SMART-4-Kidz is a carefully designed program of relaxation techniques that are proven by university research to be effective methods of improving child and adolescents sense of well being and develop positive beliefs about themselves.

SMART – Stress Management And Relaxation Techniques


The History and Research Basis of SMART-4-Kidz

Child-community psychology researcher Michael Portney created SMART in 2002 as a research project that began with the question, “can relaxation and meditative techniques help children and adolescents improve the trajectory of their lives?” To answer this question, Michael assembled a team of schoolteachers, yoga instructors and a professional trainer to consider the possibilities. What emerged from these collective talents was a well regarded after-school program that has robust research outcomes.


Trials took place concurrently in several locations under the auspices of The University of Denver. The sample was drawn from participants in after-school programs, in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, and in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York.  The trials ran for 12 or 16 weeks. Surveys of standard research instruments revealed the effects of being in SMART-4-Kidz. Qualitative measures of focus group, interview and observation were also employed.  


  • Participation in SMART-4-Kidz exhibited robust statistical indicators that it is effective in reducing anxiety in the general student population, aged 7 to 16, across diverse populations and neighborhoods. This was measured by the well-established Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale.        (RCMAS; p ≥ 0.001)


  • Children who participate in SMART see themselves with greater problem solving abilities, have improved self-confidence and self-esteem; they believe that future challenges will have more a positive outcome. Significant improvement was found on the measure Future Expectations. That is what they view their success to be in academic and social domains at a later time.     (FE; p = 0.056)


  • Scores on measures of depression trended positive as did the participants attitudes towards aggression and reporting of aggressive behavior.