Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meditation in San Francisco’s Public Schools. It’s about TIME

Image by Tory Byrne

If you have ever wished that meditation would be taught to (and practiced by) children in America’s public schools, your wish has been granted. It’s happened right now in California. In fact, meditation in San Francisco’s Public Schools has been going on for four years. Right now, three schools in San Francisco are teaching meditation to the student body and leading them in its practice.

One of these schools is Visitation Valley Middle School, a place where quiet-time has replaced time out as a way to temper the stress and anxiety of living in a rough and violent neighborhood, a neighborhood that the school’s principal equates with that of a war zone.

What happens when you see incredible violence on a daily basis? What happens when your very survival is threatened on an almost daily basis? What happens when fear and dread becomes a normal part of life?

Post-traumatic stress syndrome, that’s what. And this is where meditation is helping the children at Visitation Valley Middle School. Indeed, there is some evidence that meditation in San Francisco’s public schools is helping the children in many areas.

According to Natalie Jones of Crosscurrents from KALW News:

“Since the program started, test scores have gone up a little bit, attendance rates have gone up a little bit, and suspension rates have gone down, although the changes are only by a few percentage points.”

Yes, these changes are small, but remember…the students at Visitation Valley Middle School only practice meditation for “fifteen minutes at the beginning of their school day, and fifteen minutes at the end.” (Source: KALW News) With just a small amount of meditation practice, even a change of just a few percentage points is phenomenal.

I hope that the success of meditation in San Francisco’s public schools—which also include Everett Middle School and John O’Connell High School—will inspire other schools around the country to implement meditation programs for their students.

Now it’s your turn to voice your opinion.

Do you believe that public schools should teach and/or promote meditation?


Do you believe that meditation should not be taught or practiced in public schools because you view meditation as a religion, the practice of which would violate the separation of church and state?

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