Recent articles such as this one in Newsweek featured a Baltimore school that replaced detention with meditation. This is part of a burgeoning trend of replacing punitive discipline with more preventative and restorative practices in schools. While our friends at the Holistic Life Foundation have been leading school programs in the Baltimore area, other schools across the country such as Edmunds Elementary in Des Moines IA, have also been using yoga and mindfulness strategies to help students reflect on their actions and make more mindful choices. At Edmunds, students that are experiencing difficulty with self-regulation are guided to name their emotions and practice their “go-to breath” which they choose at the beginning of the day. Teaching students to notice and manage their emotions and giving them a space to self-regulate supports Social and Emotional Learning objectives (SEL) such as self-awareness and self-management. The efficacy of an approach involving yoga and meditation rather than detention is highlighted by tangible benefits such as a decrease in suspensions and an increase in school attendance.
In addition, the research on meditation and the developing child’s brain is providing scientific support to the benefits observed in schools. A growing body of evidence highlights increased attention, improvements in academic performance, mental health and social-emotional development as a result of yoga, mindfulness and meditation. This recent Forbes article succinctly highlights these research-based benefits and demonstrates the growing mainstream acceptance of yoga and meditation for children and in schools. Our founder, Lisa Flynn, is quoted in the article:
“Kids who practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness build skills of attention, self-awareness, and self-management leading to more responsible decision making and prosocial behavior,” says Yoga 4 Classrooms founder Lisa Flynn. “It’s no surprise that studies show that these kids are, in general, happier, more resilient children. They have a solid sense of self and are more connected to, and respectful of, others and the world around them. The result? Kinder, more compassionate kids!”
Read the full article: Science Shows Meditation Benefits Children’s Brains and Behavior, by Alice Walton
Scientific Evidence for Yoga & Mindfulness in Schools: How & Why Does it Work?
Inner City School Principal Shares Results of School-Wide Implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms
Yoga for School Kids – YogaGlo (glo.com) features Yoga 4 Classrooms