Home / Be The Change / An Elementary School Has Kids Meditate Instead Of Punishing Them and the Results are Profound

An Elementary School Has Kids Meditate Instead Of Punishing Them and the Results are Profound


Baltimore, MD – It was recently reported that Robert W. Coleman Elementary in West Baltimore will be taking a new and holistic approach to disciplining students. Instead of punishing them or sending them to the principal’s office, administrators will now be sending children to “the mindful moment room” where they will be able to meditate and wind down.

The new policy has been in place for over a year, and in the time that the meditation room has been set up, there has actually been no suspensions throughout the entire year.

The program is an initiative organized by the Holistic Life Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities.

Andres Gonzalez, one of the organizers of the project, says that children are even bringing home what they are learning to their families.

“That’s how you stop the trickle-down effect, when Mom or Pops has a hard day and yells at the kids, and then the kids go to school and yell at their friends,” he says. “We’ve had parents tell us, ‘I came home the other day stressed out, and my daughter said, Hey, Mom, you need to sit down. I need to teach you how to breathe,‘” Gonzalez said.

There are many advantages to meditation, which are now being confirmed by scientific studies. We have learned through scientific research that meditation can relieve pain, enhance creativity, relieve stress and boost immune systems. In 1998, a breakthrough study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, by a DR. Dean Ornish showed that meditation can actually reverse heart disease. This study lasted for over 5 years and involved various control groups that all had coronary artery disease, and only one of these groups practiced meditation. Amazingly the group that practiced meditation had actually managed to reverse the effects of the illness.

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The consistent application of bringing one’s attention to the present moment is key to any form of meditation. This means that nearly any experience can be meditative. A bike ride, a walk under the stars, writing poetry, or any practice that offers individual quiet time within your own heart and mind can be considered a form of meditation.

Over time, various teachers organized their specific meditation practices into cohesive styles and philosophies, each with its own instructions and insights. Around the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, Confucian and Taoist meditations appear in China, and Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist meditations developed in India.

These various schools of meditation taught different methods for remaining in the present moment, some involving the counting of breaths, contemplative thought, or repeating sacred words and sounds known as Mantras.

There are also different types of meditation positions. Some schools practice sitting cross-legged (“lotus” or “half lotus”), walking, or lying down meditation. You also may have noticed that certain traditions will feature symbolic hand gestures and positions during their meditation. These are known as mudras and are found in Hindu and Buddhist practices. People also meditate for different reasons. Most people would say that meditation can be a religious or spiritual experience, while others find it to be a helpful relaxation and anger management tool.

In this one Baltimore school, the powers of living in the present are coming to fruition.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. John is currently battling cancer naturally, without any chemo or radiation, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments please donate here.
  • JennaTrull

    I wonder how long it’ll take before some Christian nutter starts screaming about this being a pagan religious practice.

    • Ed

      Exactly, Thinking!

    • Larry I. Lund

      In actuality the Bible actually teaches this. It is called prayer. Most clergy would argue this fact. Proof that when they read the book they read literal and not mystical as it was written.

      • Oneironaut

        Well there’s a little more to yoga than that. It’s also about your body working in concert with the mind. I find that the Biblical traditions like to separate the mind and the body, with the mind/soul being “superior” to the fallen, corrupt, sinful body. Yoga incorporates the two, and the body is seen as much a part of you as your mind.

        • Larry I. Lund

          Jesus taught, “if thine eye be single ye shall see GOD.” This is mystical speak for meditation to awaken the pineal gland. Another hint to the mystical teachings would be from the New Testament. “Shepherds watched their sheep by night” Mystical terms the word sheep means thought. All thoughts look alike as sheep do. So, to quiet the mind we do as Jesus instructed, “take no thought”. This is the essence of meditation. Prayer is being quiet and listening. NO TALKING. Yoga is a physical aspect of meditation. There is no conflict. Once the pineal gland is activated the Sacred Heart becomes in charge and the duality brain may work conflict free. BTW the physical heart has 70,000 neurons. Yep, brain cells. We may be brain dead and still live. But, stop the heart and we move on to the next life. Where then is the power within us?

  • Jesus meditated on the word of God.

    • benji

      Jesus was a loudmouth pompous know it all punk. Read your bible!

      • EliseCares

        Not as loud mouthed, pompous and retarded as you obviously are “benji”

        • benji

          He was a God…Your lord and savior was obviously more loud mouthed, pompous and retarded than a puny mortal like me. Read your bible EliseCares. No need to get upset and argue over this.

          • 2121xxx

            Okay Benji, I get it. You understand the Bible better than anybody else. Get real.

      • 2121xxx

        OK Benji, if you say so. as if you’re suddenly the world expert on Jesus. Give me a break dude. Why don’t you go sit down and meditate son. I’ll go to your room. You’ve been a bad boy. 🙂

  • static rage

    I’m all for some quiet time, mediation ect…as long as they’re not in addition also teaching them a lot of the bogus pseudo science that tends to go hand in hand with it. There’s a lot of bogus claims and biased studies out there but, no controlled experiments to actually confirm it’s most common claims. Just give em some quiet safe time to study or meditate. As long as they’re all quiet and as long as no one is forced to meditate and told as a matter of fact that it is what’s best for them ( when no sound science backs it up ) The you have to meditate cause we know it’s best for you track is not a good track for schools to go down. That track is the one I believe the Dead Kennedy’s were referring to in that song. Blind acceptance because something is hip and trendy despite no real evidence that it is beneficial is not a track anyone should go down if they desire real progress.

  • saijanai

    The consistent application of bringing one’s attention to the present moment is key to any form of meditation.”

    That doesn’t apply to TM. Any TMer who agrees with the author has had their memories distorted by the constant flow of information about mindfulness practices and needs to have their TM meditation checked immediately (it’s free).


    • 2121xxx

      It seems to me TM is about bringing your mind to the mantra. Same concept.

      • saijanai

        Except, the “most profound” point during TM is when you are unable to bring your mind to the mantra because you aren’t aware of anything at all.

  • Lionel Bodhi Dyer

    While this new approach to disciplining kids may be better, meditation should not be used or associated as an alternate form of punishment. It’s like the new age version of detention or “go to your room”

    Teachers, students, the whole world need meditation to promote well-being because everybody lives in unconsciousness not just the misbehaving kids. Being mindful is an everyday effort for everyone. The reality is any kid will misbehave at one time or another. So if you approach this holistically, the entire school will benefit and you will have more harmony among the students as a result. Yoga and meditation should be added to the curriculum for everyone just like any other subject. When you confine this practice only to the unruly students, it sends the wrong message because meditation is fundamentally about the state of being not about behaving in a certain way.

    • mystikaljester

      I agree that mindfulness and meditation should not be wielded as a weapon, but there is also the recognition that most children act out because they are not being mindful or recognizing the root of their emotions at that given time. I think that, if their process is used even for minor acts, it is going to hit the bulk of the school population. It’s not as important that a child recognize what they did as it is to recognize the reason they did it. Long story short, that this is being headed up by the HLF makes me have more faith that it is being done the right way.

    • ravenarlowe

      It’s not an alternative form of punishment. It’s positive reinforcement that can help prevent things from escalating to the point where the school does have to punish students. It’s something that they’re trying out, so it’s only being done on a small scale, which is why it seems like it’s an alternative form of punishment. If they continue to get good feedback from it, then they will likely expand, hopefully eventually making it part of the daily curriculum for the whole district. School districts often work in new programs like this (small scale first, then expanding) to see if the benefits are worth the cost of the program.

  • William C. Duncan

    Yeah, that used to be called a time out.

  • Timothy D. Slekar

    Try this too.
    BustED Pencils Episode 22: Looking for the “Heart” of Classroom Discipline http://bustedpencils.com/episode/episode-22-looking-heart-classroom-discipline/

  • Jack L. Feasel

    The question is, what are they meditating on? Christians meditate as well as Zen Buddhists, so we need to know which.

    • Oneironaut

      Most of the time, meditation involves not thinking about ANYTHING. The idea is to clear your mind of all thought and to just live in the present moment without judging or evaluating it. If you think about anything, it’s usually your own breath.

  • Arakiba

    But how will the school to prison pipeline be maintained if this sort of thing continues????!!!!!1111111!!!!!