Recent articles in Syracuse, NY, and Baltimore, MD newspapers chronicle the use of meditation as an alternative option to detention to increase positive behavior.
Is meditation the answer? Keep reading to learn more.
Creating a Mindful Moment Room
The school that’s making headlines is primarily the Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore. Oprah magazine recently featured the school in an article.
Previously, when a student acted out, they were automatically sent to the principal’s office.
Typically, they would then receive detention, which can hinder a child’s appreciation of learning.
Now, the school sends them to the on-site “Mindful Moment” room, which has beanbag chairs and comfy cushions.
The Holistic Life Foundation, a local nonprofit group, first initiated this new alternative therapy.
The founders of the group grew up in the neighborhood and were longtime meditators. They wanted to give their local kids a better way to cope with stress and anger.
The area is known for high crime rates, low income and drug abuse.
Discovering a Better Way
The organization began with teaching meditation at a different local elementary school and the local YMCA.
They then partnered with Coleman to integrate a program that can work for all students.
Every day at the school begins with a breathing exercise that’s administered over the PA system.
And the day ends with an optional after-school program. In addition to enhancing activities like tutoring and sports, students can also learn about yoga.
In between the start and the end of the school day, the school guides students in the Mindful Moment room through breathing exercises and other centering techniques.
These techniques help calm anxiety, reduce tempers and promote a better overall atmosphere for kids who have a hard time at home, as well as at school.
Moving Away From the Zero Tolerance Movement
In Minnesota, teachers are also working with a comparable organization, the Mindfulness in Schools Project. Their goal is to manage and reduce classroom distractions.
Syracuse schools are also following suit. They have created "behavioral intervention centers," or special rooms where students can go to for emotional support.
It’s all part of a massive movement away from "zero tolerance" discipline principals.
Zero tolerance often results in the school suspending the students or kicking them out of school altogether.
This movement often sets the student on a dangerous path where education plays no part.
Instead, these schools are switching their emphasis to "restorative justice" procedures that aim to restore relationships and address conflicts.
These procedures keep kids in an academic environment. The great news is that it's working!
Seeing a Dramatic Decrease
Disciplinary action across the board is seeing a dramatic decrease in detention and explosions.
The Coleman Elementary School reported zero suspensions in the 2013–14 school year when the program came to light.
And according to people affiliated with these programs, one of the best aspects is that what the kids learn at school have a trickle down effect.
This fact was confirmed by one of the founders of Holistic Life Foundation in an interview for the Oprah article.
"We've had parents tell us, 'I came home the other day stressed out, and my daughter said, Hey, Mom, you need to sit down. I need to teach you how to breathe.'"
Contact me and let’s chat about incorporating mindful meditation into your world!
Having a professional teacher on your side will go a long way in getting you started. Once you’re on the path, you’ll be amazed at how far meditation will take you.
I offer both classes in my office and an online program you can complete at your convenience.