Watch an interview about the Meditation in Schools project here.
How Meditation Can Help Children In Schools – by Adrian Hyde
(Primary School Teacher in the Dudley Borough, West Midlands)
As a Primary teacher of over 15 years it has become more and more noticeable that children over the last few years seem to be facing greater challenges to their well-being.
It seems that they are being influenced more and more by technology without sufficient guidance. Technology has increased the amount of information they have to process each day and whilst not all bad there is information that maybe they shouldn’t have to be processing or should be having some support with.
Family time is being squeezed by pressures of work and parents also spending more time with their own various forms of technology.
Comparing today with my own primary school days there is so much more that children have to deal with and often by themselves. Generally there life is more cluttered and there is less space for an innocent daydream or just moments of freewheeling – all things which a healthy mind should be able to do.
So how could meditation help in schools? By providing a structured opportunity for children to allow their minds to relax, de-clutter and find space.
Children respond remarkably well to the opportunity to meditate or chill out – children quite like the idea of meditation, to them it’s cool and different.
Responses from children in primary school whom I have seen experience a meditation are overwhelmingly positive. Their feedback on these sessions is that it felt; relaxed, calm, peaceful, quiet and it changed the feeling in the classroom to a better one.
Even with a challenging class those children whom you might expect to be difficult actually respond very well to the calm environment created – it may well be just the escape they need from a mind that has some turmoil.
On an emotional intelligence course I learned that people generally exist in 3 zones;
the comfort zone in which we have no stress and are totally relaxed.
the challenge zone where we are tested in a healthy way that helps us develop.
and finally the stress zone which is pretty paralysing and very uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, some children are in or very close to the stress zone when they arrive at school in the morning. So what happens at school to help them?
‘Stop fidgeting!’ ‘Stop chatting to your friends!’ ‘Stop daydreaming!’ ‘Your targets today are to learn about ‘equivalent fractions and percentages!’
Are we asking why children are behaving the way they do and more importantly are we doing anything about it?
Perhaps our first target of the day should be that you should all do nothing for 10 minutes except listen to your breathing?