Sessions of one to two minutes, as silent or guided meditations, several times a week are effective for young children, and connecting mindfulness with regular daily activities such as eating, working and playing is a useful way to develop patience, compassion and self-awareness. In meditation children become aware of their thoughts and how rapidly their mind moves from one thought to another. In this way children begin to understand the power of thought and feeling and have an opportunity to observe and learn how they respond to situations and people around them.
In daily meditation the older children are given a range of opportunities to reflect on and discuss experiences that have affected their inner world. Such meditations may involve situations in which they did not get what they wanted, or were given what they did not want, and experiences of separation from special people or pets. Children reflect on the experience and talk about it afterwards often expressing some relief or understanding. This requires receptive and non-judgemental listening by the teacher and is frequently experienced as positive and meaningful by children, teachers and observers.
This is a positive approach to living rather than a quick fix for problems. To be effective, it needs to be integrated into children’s education as an ethos, a daily practice that is encouraged over the long-term just like healthy eating and exercise.
“I like meditation because it makes me more peaceful and gives my head a rest from information” – Pupil
” Meditation helps her relax and learn how to be still and quiet with others” – Parent