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The school’s success recipe: Meditation instead of detention makes students calmer

Many elementary and high schools implement forms of discipline to guide children through their youth. One popular tactic is detention – having a child remain at school after all other students have left, to do extra homework and other kinds of punitive tasks.

But not all schools implement this form of punishment. The Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore, US has begun to test a whole new approach – by asking students to meditate rather than receive the usual punishment.

Giving misbehaving students detention or suspension may be a good basic concept, but according to some experts, this tactic fails on the long term. The Robert W. Coleman School gained insight into this about two years ago – and decided to try something different.

The idea? To give children various breathing and meditative exercises to help them relax – alongside open dialogue with behavioral scientists to discuss what happened.

So instead of being punished or sent to the principal, children are requested to go to the “Mindful Moment Room” – a cozy little oasis containing bright colors, soothing decor and pillows.

The new method has been implemented in collaboration with the nonprofit organization Holistic Life Foundation, and since its inception two years ago, Robert W. Coleman Elementary hasn’t issued a single suspension.

The students appear to also be carrying the technique home with them. When dealing with a conflict with a parent, one student reported using the breathing techniques learned at school to help them stay calm: “This morning I got mad at my Dad, but then I remembered to breathe and then I didn’t shout,” the student told Hello Giggles.

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