What We Can Learn from the School That Replaced Detention With Meditation
There was not a single suspension last year!
My daughter got a detention in middle school last year for taking too much time ambling back from the bathroom in the middle of class. As a result, she spent a good part of the next day sitting in an empty room, bored out of her mind, getiing angrier and angrier as each second passed at the "stupid teacher" who had given her such a "ridiculously unfair" punishment.
Can't say that I blamed her. But you know what they say: commit the crime, do the time.
Now one school is turning this theory on its head. At Baltimore's Robert W. Coleman Elementary, detention has been replaced with meditation, which means kids who act out are sent to a Mindful Moment Room to calm down with breathing exercises and yoga, then spend some time reflecting on their mistakes by talking things out with a staff member.
The school created the room with the help of the Holistic Life Foundation (HLF), a nonprofit organization that promotes wellness among underserved kids and adults.
So far, the results have been pretty impressive. According to the promgram's co-founder Andres Gonzalez, the school did not have a single suspension last year.
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"There are some children who have anger management problems," writes principal Carlillian Thompson on the HLF website. "The yoga program has enabled those children to do meditation techniques and instead of them reacting and getting angry, they've learned how to meditate and redirect their anger."
Pretty incredible. We love this idea and the way this school is investing in our children. Bravo! Now let's see this implemented in schools across the nation.
In the meantime, if you've got a kid who acts out or has trouble managing his anger, it might help to try some meditation and mindfulness at home. Check out these tips from Maria Hersey, Ph.D., the U.S. director of education and training at The Hawn Foundation, which trains educators to teach its science-based mindfulness curriculum, MindUP
- Take a "brain break." Encourage kids to break from homework or another stressful situation totake a deep breath and calm themselves for three to five minutes to quiet their minds, be present, and just focus.
- Practice mindful awareness during everyday activities such aswalking and eating, to teach kids to truly be in that moment.
- Do it with them. Set the example for your kids by takinga few moments a day to close your eyes and notice your breath, your thoughts, your emotions, and your body sensations, with kindness and curiosity.