Asking a stressed, angry or upset child to sit on the floor and meditate may not seem like the best idea. But that’s the strategy being employed at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland – and it’s safe to say that it’s working.
As reported by Uproxx and going viral the last week, the Mindful Moment Room was introduced as a space for students to calm themselves and recenter before heading back to class. Students who visit the Mindful Moment Room — which was created through a partnership with the Holistic Life Foundation — are taught breathing exercises and meditation to reduce anxiety, headaches, stomach problems, and stress. Meditation is also used as a form of intervention when disciplinary action is typically needed – and since its induction, Robert W. Coleman Elementary hasn’t issued a single suspension.
The room looks nothing like your standard windowless detention room. Instead, it’s filled with lamps, decorations, and plush purple pillows. Misbehaving kids are encouraged to sit in the room and go through practices like breathing or meditation, helping them calm down and recenter. They are also asked to talk through what happened.
Mindful meditation has been around in some form or another for thousands of years. Recently, though, science has started looking at its effects on our minds and bodies, and it’s finding some interesting effects.
One study, for example, suggested that mindful meditation could give practising soldiers a kind of mental armour against disruptive emotions, and it can improve memory too. Another suggested mindful meditation could improve a person’s attention span and focus.
Individual studies should be taken with a grain of salt (results don’t always carry in every single situation), but overall, science is starting to build up a really interesting picture of how awesome meditation can be. Mindfulness in particular has even become part of certain fairly successful psychotherapies.
Holistic Life Foundation which was in partnership in the program is a local nonprofit that runs other programs as well. For more than 10 years the foundation has been offering the after-school program Holistic Me, where kids from pre-K through the fifth grade practice mindfulness exercises and yoga.