Some elementary schools are replacing detention or other inconsequential punishment with meditation insteadsuccessfully.

Acting Out

We all know the kid who disrupts the class with unsavory behavior. He or she runs around the classroom, doesn’t follow directions, acts disrespectful, or starts fights with other students. Some classes have more than one kid who engages in this type of behavior.

Traditional “punishments’ such as detention or suspension don’t work. Kids get bored sitting in a room, fake-reading after school; and it has no connection to their recent misbehavior. Suspension might be what the student wants—to avoid going to school.

One elementary school in Baltimore, however, is having great success with their “mindful moment room.”

How it Works

When a student becomes persistently disruptive in the classroom, the teacher asks them to go to the meditation room. It’s in that space that the child is encouraged to partake in self-soothing, calming behaviors like mindful breathing and simple yoga poses.

The mindful meditation room has plush pillows, soft lighting, and warm colors. The kids are encouraged to engage in deep breathing in order to get their bodies and mind more still. They are also given an opportunity to reflect and then discuss their previous actions.

Does it Work?

According to the principal, teachers, parents, and students of Robert W. Coleman Elementary, meditation instead of punishment is working quite well. They’ve noticed that the children’s focus and attention spans have increased. The Holistic Life Foundation partnered with the school to create the meditation room. Kirk Phillips, one of the coordinators, said the program is amazing. “You wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence. And they do.”

Parents are also claiming that they are seeing changes at home. They’re finding that their kids are less stressed out.
There’s also been noted a greater awareness of surroundings. The students have been more participatory in the community like helping out cleaning up parks and creating local gardens.

One high school practicing the meditation room programs reports that suspension rates dropped significantly, and attendance is the highest it’s been.

It’s great news to hear that change is occurring. Since traditional styles haven’t been working all that well, why not revert to an ancient practice? Especially one that been proven over thousands of years to reap mental and physical benefits.
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