Thursday, September 19, 2013

Room to Breathe Focuses on Mindfulness Meditation Training for Children

Room To Breathe is a surprising story of transformation as struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation. We air the documentary Tuesday, September 24 at 8 p.m. on WSBE Learn (digital 36.2, Cox 808, RI Verizon FiOS 478, Full Channel 89, Comcast 294 or 312).

The film begins in the halls of the weekday home to almost 1,000 children, Marina Middle School in San Francisco. Kids pour out of classrooms, shouting to each other as they sweep down the stairwells into a concrete schoolyard outside the massive art deco building. The tough language and raw physicality suggests the underlying violence to which these kids are exposed.

Topping the district in disciplinary suspensions, and with overcrowded classrooms creating a nearly impossible learning environment, overwhelmed administrators are left with stark choices: repeating the cycle of trying to force tuned-out children to listen, or to experiment with timeless inner practices that may provide them with the social, emotional, and attention skills that they need to succeed.

The first question is whether it’s already too late. Confronted by defiance, contempt for authority figures, poor discipline, and more interest in “social” than learning, a young mindfulness teacher from Berkeley wonders is she will succeed in opening the students' minds and hearts.

Locally,  Rhode Island has its own mindfulness program. ResilientKids™* offers an innovative yoga and mindfulness curriculum that works directly with students in their school settings.

The secular program of ResilientKids™ is designed to promote the development of life-long skills, including focus, self-esteem, self-confidence, balance, and community. By building a toolbox of strategies to manage academic, emotional, and social challenges, students learn from professionally trained adults how to successfully navigate their path to becoming engaged adults, global citizens, and our future leaders.

The video below showcases the ResilientKids program in action.

*Disclosure: WSBE president David Piccerelli is a board member of ResilientKids.