When you think of detention, what comes to mind? For me, it’s sitting at a desk in a pin-drop quiet room watching the seconds tick by. Afraid to move or make any sound, the only thing to do is stare at the clock, willing it to move faster.
It’s definitely a rough punishment for an energetic kid! Now, kids at one school may never have to endure old-school detention again.
An elementary school in Denver implemented a surprising new alternative for detention. Instead of the punishment I described above, disruptive and disobedient students will attend a yoga class. Yes, you read that correctly. The misbehaving little ones at Doull Elementary School get a mat and some downward dog.
Outside The Box Learning
The school hired Trini Heffron, an experienced yoga instructor and former teacher, to lead yoga and meditation groups for its students, according to Denver’s KMGH-TV. It sounds like a sweet deal for the kids. And it is.
Research shows yoga can help children develop important life skills like body awareness, concentration and stress management. “The nice thing about yoga is our kids are leaving with a life skill,” Jodie Carrigan, principal of Doull Elementary, shared with Chalkbeat.
Thanks to a small grant program known as the “whole child innovation fund,” funded by a recent $56.6 million tax increase, seven Denver schools have additional room in their budgets for social and emotional programming like this.
Leading The Way
Doull isn’t the first school to experiment with detention alternatives. Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore replaced detention with a “Mindful Moment Room.”
This room, filled with pillows and relaxing scents, provides students with a safe place to simmer down after a behavior incident before heading back to class.
The school teamed up with the Holistic Life Foundation, an organization that teaches yoga and mindfulness in underserved communities. Additionally, students learn deep breathing exercises and how to diffuse stress and anger.
And it apparently worked.
In the first year of the program, the school had zero suspensions. As a result, the school has a better learning environment for all students, making the children more productive.
Even if your kid’s school hasn’t adopted mindfulness and yoga yet, you can equip them with similar tools at home. There are a number of easy-to-use apps that teach meditation. They require only a few minutes a day and are literally at your fingertips. There are also some yoga poses you can have your child try at home when they are on the verge of a meltdown.
Do you think your children could benefit from a few more mindful moments each week?