The practice of being present and mindful has many benefits that can help students academically as well as socially—especially young children.
Wheaton College Professor of Education Mary Lee Griffin for years has been working to spread mindfulness techniques in five local schools, and she has provided many Wheaton students with training to carry out the ongoing work and secured experiential learning opportunities for them.
On October 20, WGBH's "Greater Boston" news program took note in a story highlighting the growing number of schools adding mindfulness, meditation and yoga to the curriculum to help kids develop coping skills. Public schools statewide, including in Cambridge and Somerville, have such programs. For example, Marblehead High has a Zen Room for meditation and relaxation for students to deal with stress and anxiety. Professor of Education Mary-Lee Griffin, among others, was interviewed about the trend.
There is research on depression and other stress-related ailments that supports the need for these practices, Griffin told reporter Tina Martin. “Children are under a great deal of stress. There is the stress of doing school work that often is developmentally above their capability, there is the stress of home life, there is the stress of this world we live in and what they’re bombarded with everyday.”
The mindfullness protocol that Griffin developed was most recently used at the Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, R.I., to help elementary school children improve their educational experience and interactions outside of the classroom. (Read about it in the winter issue of the Wheaton Quarterly.)