Meditation in Schools – An Inner City San Francisco Experiment
An inner city San Francisco middle school has reduced suspensions by 45% and increased attendance rates to 98%. Academic performance skyrocketed to unprecedented levels, as did admissions to a very prestigious high school in the area.
This trend started after implementing an in class meditation program called Quiet Time that had students meditating for two fifteen minute sessions per day. It was inspired by the school shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.
Visitacion Valley Middle School’s neighborhood had 38 murders in 2006. While the meditation program didn’t affect the neighborhood that much, the students at the school became much more peaceful.
It wasn’t long before the California Healthy Kids Survey found Visitacion Valley students to be the happiest in the city.
The in-school meditation program’s results inspired other schools in San Francisco that experienced similar results with similar programs.
Quiet Time is a Transcendental Meditation program. Students allow a silent mantra to repeat itself in their minds. When the mind strays from the mantra (a repeated word), the student gently goes back to the mantra.
Other schools have tried mindfulness meditation, also with positive results. In many cases, students focus on the breath. When thoughts come up, students stay present with them and whatever else they are experiencing before going back to the breath.
Meditation in school classrooms has been an increasing trend in both the USA and the United Kingdom. 400 secondary school meditation programs have recently been reported in the UK alone by The Guardian.
Meditation in the workplace programs have been shown to increase employee performance, so these amazing anecdotes aren’t very surprising.
Let’s hope for more anecdotes and more studies that may help to further catalyze this trend.
Share your thoughts and/or experiences with meditation in schools in the comments below.
Tom Von Deck is a meditation trainer and speaker. Tom specializes in making meditation much much easier for busy and non-busy people from all backgrounds and paths. He is the Mackdaddy of The Deeper Meditation Video Zone and DeeperMeditation.net.