It’s an age-old question: How do you get students to pay attention and calm down in class? Many educators are introducing classroom meditation activities to the school day. And it seems to be working!
South of the border, San Francisco schools introduced a program that included a form of daily meditation in the classroom. In one particular school, suspensions dropped 45 percent in the first year, daily attendance rose to 98 percent and grades improved dramatically. In one Massachusetts school, students reported experiencing many benefits of mindfulness in the classroom, including better sleep, less stress and improved focus on their work.
Meditation also has been shown to physically grow the areas of the brain associated with compassion and well-being, while shrinking areas associated with stress. Pairing meditation with young minds creates an incredible method for improving memory, behaviour and overall health.
Implementing classroom meditation activities using meditation gifts
- Start the day with quiet time. Taking five minutes for meditation first thing in the morning can help calm and centre students, preparing them for the day ahead. Have everyone sit in a circle, using soft cushions to make them comfortable. Ask the class to breathe slowly and deeply 10 times, instructing them to pay close attention to their breathing, counting each breath and visualizing peaceful thoughts and feelings.
- Be mindful during the day. Sometimes students need a break to calm down and relax. Allow them to either sit quietly at their desk or pull out yoga mats to lie down on. Turn off the classroom lights and play relaxing music. After 10 minutes of quiet time, have them calmly return to their studies.
- Practice daily journaling. Besides helping them become better writers, journaling offers many benefits to students, including improved problem-solving, increased motivation and reduced stress. Give students a chance each day to write their thoughts in notebooks or small journals.
- Intently study an object. Give each student a small object, such as a fun MopTopper Stylus Pen or Tropical Fish Stress Wobbler. Encourage students to use their senses to explore it. Feel the texture. See the colours and the geometric shapes. Discuss the children’s individual experiences, helping them notice the complexities of a simple object. This builds self-awareness and focus, and it gets students thinking critically about the world around them.
It’s easy—and beneficial—to introduce meditation at your school. Use these tips, along with mediation gifts, to start a routine of your own and replace mind-full-ness with mindfulness.