Sitting still with a clear mind is a difficult task for most adults to accomplish. For children, it can be especially challenging, but one elementary school in Baltimore has chosen it as their primary mode of discipline. According to Well + Good, Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has done away with detention in favor of mindful mediation.
Past research has shown that punishing kids with detention does little to improve their behavior in the long term. The faculty at Robert W. Coleman Elementary witnessed this ineffectiveness firsthand and decided to make some changes. Instead of being sent to the principal’s office, kids who act up now pay a visit to the school’s Mindful Moment Room.
The room is a collaboration between the school and the Holistic Life Foundation, a local nonprofit that offers yoga and mindfulness classes to the community. When they arrive, students are asked to sit in silence and quiet their minds. They might focus on their breathing or practice some other mental exercises that encourage mindfulness. The idea is that misbehaving kids will train themselves to calm down during stressful or hyperactive moments instead of going to a place where they might be further distracted.
The benefits of meditation have been widely documented. Regular meditation has been found to reduce stress, boost brain function, and even help alleviate pain. The meditation initiative has been in effect at Robert W. Coleman for a little over a year, and teachers can already see the results: No child has been suspended since the program launched. That outcome could appeal to a lot of districts looking to do away with suspension in their own schools.