A Philadelphia middle school has started offering tools such as meditation for children who might otherwise be sent to the principal’s office. The school is allowing children and staff to use a new “chill room.” In the room, they are offering tools and strategies to help diffuse tempers and deal with anger and stress.
We all have moments when we lose our cool or altogether freak out. People have a way of pissing each other off because we are such sensitive, egocentric beings. This applies to everyone, including children, who are just figuring out how to react to social tensions.
Children, in general, are just learning how to fit into society. It’s not easy for adults, so why would it be easy for children?
School Offers Meditation for Children in New Chill Room
All too often, when a child becomes angry or temperamental, they are punished. In schools, they are often reprimanded, put in detention, or even suspended. It seems rational that instead of punishing children, educators would want to help them learn how to deal with run-away emotions.
This is what makes what Tilden Middle School is doing so brilliant. The school has added a calming room for their students and staff to use when they need to calm down and relax.
In the room, the school offers a cozy space, with a couch, blankets and pillows. The room hosts a reading space and an area for art. As well, there are five stations where students can go through a guided meditation accompanied by soothing sounds.
CBS Philly shared a comment about the calming room from fifth grader Rob Geb:
When people are hurt and they have anger issues they can come over and chill down and listen to some good music then they go back to class feeling great.
Brian Johnson, the school’s principal, shared with CBS Philly:
In middle school, there’s a lot of angst. Sometimes students who don’t know how to deal with it, they exhibit that angst. They don’t know how to calm down from it. This is a way we’re going to teach them some strategies to utilize.
A new approach to discipline in school is badly needed. For example, one school in Arkansas started offering yoga instead of suspension. Meditation for children is definitely another great alternative to current methods which are proving ineffective. Johnson confirms:
We realize suspensions don’t work.
Cigna’s Community Ambassador Fellowship Program sponsored the room at Tilden MS.
Life Isn’t Just About Academics
Johnson brought up a very important point. Schools should focus on teaching children life skills in addition to academics. This includes showing them how to apply different strategies to effectively deal with emotions that come up in social situations.
The U.S. public school places severe academic stress on children and educators, requiring a multitude of standardized tests throughout the year. Double this with the stress that comes with being surrounded by many different personalities and pressured by social expectations.
Finally, we may often forget that children carry with them tensions from home, but they are less likely to know how to deal with it. Actually, many adults don’t know how to deal with stress. Yet, we don’t send adults into time out or “the authorities” anytime they lose their cool, become irate, or have a heated argument with someone. Why, then, do we treat children this way?
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