If I were the parent of a child in this school, I would tell them to keep their mindfulness to themselves and leave my kid alone.
OAKLAND, Calif., June 12 — The lesson began with the striking of a Tibetan singing bowl to induce mindful awareness.
With the sound of their new school bell, the fifth graders at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School here closed their eyes and focused on their breathing, as they tried to imagine “loving kindness” on the playground.
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.”
At Stanford, the psychology department is assessing the feasibility of teaching mindfulness to families. “Parents and teachers tell kids 100 times a day to pay attention,” said Philippe R. Goldin, a researcher. “But we never teach them how.”
The experiment at Piedmont, whose student body is roughly 65 percent black, 18 percent Latino and includes a large number of immigrants, is financed by Park Day School, a nearby private school (prompting one teacher to grumble that it was “Cloud Nine-groovy-hippie-liberals bringing ‘enlightenment’ to inner city schools”).
But Angela Haick, the principal of Piedmont Avenue, said she was inspired to try it after observing a class at a local middle school.
“If we can help children slow down and think,” Dr. Haick said, “they have the answers within themselves.”
What an idiot. If children really had the answers within themselves, we wouldn't send them to school, now would we?