A class of third graders wind down with the lights out at the end of a yoga class at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School in Encinitas, Calif.
(Gregory Bull | AP Photo)
Schools nationwide are turning to yoga and meditation — in place of detentions and suspensions — to help teach students good behavior.
Students at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in West Baltimore often go to a "Mindful Moment Room" instead of the principal's office when they act out in class. The school's "soothing spaces," complete with beanbag chairs and salt lamps, were featured in Oprah magazine recently.
Coleman Elementary is partnering with the local non-profit Holistic Life Foundation to teach its students "mindfulness." The goal is to give kids tools for coping with trauma, anger and stress. The school incorporates breathing exercises into morning announcements and yoga into its after-school program, according to the Oprah article.
Minnesota teachers are likewise working with a non-profit, the Mindfulness in Schools Project, this year, with a focus on managing classroom distractions, CBS reported.
A Wayzata West Middle School math teacher has all of his students take a "timeout" at the beginning and end of his class, the news station reported. He asks all students to close their eyes and sit quietly for a couple minutes.
Using meditation and yoga in schools is part of a trend in education, often referred to as "whole child" or "social emotional learning." The idea is to address the social and emotional factors that prevent kids from being able to sit quietly to write or perform well on a math quiz.
It's part of a move away from "zero tolerance" discipline practices, which often result in kicking kids out of classrooms, toward "restorative justice" practices that emphasize restoring relationships and keeping students in an academic environment.
Syracuse is in the process of making that shift, under an order from the state's attorney general, who found that a black student in the Syracuse City School District was twice as likely to be referred for a long-term suspension than a white student in the district.
Many Syracuse teachers and administrators have embraced practices like meditation and yoga to help their students learn good behavioral practices.
Syracuse schools also have "behavioral intervention centers," rooms where students can go for emotional support.
Mindfulness and yoga @DrWeeksElem @SyracuseSchools @SUSchoolofEd #SummerAcademy #turnaround #relentless pic.twitter.com/nZi1GX4cJa
Starting our day with yoga and meditation for mindfulness throughout the day! @syracuselatin @SyracuseSchools pic.twitter.com/HJazlfffDr
Doing some yoga with @GoNoodle to refocus for math. #WebsterKinders @SyracuseSchools pic.twitter.com/bxLZSsaVCT
Reporter Julie McMahon covers Syracuse University and Syracuse city schools. She can be reached anytime: Email | Twitter | 315-412-1992
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