Why all schools should teach mindfulness and meditation

If every 8 year old child in the world is taught meditation, we can eliminate violence from the world within one generation.
The Dalai Lama

When I did my first NLP training (I was thirty something), I remember thinking: “I wish this was taught in schools, it would’ve helped me so much”.
Of course it is important to learn to read and write and do math. And it would be really great if schools would also teach us skills for life. How to deal with our emotions and challenges that we will encounter. How awesome would it be if this were part of every school’s curriculum? If every child would have the same chance of learning these skills.

The other day I came across an article about the Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore. This school did something really awesome. About two years ago, they stopped punishing kids that misbehaved. Instead, they send these kids to a “mindful moment room”. This room is set up as a meditation room with mats, comfy pillows and decorations. When kids are being send to this room, they are encouraged to participate in breathing exercises and mindful meditation. They also have the possibility to talk about how they ended up in that room.
The school also has a after school program that teaches the students mindfulness practices and yoga.

And guess what? The results are amazing. The school hasn’t had a single suspension since they started the program. Another school nearby that also uses this program, says that they have less suspensions and an increased attendance.

Even though there isn’t a whole lot of research on this topic, evidence so far suggests that there’s definitely a benefit to having kids practice mindfulness and meditation. Their ability to pay attention increases as well as class room participation and they have more self-control and respect for others.

Imagine if every school would add mindfulness practice and meditation to their curriculum. What would happen if every child would be given the chance to learn this? The possibilities would be endless.

I think our school is doing pretty good with incorporating the “love and logic” program and I think mindfulness and meditation would be a wonderful addition. I really want to bring this to the attention of our principle.
For as long as we don’t have a program like this at school, I’ve decided to read about teaching mindfulness and meditation to children. I have found some great resources (if you’re interested, I will put a few links at the end of this post).

Yesterday I found a site that offers free meditations for kids and I decided to do one with Lisa. When she went to bed, I asked her if she wanted to try a breathing exercise with me. She did (anything to postpone your bedtime 🙂 ). I chose the shortest to first see how it would go. She liked doing it. When I asked her what she liked about it, she said that it made her calm. I asked her if she wanted to do exercises like this more often and she said yes. So, we’re definitely going to try more exercises 🙂 .

Sites that I found during my search are:
Annaka Harris
Mindfulness for kids
8 ways to teach mindfulness to kids
Mindfulness for kids