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Mindful meditation in schools
By Jerry Brownstein
An increasing number of children in the UK are showing signs of early onset depression and anxiety. Many schools in England are responding to this challenge in a new way by teaching mindfulness and meditation in the classrooms. In 370 schools across the country, children will be taught how to meditate with breathing exercises and other techniques to achieve mindfulness. The older students will also have regular classes to learn about awareness, and how to increase it in their everyday lives. This program is part of a comprehensive mental health program by the British government.
England isn’t the only country that has added mindfulness to their educational curriculum. Since 2016 a school in Baltimore (US) has replaced detention punishment with time in an area where the children practice breathing and stretching exercises. This has been very successful in keeping the students calmer and increasing their focus in the classroom. One of the students who was sent to this ‘mindful moment room’ for pushing and name-calling a fellow classmate describes his experience like this: “I did some deep breathing, had a little snack, and I got myself together. Then I apologized to the other boy and to my class.”