Classroom Meditation And Guided Relaxation

According to the National Mental Health Information Center, "Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental, emotional, and behavioral problems to occur during childhood and adolescence. About 13 of every 100 children and adolescents ages 9 to 17 experience some kind of anxiety disorder; girls are affected more than boys." That means that in any class of about 20 students there are likely to be at least two with an anxiety disorder! We can assume then that , safe and welcoming as signs, slogans, and carpets may attempt to be, children are not relaxed in the classroom. We know that a mind or body under stress does not internalize material as well. Even memory can be mediated by physical or mental stress. There are, however, some strategies teachers can use with their entire class to combat this common disorder, and teach solid stress-relieving coping skills to all students.

Classroom meditation and guided relaxation can involve anything from sitting quietly and listening to a "relaxation song," lying on the rug, visualizing success on an exam, or a safe place to remember what it's like to feel calm before beginning a task in the classroom. In a study looking at behavior disruptions in a 1st grade classroom, adding a short meditation into morning meeting significantly decreased the disruptions in class over a month and continued to have a lasting effect for the entire year.[((Weimer))] It is clear that we do not only have to teach content, but teach content readiness which always includes background knowledge and skills, but sometimes has to include a mindset of physical and mental relaxation before any of the knowledge and skills can take hold.

Try these links for more research and application techniques for your classroom.
McBrien, Robert J. "Using relaxation techniques with boys." Elementary School Guidancea nd Counseling, 1978. (this is a progressive relaxation script for use in a classroom)

: Wiemer, Kimberly. "The Effects of Progressive Relaxation on the Frequency of Classroom Disruptions of Low Income First Grade Students." : full source reference

Posted by Rachael Gabriel