Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Mindfulness in Schools

There is an article in the New York Times from last week on the teaching of mindfulness in schools. I noticed that the source program was here in Oakland, California, where I live.

An excerpt from the article:

During a five-week pilot program at Piedmont Avenue Elementary, Miss Megan, the “mindful” coach, visited every classroom twice a week, leading 15 minute sessions on how to have “gentle breaths and still bodies.” The sound of the Tibetan bowl reverberated at the start and finish of each lesson. The techniques, among them focused breathing and concentrating on a single object, are loosely adapted from the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the molecular biologist who pioneered the secular use of mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts in 1979 to help medical patients cope with chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Susan Kaiser Greenland, the founder of the InnerKids Foundation, which trains schoolchildren and teachers in the Los Angeles area, calls mindfulness “the new ABC’s — learning and leading a balanced life.”

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I do think teaching children mindfulness is an excellent activity. I’m not sure that it is an activity that is ideal for a public school. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it is not but then I have a fairly low opinion of the normal school environment.

In any case, it is interesting that there are people making an attempt at this with kids.