BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, January 31, 2018 (Fatherly): Buddha once said of meditation that "it is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles." It doesn't take much to understand the truth of this statement, especially when it comes to teaching stressed out little kids how to be mindful of their actions. For the past three years, the staff at Robert W. Coleman Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland have sent unruly children to the meditation room instead of detention. The unusual disciplinary method has seen remarkable results. Per a report about the program, kids who enter into the "Mindful Moment Room," go there to stretch, practice deep breathing, and various yoga poses. These types of acts relax the children and give them space to calm down and think about their feelings clearly. The Holistic Life Foundation, the nonprofit that operates the meditation room, makes sure that, in addition to getting students to engage in various physical activities, the kids who get sent there have an opportunity to actually talk about what they think was behind their dismissal from the classroom.
The idea of sending kids to meditation and not punishing them with isolation is also a way to combat the negative and often racialized effects of school suspensions driven by various zero-tolerance policies. More than 90 percent of students in Baltimore City are black and Latino, and a majority of the students at Robert W. Coleman are also grappling with such stressors as neighborhood violence and the effects income inequality. At Robert W. Coleman, mindfulness isn't limited to troubled students. According to the same CNN report, at the beginning and end of every school day, all kids spend 15 minutes participating in a school-wide guided meditation session.