[su_dropcap style=”default” size=”3″ class=””]W[/su_dropcap]hen we think of children, “calm” and “relaxed” are not the first adjectives that come to mind. The children of Robert W. Coleman Elementary School, however, are proving us all wrong.
The Baltimore school recently began an after-school program called Holistic Me, where students practice yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation activities. Instead of punishing students with detention, students are sent to the Mindful Moment Room and given individual assistance with emotional self-regulation. Practicing meditation allows children to develop more emotional intelligence, which is why Robert W. Coleman Elementary has seen less physical aggression from children and more problems solved with words. As a result, the school reports zero suspensions in the last year.
The program is part of the school’s partnership with the Holistic Life Foundation, a Baltimore-based non-profit that aims to empower communities through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care practices.
Now, incorporating meditation into schools is an emerging practice and many of those who work in the school system are still skeptical of meditation programs. Several scholarly studies have tested the effectiveness of mindfulness on adolescents, as researchers try to provide suggestions on how to develop the most useful mindfulness-based programs.
A recent study published in the US National Library of Medicine examined the role of mindfulness in improving self-regulation in adolescents. The study explains that exposure to various stressors during childhood can increase the risk of children developing emotional and behavioral problems. Mindfulness-based meditation, however, targets these emotional and behavioral processes and “supports the development of adolescents’ self-regulation.” The study claims this support is accomplished through mindfulness techniques that allow children to develop awareness of their own emotional processes and to interrupt their automatic, mindless habits that accompany maladaptive behavior.
So, could this be the start of the calm, cool, and collected generation? Only time will tell, but these children seem to be headed in that direction.