Teaching Mindfulness In Schools

October 20, 2016

Just a few mindful minutes make a big difference for Marblehead High School senior Regine Jean-Baptiste,

“We are ready to apply to colleges and there’s a lot of things to do in the process its really stressful.”

This Zen room is part of the school’s mindfulness program. Zen means a total state of focus for the mind and body.  For senior Mariah Elder it’s a place to meditate and breathe deeply.

“After I go in the Zen room i feel very relaxed and i actually have a couple of classes that do this meditation and i feel very refreshed after.”

Marblehead teacher Violaine Gueritault says students were receptive when she introduced the mindfulness program 2 years ago to help them with deal stress and anxiety,

“They were really eager to know more to have more of it they were asking for more so we gave them more.”

Gueritault starts her French classes with a few minutes of meditation and says it really helps students.

“What after that when I ask them for feedback they say you know the rest of the day that followed that time it’s like everything was different in a sense that I felt and quote later focused.”

Public schools statewide in areas like Cambridge and Somerville also see the value of deep breathing and meditation, they all have similar programs,

Mary Lee Prescott Griffin, Professor of education at Wheaton College says that’s no surprise. The benefits are real,

“If you talk about the research that’s been going on for way over three decades with the medical community its essential for people that they go through a mindfulness based program, to reduce the stress after a medical episode a heart attack or so forth there’s been some really interesting research on depression and all those kinds of things medically.”

Lee Prescott has been studying the effects on mindfulness programs on children of all ages; even as young as 6 years old. She teaches and practices,

“In my experience children are under a great deal of stress there’s the stress of doing school work that often is developmentally above their capability there’s the stress of home life there’s the streets of this world we live in and what they are bombarded with every day.”

Mariah Elder credits mindfulness for helping her stay on track in her senior year,

“I had never really tried meditation before and after I tried it I realized it really works for me I realize it doesn't work for some people because they think about what they have to do doing.”

And a few minutes to reflect is just what some of these students need.


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