This past week, the New York Times ran an article on a Piedmont elementary school which has been practicing “mindfulness” with students. They actually have a name for it: mindfulness training. It’s hard to imagine any of the schools I attended — in this country or abroad — incorporating anything remotely eastern or spiritual into a curriculum.
Given the number of hyperactive and disruptive children I grew up with, it would have been a godsend, for them, and for their teachers. My guess is regular practice could help reduce potential violence as well.
The mindfulness training are a series of stress-reducing techniques drawn from Buddhist meditation and some schools are inserting them in between reading and spelling tests. Said a Dr. Haick who was interviewed for the article, “If we can help children slow down and think, they have the answers within themselves.” It’s not far from the feng shui techniques I talked about in a recent blog post and the benefits of reducing clutter, and increasing clarity for enhanced idea generation and creativity.
A few examples of where this kind of training tapped into a very emotional space for these kids included one child breaking down over the loss of a grandparent and another over a melted lip balm. While one on the surface is clearly deeper and more painful, the latter could be connected to something deeply personal that merely presented itself through an object.
The idea that they’re giving this a try with groups of children across the country is a huge step forward. Let’s hope the trend continues.