• Kassidy O.

New Approach to School Discipline: Yoga and Breathing

At most schools, behavior problems and disciplinary referrals usually result in detentions and in-school or out of school suspensions. Some schools, however, have begun to use alternative methods such as meditation and yoga to help students in grades K-5 calm themselves and prevent future behavioral problems.

According to CNN, in Baltimore, Maryland, Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has swapped detention for meditation rooms. The teacher sends the students to the mediation room, rather than to detention or the principal's office. Students sent to this "Mindful Moment Room" participate in activities such as deep breathing and stretching to help them calm themselves. The room is comfortably decorated with pillows, yoga mats, and sometimes essential oils are used to create a relaxing scent and atmosphere of calmness. Teachers in the meditation room talk to the students about what caused them to be sent there, and students apologize for their behavior when they return to the classroom. Teachers at the school say this new form of behavioral intervention has been very successful in reducing incidents.

Principal Carlillian Thompson said, "So we're trying really hard here to make this a place where children feel safe and where their needs are met." One third grade student said, "When the kids come down here, they're all rowdy and goofing around, when they leave the room, they're peaceful and quiet and ready to do their work."

The Holistic Life Foundation helped the elementary school to create its meditation program, and co-founder Andres Gonzalez says the organization wants to eventually take the program nationwide.

They plan to open Mindful Moment Rooms in other schools in the coming years. According to Newsweek, New York City schools are also beginning to incorporate new methods such as yoga and breathing to help students deal with difficult emotions and control behavior. Experts say such large urban areas with poverty and crime problems can benefit and use these programs to help their students.

Research taken from CNN and Newsweek