Tags: Education | department of education | meditation | program | kids

Feds Spend $2.5 Million on 'Mindfulness' Meditation Program for Kids

Image: Feds Spend $2.5 Million on 'Mindfulness' Meditation Program for Kids
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By    |   Wednesday, 11 Nov 2015 09:23 AM

The federal Department of Education is spending millions on a program for 3,000 schools in Chicago to teach a meditation technique aimed to help youngsters calm down — and get better grades.

The "Calm Classroom" program — funded through the federal department's "investing in innovation fund" — involves a technique known as "mindfulness," a form of meditation in which people focus their full attention on the present moment.

The four-year, $2.5 million grant for 3,000 public schools in Chicago was awarded late last year to the Erikson Institute, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

"This is an invaluable project because social-emotional learning in children is just as important as academic learning," the Institute's chief executive officer, Geoffrey Nagle, says in a statement announcing the grant.

"At Erikson, we concentrate on the development of the whole child, and this project will help ensure that disadvantaged children have the tools they need to focus and succeed in school."

In its grant application, Erikson touted the mindfulness approach that works with "traditional social-emotional learning" programs and adds "elements designed to replenish children's focus directly back into the content of school, including always-available ways to take very brief 'brain breaks.'"

The Free Beacon reports Erikson invented the idea of a "calm spot" — where children can put on headphones and watch videos to help them re-focus.

"In addition to traditional mindfulness exercises that involve inner focus and require practice, our intervention also includes components involving outer focus on items intended to automatically attract children's soft fascination and promote attention replenishment, such as videos of animals or nature scenes," the institute writes in its application.

"These scenes, along with occasional, gently voiced reminders (e.g., 'Are you still watching the spider spin that amazing web?') will be displayed on tablets stationed in what we call 'The Calm Spot.'"

"Our Calm Spot is not only for the reduction of 'big feelings' such as anger . . . but also for the reduction of internally disruptive experiences such as mental fatigue or lack of engagement," the Institute explains.

According to the Institute, its mindfulness project will be the "first to examine whether these exercises have benefits extending into academic success for children in the early grades."

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The federal Department of Education is spending millions on a program for 3,000 schools in Chicago to teach a meditation technique aimed to help youngsters calm down - and get better grades.
department of education, meditation, program, kids
365
2015-23-11
Wednesday, 11 Nov 2015 09:23 AM
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