One of the most violence prone school districts in San Francisco, California, introduced a meditation program for all of its students and the results have been remarkable.
The program was dubbed "Quiet Time" and was introduced to four California schools including a Visitacion Valley School which has been exposed to violence both inside and outside of the school. That all started to change when the San Francisco Public School District introduced the "Quiet Time" meditation program to the Visitacion Valley middle school as well as three other local middle schools. Students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades participated in the program, which has the schools going silent two times each day for 15 minutes of meditation.
School officials told the local NBC news program that since the program began, they have seen dramatic changes in the students' behavior and overall performance. Although many school officials were initially skeptical when the program was introduced four years ago, they are now believers in the power of meditation after seeing nearly an 80 percent reduction in the number of suspensions each year, coupled with increases in both academic performance and student attendance.
One of the principals at the schools that participated in the "Quiet Time" meditation program, Bill Kappenhagen, said that introducing meditation to the students on a daily basis had given them a way to "help our students find ways to deal with violence and the trauma and the stress of everyday life." School officials also noted that since the meditation program began, students generally get along better with one another and are equipped to find ways of dealing with negative emotions and stressful situations in a positive, non-violent way.
These results are no surprise to those who advocate for meditation. In addition to reducing stress levels, several studies has shown that regular meditation brings a number of cognitive and health benefits for both children and adults, including reducing blood pressure and preventing heart disease. Meditation has also been successful in managing pain and a variety of health conditions including asthma, depression, sleep disorders, and anxiety, and is an excellent tool for child birth as well. The popular form of meditation sometimes called mindfulness meditation has also been shown to improve concentration and critical thinking skills and researchers from both Yale and Harvard have shown that meditation can actually improve grey matter in the brain.
With meditation being such an easy, not to mention free, way to improve the lives and educational experiences of students, it is likely that the amazing success of the "Quiet Time" program could spread to other schools in California and, hopefully, around the country.