A school substituted meditation for detention. The outcomes are astounding.
Imagine you are employed at a school, and one of the students is becoming disruptive. What do you do?
Traditionally, the answer would be to suspend or detain the disobedient child.
In contrast, my recollections of detention involve staring at walls while being utterly bored and attempting to either sneakily converse with other students without being caught or read a book. If it was intended to make me consider my actions, it failed miserably. It rendered everything absurd and unfair.
However, Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has begun to offer meditation to students who exhibit disruptive behavior.
In lieu of punishing disruptive students or sending them to the principal’s office, the school in Baltimore has a Mindful Moment Room.
The room does not resemble a typical windowless detention room. Instead, it is decorated with lamps, ornaments, and purple pillows. Children who are misbehaving are encouraged to sit in a room and practice breathing or meditation to help them calm down and refocus. They are also required to discuss what transpired.
Meditation and mindfulness are scientifically quite intriguing.
A child reflects
In one form or another, mindful meditation has existed for thousands of years. Recently, however, science has begun to examine its effects on our minds and bodies, and it is discovering some intriguing results.
One study suggested that mindful meditation could provide soldiers with a form of mental armor against disruptive emotions, as well as improve their memory. Another suggested that mindful meditation could increase an individual’s attention span and concentration.
Individual studies should be taken with a grain of salt (results aren’t always applicable in every situation), but overall, the scientific community is beginning to paint a fascinating picture of how beneficial meditation can be. Mindfulness has even been incorporated into some relatively effective psychotherapies.
Children’s yoga after-school yoga.
Back at school, the Mindful Moment Room is not the only means by which Robert W. Coleman Elementary has encouraged its students.
The meditation room was created in collaboration with the Holistic Life Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that also operates other programs. Since more than a decade, the foundation has provided the after-school program Holistic Me, in which prekindergarten through fifth-grade students practice mindfulness exercises and yoga.
Kirk Philips, the Holistic Me coordinator at Robert W. Coleman, exclaimed, “It’s amazing,” said Kirk Philips, the Holistic Me coordinator at Robert W. Coleman. “You wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence. And they do.”
A young child practices meditation at the Holistic Life Foundation.
The Holistic Life Foundation photo is used with permission.
For example, at a Christmas party where the children knew they would receive gifts, they were required to meditate first.