For decades, misbehaving students in our culture could expect to be sent to detention, a form of punishment that is meant to discipline the unruly child: a practice that sometimes works, and sometimes does not. But one elementary school in Maryland saw that a form of negative punishment might not necessarily be the best approach to correcting negative behavior in young children, and instead sends its pint-sized perpetrators to a special meditation class instead.
Baltimore’s Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has taken a novel, and possibly revolutionary, approach to dealing with misbehaving students: the traditional concept of detention as a punishment has been discarded, and replaced instead with a more constructive time-out in the school’s "Mindful Moment Room", where students are taught to practice meditation in a variety of forms, be it simple breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or yoga. The participating students are also encouraged to talk through the problem that prompted them to act out in the first place, with behavioral professionals.
This initiative, created in partnership with the Holistic Life Foundation, has eliminated the need for the school to issue suspensions since the program’s inception two years ago. Scientific studies continue to illustrate the positive effects that various meditative practices have on the well-being of both the mind and body of the person practicing the technique, and these students appear to be taking on the benefits of meditation early in life.