BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Meditation is all about quietness, calmness and inner reflection — not exactly strong suits of children and teens.
Yet students at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School, Patterson High School and about a dozen other schools in Baltimore are participating in the Mindful Moments program through the Holistic Life Foundation.
“The Mindful Moment room is an oasis of calm that is available at all times during the day” according to the foundation’s website. “Students have the opportunity to self-refer to the Mindful Moment Room, or teachers may send distressed or disruptive students for individual assistance with emotional self-regulation.”
At Patterson Park, the impact is visible.
Students say they feel calmer and more prepared to deal with the emotions of the school day.
Suspensions for fighting dropped from 49 in the 2012-2013 school year to 23 in the 2013-2014 school year. The number of 9th graders being promoted to the 10th grade also increased from 45 percent to 64 percent from year to year.
The room is also open to teachers and staff at the school.
And at Robert Coleman Elementary, students begin each day with deep breathing sessions, stretches and meditation, but they can also be sent to use the Mindful Moments room when they are misbehaving in class, just like the high school students.
“They actually taught the students how to redirect that negative energy into something positive,” Principal Carlillian Thompson tells CBS This Morning. “We’ve had zero suspensions.”
The program is actually a product of two brothers who grew up nearby — Ali and Atman Smith.
“There’s violence going on in the neighborhood, there’s drug abuse in the neighborhood, so it’s just, all these things getting dumped on these kids and they need a way to kind of deal with it,” Ali says.
“We’re teaching kids at a young age to try to really make a change in our community as far as how conflicts are resolved,” Atman adds.