According to Kirk Philips who coordinates the activities of Holistic Me and the school, it is wonderful how even small children are able to sit quietly and meditate.
It is the last thing you’d expect from children who are so young. Even at their annual Christmas party, the kids had to meditate before they were given their gifts and no complaints were heard!
Philips acknowledged that it must have been difficult for the children to sit still and enter a state of meditation when they were excited to get a bunch of presents but the beauty of the moment was that they managed to do.
The volunteers were incredibly touched and they were all smiles as they looked around the room.
Moreover, the children aren’t limiting themselves by just practicing mindfulness in school. Holistic Life Foundation has even received reports from parents who have been taught mindful meditation and breathing techniques from their children when they come back stressed out after a long day at work.
Besides meditation, the school also works with the foundation to get mentoring and tutoring for the students.
They are also taught classes on the conservation of the planet. Different activities like gardening, cleaning drives and field trips to farms are conducted. The students are even allowed to teach as they can take their own yoga classes for each other.
Interestingly, this amazing program isn’t just confined to this one school. Many other institutions have recognized the importance of holistic education and have implemented similar programs that are seeing wonderful results.
For instance, in the United Kingdom, a project called the ‘Mindfulness in Schools’ Project is teaching grown-ups to conduct these programs on their own. Another non-profit organization called ‘Mindful Schools’ has started implementing programs like this across the USA.
With these programs, schools have started noticing visible changes in the students. At Robert W. Coleman Elementary, Philips observed that they haven’t had to suspend a single child so far since the program started. In Patterson Park High School which is close by, similar programs have been put in place and they too have seen a drop in the number of students suspended. Attendance rates have actually gone up.
We can’t be sure that all of these changes are happening solely because of mindful meditation but it is obvious that it does have a huge impact. After all, the numbers do speak for themselves.
Limbu, A., 2019. Making Meditation Compulsory in Education Systems. Childhood Education, 95(4), pp.63-66. Tarantino, H., 2017. Mindfulness in the classroom. Sedlmeier, P., Eberth, J., Schwarz, M., Zimmermann, D., Haarig, F., Jaeger, S. and Kunze, S., 2012. The psychological effects of meditation: a meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin, 138(6), p.1139. Bonadonna, R., 2003. Meditation's impact on chronic illness. Holistic nursing practice, 17(6), pp.309-319.
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