Meditation in Schools (A how-to guide)

Bringing meditation into the classroom, helping to decrease stress and increasing focus - all for free!

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(there is 10 seconds of silence before you hear the opening meditation)

(there is 10 seconds of silence before you hear the opening meditation)

Quick Summary:

Meditation has numerous benefits for those who practice it from decreasing stress to increasing focus and it can be extra beneficial in a classroom setting. But many of the existing resources for meditation in the classroom are too expensive to implement and have a steep learning curve.

We put together this simple, self-contained guide, along with guided meditations you can use in your classroom, school, or district to get started with meditation - all for free!

Outline of this guide:
How to meditate
Benefits of meditation
Why meditation should be added to schools
How meditation (via QuietKit) can be added to schools
Frequently asked questions

How to meditate

Meditation can seem tricky at first and with so many different types to choose from, it can be hard to get started.

To make things simple, we put together guided meditations that you can follow along with (above) and explain the process:

  1. Sit in a chair with your back upright.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Focus your attention on your breath, as you breathe in and out.
  4. As you focus on your breathing, eventually your mind will wander and you’ll start thinking about other things. That’s okay and a normal part of meditating!
  5. When that happens, just think to yourself that you lost your focus, which is okay, and then turn your attention back to your breathing.

It’s actually that process of focusing on your breath, eventually losing your focus, acknowledging to yourself that you lost focus, and then refocusing on your breath that makes meditation what it is.

As you practice more, you will be able to focus on your breath for longer periods of time, enabling you to realize sooner when you lose that focus and helping you regain your focus more quickly.

The key is to make it into a daily habit. By practicing it daily, you’ll be able to improve faster without as much difficulty and you’ll get more out of meditation - even if you do it for only four minutes each day.

Benefits of meditation

While there are numerous benefits for those who meditate, here are the three main ones:

Decreased Stress – Meditation helps to lower stress levels, but not just in the moment in which you’re meditating. It helps you increase your ability to deal with stress when a tense situation occurs. So it’s not just a skill for decreasing stress before or after a stressful thing happens, but also for dealing with stress when it comes up.

Increased Focus – The meditation described on this page is specifically a practice of focusing your attention. Over time, practicing how to focus helps increase your ability to concentrate, which is important when learning.

Increased Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of what’s occurring in any given moment, both in terms of what’s going on around you and what you’re feeling emotionally, and then being able to choose how you respond. This differs from reacting without thinking first. So many people get overwhelmed or worn down by their emotions, and this is a way to give them more control over their actions.

Here are a few articles on how meditation can benefit different types of people, as well as how it can benefit students and schools:

Why meditation should be added to schools

Stress is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in students’ lives, both in and out of school. It’s seen as a huge barrier to academic success and learning. Too much stress from home, community, academic and athletic expectations, as well as physical growth and changes, can make it harder for students to learn, perform and grow.

We also don’t give students many tools and outlets to channel stress, but meditation can directly help students recognize and deal with stress as it occurs. It also prevents stress from building up. This is especially important as there are so many stressful things outside of their control, from problems in their neighborhoods to tragic events in the news.

It’s common for many of us, overwhelmed by stress, to act out in negative ways, leading to increased stress and tension in others around us. This is just as true for adults as it is for students.

Because meditation can benefit everyone, having teachers meditating with students, can help decrease teacher stress, helping to prevent burnout in an environment that often asks teachers to do more with less.

And in every classroom, students are told to pay attention, to focus on what is in that day’s lesson, but they are never really taught how to pay attention, or how to focus. The meditation in this resource is literally a practice of how to pay attention, giving students a way to learn to focus and improve.

Through this meditation, students can better understand their emotions and thoughts, become more aware of themselves and their surroundings, and be better able to build empathy for others.

When meditation is practiced then students are better able to learn, and academic performance can improve as a result. The same can be said for athletic performance.

As more and more people in your school participate in daily meditation, your entire school will become less stressed, more focused, and more mindful.

Helping students build a daily meditation habit doesn’t have to stop when they’re not in school. Give them the link to this page, and they can practice at home after school by themselves or with a parent or guardian, on weekends and on holidays. It can then become a lifelong skill and habit, something that will help them even when they are no longer a student.

And best of all, this meditation in schools resource from QuietKit is designed to be implemented without requiring too much time, very few changes to the existing school day, and no costs, as this page and its resources will always be free!

How meditation (via QuietKit) can be added to schools

Before you bring meditation into the classroom, start by having teachers practice it. Have them use the meditation on this page twice a day, once before school and once after, for at least a few weeks. Just having that experience and knowing what it feels like to meditate makes it much easier for teachers to explain it to students and provides them with the understanding that meditation isn’t something you “get” the first time you do it. It’s something that builds with practice.

Getting teacher support is probably the first and most important step to take. If they are excited to try meditation in school then they’re more likely to practice it themselves before bringing it into the classroom. That first step will help make their ability to deal with job-related stress better, and they’ll also better understand what it’s like to meditate. And they’ll know why it can be so helpful in schools, which will make the transition of meditation into the classroom much easier.

Once you’re ready to bring it into the classroom, whether at a schoolwide level, or in your own classroom as an individual teacher, start with only one meditation session per day, practicing every school day.

Have students clear their desks before starting, and be sure all devices such as phones are turned off. Shut the door to keep out noise.

Read the explanation of meditation at the beginning of this page, explain how to do it, and what the benefits are.

Because the benefits of meditation are not always immediate, and also because it can feel weird to get into the practice at first, it can take students time to feel familiar with meditating. That’s a big reason why the meditation sessions are only four minutes; a short time period makes it easier for students to try and also makes it much easier to adjust to this new habit.

It’s important to explain the benefits of meditation and how it will help them. Getting buy in from students will help them feel invested in practicing it instead of doing it just because they were told to.

But be sure to let them know that meditation is optional. If they choose not to meditate they should sit quietly for the four minute session, drawing or reading a non-school related book. It’s not a time for studying or homework, but quiet reflection.

Permission slips might be necessary, depending on the rules of your school.

Each of the four meditation options on this page is for a four minute meditation because that is long enough for students to gain the benefits of meditating. But also short enough that someone new to the practice won’t feel overwhelmed.

At only four minutes long, it also means it’s much easier to add into a part of the school day, or even the beginning of a class period, without having to greatly change the schedule.

This is in sharp contrast to many other meditation programs for schools, which require longer periods of meditation time. Those programs often require only twice weekly practice. This not only creates issues with scheduling, but also makes it much harder for students trying to get started with meditation. That certainly won’t help them build it as a daily habit.

As for age, a rough guideline for how long a student can meditate is one minute for every year a student is old. So this four minute meditation used in this resource can work for students as early as kindergarten, but will also work all the way through high school and into adulthood.

For the four different meditation options offered there are two factors in picking which one to use in your classroom: whether they have the background noise of a light rainstorm or not or if they are guided or unguided. Some people find the rainstorm background helpful in meditating, but you might not have speakers that can play it clearly enough for it to be helpful. In general, it’s best to start with one of the guided options first and then after a few weeks try the unguided option to see how your students like it.

The key in adding meditation into schools is to make it a daily, consistent habit, especially in practicing it at the same time of day each day. If you find morning is the best time to do it, do it every morning.

When starting meditation in the classroom, start with one session per day, ideally in the morning before the day starts. If you’re looking to expand beyond that, aim for three times per day: once at the beginning, once before lunch, and once before the end of the school day.

You could always expand to do a short session at the beginning of each class if you choose, but that’s a bigger time commitment that might not always work.

Another reason for having these sessions short is to help decrease the “initiative fatigue,” which a number of teachers experience. By making it something that isn’t a huge production, or fully changing the day, it’s easier to get teachers on board for meditation. This is also why it’s important to get teachers to practice meditation on their own first; they’ll be able to understand the benefits of it for themselves.

If you’re a teacher, looking to test meditation on your own in your own classroom, and you have enough control and say into what happens in your own class, you could always experiment with doing this meditation at the beginnings of your class. Because it doesn’t take that long to do, and is easy to share with students, it can be done daily, even in a busy schedule.

Getting meditation to be practiced schoolwide will have a much more positive and lasting effect than having a few classrooms practicing. But testing in a few classrooms could be a good starting point.

Share this page with everyone from teachers to students, school administrators, parents/guardians, or anyone else. This allows for maximum transparency. Also, give students this resource so they can practice and meditate on their own.

Feel free to adapt this plan and make changes in any way you see fit. Taking ownership and making this program yours is the key. And feel free to email us and let us know how you’re implementing this program in your classroom or school.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Does meditation advocate for or conflict with any spiritual or religious beliefs?
A: No, not in any way. The meditation featured on QuietKit is not connected to any religious or spiritual beliefs and it also doesn’t conflict with any beliefs held by anyone who chooses to practice meditation. That means this can be used in both religious and nonreligious schools, without any worry. This is the biggest thing people don’t understand about meditation: that in practicing meditation, you don’t have to change or alter your beliefs and it’s a simple skill that can help you.

Q: Is there any proof or any examples of how meditation can help students?
A: Yes. Here are a few articles touching on the research as well as examples of how meditation can benefit different types of people, including students:

Q: Is meditation when you don’t have any thoughts in your head?
A: Not exactly. It’s not “clearing your mind,” it’s more that you focus on one thing, such as your breathing, and by focusing your attention in that way, other thoughts will drift away. They’ll come back and when that happens you just think to yourself “other thoughts are coming into my head, so I should turn my attention back to my breath.” And that process is meditating.

Q: Is meditation really just some sort of relaxation or sleep?
A: No. Although relaxation is often an after effect of meditating. The meditation found on QuietKit is a form on concentration or focus so in a sense you don’t just relax. Although you’re also not tense or stressing when you do it. You’re focused, so you won’t be sleeping.

Q: Can this program be used outside of the classroom?
A: Absolutely! This meditation approach is great for students even when they’re not in class. You can use this in sports, after school programs, libraries, and really anywhere where students might be.

Q: Does this program cost anything?
A: Nope. It costs nothing other than the time to try it out and see if it works for you! We created this program because of how well meditation seems to help students in the classrooms where it is practiced. But most of those programs seem to have a very high touch and high cost approach to them. Other school meditation programs can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per student per year, which we think is just too high.

But the QuietKit school meditation resources on this page are free, and will always be free!