SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — A North Bay school is teaching meditation and mindfulness. And student behavior is improving.
They’re not telling the kids to calm down. Instead, they’re showing them how.
They come in from class, but rather than grabbing a book, they sit, put their heads down or close their eyes and meditate.
The students at Lawrence Cook Middle school in Santa Rosa do it twice a day.
Student Jose Olivares said, “Well I thought it was going to be a waste of time because it is just, like, you sitting there doing nothing.”
His opinion soon changed, as did the disciplinary numbers of this school, with disciplinary referrals down 35 percent.
Grades went up and classrooms calmed down.
Teacher Lisa Moore said, “We have a lot of students with heavy need, not as much support at home, some are suffering from trauma and this population especially has a hard time focusing.”
The mindfulness program was implemented this academic year, for 12 minutes at the start of first and sixth period, students are asked to breathe, calm down and let go of stress.
Even the students notice the difference.
Olivares said,”All the stuff that you had during lunch, all the drama, it goes away. And then you get back to yourself, you focus on yourself and then you don’t have to worry about all the stuff that happened.”
They are training their brains to slow down and focus, and while it makes the campus calmer and composed, it also trains students for life ahead.
Moore said, “I feel like we’re giving these students tools to help them appreciate fully their lives while they’re here. And also have a tool, you know, when you get into college and ‘Oh my gosh I have all these tests. I’m stressed’ Mindfulness. I can take five, I’ll breathe. I’ll get myself centered before I study.'”
Due to the success they’ve had at Lawrence Cook Middle school, they will be trying it at Elsie Allen High School next year where the Cook eighth graders will be attending next year.