Remember the days of Kindergarten when nap time or quiet time was part of the daily routine? Back then some of us didn’t like it (at least I didn’t) and now as adults, some of us would love a quiet time as part of the regular schedule (at least I sure would). In today’s busy world it seems quiet time and certainly nap time is a luxury and not the norm. The good news is that in San Francisco a program has been implemented in some middle and high schools to see how meditation, or Quiet Time, as the program is called, can benefit students and staff. So far the results are pretty amazing, not only reducing stress levels for all involved but students grades are improving as well. Perhaps one day this meditation program will be implemented in all schools, and work places. One can hope right?!
According to Professor David L. Kirp from UC Berkeley, Quiet Time is a stress reduction strategy where twice daily a gong sounds in the classroom and students are asked to shut their eyes and try to clear their minds. The first school joined the program in 2007 and for most students there, the topic of gunfire and murder is pretty common and something they deal with fairly regularly. The school even has a full-time grief counsellor on staff. As you can imagine, studying was not a top priority for these kids and many of them misbehaved creating a very stressful place for both students and teachers.
Since the Quiet Time program started the result has been really remarkable. The number of suspensions were cut almost in half in the first year and attendance grew to 98%. Students taking part report less stress and depression and their grades have gotten better. And, teachers now report feeling less emotionally exhausted.
With such a benefit to both students and staff, incorporating Quiet Time into all schools sounds like a good idea to me. Oh and into the work force as well. After all, studies show that power naps at work can boost productivity. I just need to get my boss on board. And, if we teach kids to meditate at a young age and it becomes a habit throughout life, just think how calm, happy and productive we could be. That’s a world I’d like to live in. Namaste.
Photo: Barry Zito, David Lynch and Russell Brand meditate with students during Quiet Time at Burton High.
Photo Credit: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle