Did you ever find yourself serving detention after school for your mischievous shenanigans? It’s always fun hearing your name get called over the school’s intercom system as the front office informs you that you’re wanted in the principal’s office. And, unfortunately, not every session of detention is as fun and self-reflective as what we see in The Breakfast Club.
Now, one school is trying an entirely different approach to the idea of detention, and it’s one that doesn’t really look like detention at all. Robert W. Coleman Elementary, located in Baltimore, Maryland, has decided to replace detention with meditation. So, instead of sitting at a desk and working on homework as punishment, kids now sit in a room filled with pillows, draped fabrics, lamps, and yoga mats to sit and practice meditation on.
This new idea is called a ‘Mindful Moment Room,’ and the whole reason behind creating it was so that troublesome kids could have time to calm themselves and reflect inwardly on their behaviors through meditation and different breathing exercises.
The Mindful Moment Room was developed in partnership with a non-profit organization, known as the Holistic Life Foundation, that seeks to bolster the wellness of everyone in the community, kids and adults alike.
Meditation and mindfulness are both concepts that the realm of science is just now starting to catch up with in terms of research. But, we are starting to understand the health benefits of both, and they include improved responses to stress and enhanced immune system function, just to name a couple.
The best part about Coleman Elementary’s Mindful Moment Room is that it’s not just reserved for children exhibiting behavioral problems, it’s also there for kids with anxiety, headaches, stomach problems, or stress. These kids can go to the Mindful Moment Room to have a 20-minute session with instructors who promote constructive conversation and practicing mindfulness.
What’s even better is that this alternative solution to detention seems to be working in a big way. Kids who have been using the program speak out about their experiences with it and how it’s changed their way of thinking; you can see these testimonials on the Holistic Life Foundation’s website.
“I took deep breaths to stay calm and just finish the test. When everybody around you Is making a lot of noises, just trying to tune them out…and be yourself, do your breathing,” said one 5th-grader about his focus during a test.
“This morning I got mad at my Dad, but then I remembered to breathe and then I didn’t shout,” said another, explaining how the practice has helped curb impulsive emotions.
Schools who have embraced the mindfulness route in lieu of the detention route have seen dramatically decreased rates of suspension alongside increased rates of attendance. Will mindfulness slowly start to replace detention in educational institutes across the country? It’s unsure at this point, but it is certain that there’s something special happening at these schools.