When Vistacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco decided to implement meditation into the curriculum back in 2007, more than a few teachers and parents rolled their eyes at the thought of this new age approach having any impact.
Meditation has been around for centuries, and numerous studies have shown its benefits, but until now we didn’t know what effect it would have in a classroom setting. The school in question had its share of troubled teens acting out, resulting in fights, low test scores, and other disciplinary problems.
Many thought it seemed like a waste of precious time. They were wrong.
“The kids see guns on a daily basis,” the school’s athletic director, Barry O’Driscoll said, adding, “there would be fights here three-to-five times a week.”
After a lot of discussion the school introduced “quiet time” where students put their heads on their desks and practiced transcendental meditation twice each day, for a 15 minute period of time. To counter the lost 30 minutes in each day, the school extended the day by the same amount of time, thus negating any complaints about lost teaching time.
Four years later they saw a 79% decrease in suspensions, a 98.3% increase in attendance, and a 400% increase in GPA. Those numbers proved quite substantial, and changed even the most skeptical teacher’s minds. Today Quiet Time is widely regarded as one of the most dramatically successful initiatives in the Bay Area, and perhaps best of all is that it requires zero resources – all you need is silence.
This sort of approach to mindfullness could easily benefit many children around the country, and with that in mind a new campaign was created to pursue integrating meditation into more classrooms.