Yoga and meditation strengthen discipline in Maryland schools
Windsor Hills – November 13, 2018
The problem of discipline in school has been and remains one of the main issues in education for many centuries.
Disciplinary requirements that irrelevant to a child’s nature create a gap between teachers and students and they as if form into two hostile camps.
This phenomenon is widespread in schools: Any misconduct on the part of a student only brings the student pleasure and enhances his credibility in the eyes of his friends.
However, schools in Maryland have found an original solution to the problem. A distinctive feature of their institution is ... there is no punishment. Instead of the common practice of after school detention, they are offered to engage in meditation.
It started several years ago when the leadership of Robert W. Coleman School in conjunction with the Holistic Life Foundation decided to conduct an experiment.
The Holistic Life Foundation’s after school program Holistic Me was piloted in 2002 at Windsor Hills Elementary School, then hosted at the Druid Hill YMCA for 7 years. Now the program is facilitated at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School, serving 120 male and female students from Pre-K through 5th grade. The multifaceted program’s partners provide enrichment activities such as makers space, woodworking, environmental activities, team building, art & entrepreneurship, basketball, martial arts, dance, steel drums, and STEM.
Students in Holistic Me benefit and grow in many ways. They learn a combination of yoga, mindfulness practices, meditation, centering, and breath work that empower them with skills for peaceful conflict resolution, improved focus and concentration, greater control and awareness of thoughts and emotions, improved self-regulation, anger management, and stress reduction and relaxation.
In the fitness and sports fundamentals portion of the program, students learn basic fundamental sports skills and learning exercises and skills for overall fitness, developing teamwork and leadership skills, and building a foundation for leading a healthy lifestyle.
Students learn about their interconnectedness to the entire world and not just their neighborhood in the environmental education program. Learning the importance of stewardship, environmental justice, and sustainability, students see how the environment impacts them and vice versa.
Students also receive supplemental instruction in their core classes including math, language arts, and science through homework assistance and one-on-one tutoring.
Holistic Me maintains an average daily attendance of at least 85%. Students who have graduated out of the program into the Holistic Life Foundation Mentoring Program come back to volunteer as tutors and yoga instructors. The students have planned and facilitated several community clean-ups, set up greening projects in their homes, and constructed a raised-bed vegetable garden at their school.
The management team hopes that in the future this practice will be regularly used in schools across the country, as the results of the pilot program prove its efficiency.