, The Mindful Scholar

The online platform uses mindfulness to increase students' EQ, or emotional intelligence.

"I now have a deep sense of duty in me to bring the same tools to all children," Magon told CBC.

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It's used as a therapeutic technique.

The Mindful Scholar offers a full curriculum, including scripted lesson plans that teachers or parents can do with their students or children, as well as mindful animations and guided audio meditations.

Some of the exercises help young children become aware of their breath, or aware of their thoughts, while still making it fun and captivating, Magon said.

An example of an exercise would be getting a young student to lie on their back with a "Mindful Ozzy" teddy on their belly.

"You say 'We're going to rock Ozzy to sleep. So breathe in, he rocks up, breathe out, he rocks down," Magon explained.

Taking time to conceptualize the idea

In this digital age, children are being brought up in a completely different way, she said, making emotional intelligence that much more important to strive for.

Magon said that by word of mouth alone, the company already has 12 paying public schools in Montreal and New York. 

The idea came to Magon when she was pregnant with her first child and was put on strict bed rest for five months. She wasn't allowed to leave her bed or even sit up to eat.

Her husband got her a laptop that hung from the ceiling.

"It was during that time that I had time to conceptualize that idea," Magon said. "Looking back, it was probably one of the most challenging and difficult times of my life."

Still, Magon is thankful for that time.

"[Now I'm] doing something that completely fulfills me," she said.

CBC Startupfest winner

Magon's pitch on how The Mindful Scholar worked impressed the judges at CBC Montreal's tent at Startupfest, a three-day festival featuring all things entrepreneurial and tech-related.

For the last four years, CBC Montreal has run a pitch competition during Startupfest, looking for an original young company to feature on CBC's platforms.

Competitors have just one minute to make their pitch. Magon found out she was the winner on Friday afternoon.