In the classroom: Less stimulation, more meditation?

A Catholic diocese in Australia is trying something new in its school classrooms: meditation time for students. Something tells me that Zoe’s “Tiger Mom” wouldn’t approve:

If children are over-stimulated we rob them of something precious: being allowed to “just be” where children discover their own inner sense of who they are. Hijacked by a “doing” culture that measures everything by what we achieve or possess, meditation helps children access a deeper part of themselves – an inner sanctuary away from a world of incessant activity and noise. They learn to honour their own spiritual life.

We all have a spiritual life, irrespective of any faith we hold, said Christie. Meditation can be practised with a diversity of beliefs: children of other faiths take part in the programme. Meditating in a group can give children an early sense of belonging, says Christie. Children with learning or physical disabilities can join in and feel part of the class. But the practice is introduced gradually. The recommended meditation time is one minute per age level; for five- and six-year-olds, it would be five to six minutes.

A video of interviews with teachers, children and parents was admirably honest. Children of varying ages said meditation helped them to feel “relaxed” or more “peaceful”. One boy said it helped his thoughts “just settle”; one girl enjoyed being “quiet”. A child from an indigenous community said he was able “to be himself”. Teachers reported improved behaviour in difficult children.

 

Might not be a bad idea for their parents, either… What do people think?

Margaret Cabaniss

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Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at SlowMama.com.

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