Were you well-behaved when you were in school?
Although some of us have no problem sitting down and focusing on relatively dry material for hours at a time, others of us have a little bit of trouble with it. If you’re a person who has a tough time sitting still or listening for hours on end, school may have been tough for you. To add to that, anybody who add additional stresses and troubles at home probably had an even harder time.
Typically, any “bad behavior” in school would earn you a detention—at least, until recently.
Some schools have started questioning just how effective these old disciplinary methods are when it comes to helping kids.
Though many different outlets have extolled the virtues of mindfulness and meditation, those findings don’t often get applied to schools. Fortunately, one school in Baltimore, Maryland called Robert W. Coleman Elementary is experimenting with just those same practices.
The program they’re trying out is called the Mindful Moment program, and is a program run in partnership with the Holistic Life Foundation.
Still, the program has been around longer than most people think.
As it turns out, the Holistic Life Foundation launched this program back in 2002.
It was initially piloted at the Windsor Hills Elementary School before being hosted at Druid Hill YMCA for seven years after that. Now that the program is mainly situated at Robert W. Coleman Elementary, it serves 120 students both male and female in grades pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade.
The basic approach of the program is that when a child is acting up, punishment or forced boredom is often not what they need to regroup themselves.
Instead, the program sends these students to the Mindful Moment room to help them de-stress.
When they’re in that room, they go through a multi-step process to relax and calm down.
The process begins by working with the specialists there for about five minutes to discuss what happened, followed up by 15 minutes of mindfulness exercises. These activities can include things like deep breathing, meditation or some simple and calming yoga poses.
Beyond the surface level goals, the program hopes to address students’ deeper issues behind the misbehavior, issues like anxiety, depression and trauma from their home lives or from the external environment they may be exposed to.
As it turns out, sometimes the students even bring the techniques home and teach their parents!
According to reporting from CNN, ever since the program began at the school, there have been fewer disciplinary referrals and zero suspensions!
Needless to say, the work that the Holistic Life Foundation has been doing throughout Baltimore has been helpful and effective. According to the organization’s co-founder, many of the kids that the group works with have been through intense trauma due to crime and other social ills in the area.
As co-founder Andres Gonzalez said in an interview with CNN, he had a child say with a straight face that his grandfather had been murdered the day before–needless to say, the issues that many children are dealing with are intense. That meditation can have a positive effect on issues this serious is truly incredible.
A special thanks to the school and to the Holistic Life Foundation for their groundbreaking work! Watch the story below:
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