Recent research in the fields of psychology, education and neuroscience shows that teaching meditation in schools can have numerous positive effects on the well-being, social skills and academic skills of students.
The ‘Robert W. Coleman Elementary School’ in Baltimore, USA, made international headlines last week thanks to the positive results of its turn to meditation over detention and suspension. When children at the Coleman school act up, they aren’t sent to the principal’s office or told to stand in the corner. Instead, they are directed to the ‘Mindful Moment Room’, where they can take a moment to breathe, relax and be mindful amongst the cushions, bean bags and soothing Himalayan salt lamps.
According to Oprah.com, a day at the Coleman School begins with a breathing exercise over the PA system and ends with an after-school program where kids have the option to learn yoga. Throughout the day, meditation instructors guide students through breathing and other centring exercises. The best part? Since incorporating meditation into the kids’ daily routines, there has been an extreme decrease in the need for suspensions. In fact, in the 2013–14 school year, Coleman had zero suspensions.
The school’s Mindful Meditation program is run by the Holistic Life Foundation, which is a non-for-profit organisation that was started in 2001 with the aim of giving kids (especially those from low-income, high-crime neighbourhoods) the tools to cope with stress and anger.
According to the Holistic Life Foundation, when meditation is incorporated into schools it:
- Reduces Stress
- Helps them to manage trauma
- Improves health
- Promotes Peaceful Conflict Resolution
- Eases Asthma Symptoms
- Promotes Self-Discipline
- Improves Self-Regulation
- Increases Concentration
- Improves Emotional and Mental Balance
- Generates Inner Peace
With the World Health Organisation’s prediction that mental health issues (especially depression) are likely to form the biggest burden on healthcare resources by 2030, many people consider meditation to be part of the solution. Meditation in schools, workplaces and at home is an effective antidote to the pressures and stresses of modern life.