The Mindful Moment Room
Not all kids have an easy life and because of that, not all kids come to school ready to learn. But what if elementary school kids got to start their days with mindfulness breathing exercises? Or yoga classes? What if they started their day in a relaxing room where they could re-center themselves and prepare for the day? What if they could do that after they got in trouble too, instead of going to the principal?
While this might sound like a movie, it’s reality for kids at Robert W. Coleman Elementary in West Baltimore, MD. And these unconventional methods are working; in the 2013-2014 year they had no suspensions.
From the article:
“The thoughtful exercises and practices are part of the Mindful Moment program of the Holistic Life Foundation, founded by Ali and Atman Smith, two brothers who grew up locally, and their friend Andres Gonzalez.
The Foundation was created in 2001, and the need for a positive outlet for kids in this particular area has been critical recently. The low-income neighborhood has struggled with high crime rates, riots following Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody, and, according to the Smith brothers, a loss of a sense of family and local mentors for the children.”
The exercises help the kids, staff, and teachers to more effectively address issues. For example, “when a student is referred to the Mindful Moment Room, he goes through breathing and centering exercises with a staff member, discusses his feelings and emotions surrounding the incident, and works with the staff to figure out what mindfulness technique he could use next time a similar situation arises.” Have you ever been angry? Isn’t it hard to think straight? Now, multiply that by 10 because kids can’t necessarily articulate what’s happening in their lives, their homes, or their neighborhoods.
As time goes on, kids can use their mindfulness “training” when asked, and thereby better deal with conflict. It also empowers them to feel like they can have control over their actions and the emotions behind them. Teachers report that by the end of the year, visits to the Mindful Moment Room have decreased.
This sounds amazing and we are so happy for the kids, staff, teachers, and community.