‘Quiet Time’ sounds like disciplinary tool for toddlers, but several San Francisco schools prove that daily meditation can make a world of difference for teenagers as well.
Visitacion Valley Middle School deals with issues common to many inner-city educational institutions: gang activity and shootings are common in the area, and students suffered poverty, unrest, lack of support, and the behavioral issues that come with the territory. School officials tried all the usual tricks to combat truancy, slumping grades, and disrespect for teachers and property, but to no avail. Then, in 2007, they tried something different.
VVMS became the first school in America to implement the Quiet Time program. Launched by the David Lynch Foundation, Quiet Time uses daily meditation to help students improve academic performance while reducing stress and violence in the school environment.
Through this daily meditation program, students and teachers participate in two 15 minute sessions of Transcendental Meditation each day. It’s a ‘quiet time’ during which they simply sit with eyes closed, reflecting on themselves and their day. It does not involve any religion, philosophy, or change in lifestyle. And it’s been a smashing success.
“In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions [at VVMS] fell by 45 percent,” reports SF Gate. “Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly.”
No fancy educational consultants. No threats of punishment or bargaining for academic performance. Just daily meditation–giving kids who have very loud, chaotic lives the chance to be quiet and reflective–and the level of stress reduction was palpable. “…in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco,” continues SF Gate.
In the years since, three other schools in the San Francisco Bay area have adopted Quiet Time. This daily meditation practice has resulted in student reports of significantly less stress and depression, and greater self-esteem. When compared with schools not participating in the daily meditation program, students have demonstrated rapidly accelerating English and math skills, while teachers report they’re less emotionally exhausted and more resilient. Similar achievements have been reported by school systems in other states as well.
Would your child’s education benefit from daily meditation? Share your thoughts on this program in the comments.
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Image: David Lynch and Russell Brand meditate with students during Quiet Time via delightmakers