Why isn’t meditation in every school in America?

Via Robert Piper
on Jul 2, 2012
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I can’t understand why some form of meditation practice is not in every school in America.

There’s tons of research on this subject that has been done by some of the brightest minds from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and every Ivy League school in America.

I don’t care if they call it meditation—mindfulness, deep breathing, transcendental meditation. The bottom line is, it’s an effective tool to increase focus, reduce stress and calm down children.

According to this infographic, as of 2012 there are only 13 states that have a meditation program.

We have some of the highest rates of drop outs, suicides and bullying going on in schools. Meditation is not a cure all, but it could definitely have a positive impact on improving some of these problems.

Source: Edutopia.org

The Hawn Foundation has developed a wonderful program called MindUP that incorporates positive psychology, neuroscience and mindfulness. This is a program that should be in every school in America.

Congressman Tim Ryan did a great speech on mindfulness explaining how the scientific research is here. We just need authority figures to take action.

I would like to see any and all forms of meditation being made more accessible in all schools. I think it would have a ripple effect on the well-being of society.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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19 Responses to “Why isn’t meditation in every school in America?”

  1. slsimms says:

    Thank you for this post! I think this would be great to implement in schools; I know of at least one teacher that does this at a middle school I substitute at. The kids (and their parents) had negative comments at first but I'm thinking that it turned out okay. I've not had to go back to her classroom to cover for her ;0)

  2. Matt Dalton says:

    Thanks for this article. I live in Portland, Oregon one of the more progressive places in the US and hope that this will be the place where something like this can begin and thrive. I teach yoga and am also a massage therapist and am constantly seeing people struggle with pain, stress and general disconnection between the body and mind. I think about what must happen in order to begin shifting the way we think about stress. SCHOOLS! If we started educating children on how to relax themselves and how to manage stress the results on our culture at large could be staggering . . . but I digress, I meant only to thank you and to express my gratitude to you for the work you're doing:)
    Matt Dalton

  3. Robert_Piper says:

    Thank you Matt, I agree, nowadays it seems more people are visiting the doctor's office for stress related problems than the flu. Over 70% of hospital visit's are stress related, wide stream cultural impact starts with children. If we educated children simple ways how to manage stress through a mindfulness practice it would greatly impact the well-being of society.

    Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.


  4. Melody says:

    Thank you Robert! I teach kids yoga in camps, pre-schools and elementary schools and it is always a hard sell. Often it must be water down or the language adjusted to meet the school board or district's standards. But, even if we are talking about rainbows and unicorns, I always incorporate meditation or rest or concentration for the students. It is needed and it works. Namaste.

  5. Dad says:

    I'm not sure where your kids go to school, but the board of education where we are can hardly get their act together enough to teach my kids how to read, write and do some math. Ask the BOE to take even a minor role in my children's spiritual well being? I don't think so. Though I try to lead by example, maintaining a rich spiritual life for myself, and thought I might even seek out a teacher for my children at some point, I want my children in the government institution for as brief a period as possible and then out so they can come home and meditate with dad, thanks.

  6. Zachary Fink says:

    Thanks for including Edutopia's infographic on meditation in schools!

    San Francisco Public Schools has had a meditation pilot program going for the past few years. They have seen incredibly dramatic results in terms of lower school violence, higher attendance, and better standardized test scores since they implemented their program.

    I'm the Director of Video for Edutopia, and we produced a short documentary about one school's story. It's the video that goes with the infographic above. You can watch it here: http://www.edutopia.org/stw-student-stress-medita

    Spending a week immersed in this incredible program was a treat, and I'd love to see this program spread!

    All the best,
    Zachary Fink

    Director of Video Programming
    The George Lucas Educational Foundation | Edutopia

  7. Robert_Piper says:

    Hi Zachary,

    I just watched the video, that's incredible!

    Thanks for informing me on this, I'm all for spreading the word on any programs about this subject.

    I'll write another article on this topic and include the video.

    Thank you,

    Robert Piper

  8. Robert_Piper says:

    Thanks Melody, I know a lot of programs are having major problems implementing programs like this because of this type of resistance. I'm glad you're working to incorporate meditaiton, rest, and concentration into your work.

    Thank you,


  9. Thanks Robert – Much appreciated! If you have the bandwidth, let me know when it goes live and we'll promote it at Edutopia.


  10. Linda V Lewis says:

    Yes indeed, even kids that resist at first or for a "phase" come back for more as they grow up a bit.

  11. chad says:

    How come Piper went looking for other meditation teachers after studying with a Taoist? Didn't he feel like he go the real deal first time around?


  12. […] teaching us that it is vital to make friends with meditation, that it is not our adversary. Rather, meditation is a companion to have throughout life, like a best friend we turn to when things get hard to deal with and we are in need of inspiration, […]

  13. Glad for this post! It is great to hear coast to coast talking about teaching meditation for children in schools.  Along with schools what about extending this concept to every home of a school-aged child in this country?  

  14. BJ Tuininga says:

    This post is wonderful. Meditation would help to calm the children and create better learning experiences for them. It would also help to calm the nerves of the frazzled teachers who are thrust into those classrooms overcrowded with those poor anxiety ridden children with poor attention spans.

    Meditation saved my life after my accident and has allowed me to get through each day since then as I struggle with my TBI and constant pain. But I have achieved a peaceful and happy countenance much of which can be attributed to my connections to meditation. Children certainly have the ability to learn the same level of control through meditation but of their behavioral aspics which interfere with their learning processes.

  15. […] misconception that meditation is all about ‘Oms’ and the ‘Lotus position’. Whilst meditation can be explored in this way, meditation, for me, is as simple as having a cup of […]

  16. […] Why isn’t meditation in every school in America? […]

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  18. Kailen says:

    I am a current 17-year-old senior in high school and after having faced a tremendous amount of stress my sophomore year and experiencing firsthand how debilitating it could be, have incorporated mindfulness and mediation in my everyday life to help manage my stress. The positive outcome it has had on my life has been profound, and I quickly came to the conclusion that these types of practices need to be more mainstream and introduced to adolescents in schools across the country. I spent the better part of last year researching adolescent stress and writing a book on it (which I'm currently trying to get published) and this year am trying to work with my school to create a stress management curriculum. I have been reading your posts and am encouraged by all the existing initiatives out there and would really like to get involved in any manner. I admire all that you have done and would really appreciate a reply with any advice or guidance you could give me!