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Children and Meditation

  • About

Meditation is more of a discipline than a technique. Techniques can be measured, and they keep the attention on ourselves and our progress which has a value of course. But a greater human value lies in doing something as a discipline. Disciplines are ways of continuous learning. Meditation itself is an inexhaustible learning process. Its motivation is love.For ten years since the Townsville initiative we have been teaching meditation in schools (primary to secondary) – first in Australia and now in 29 other countries.

For many years since the Catholic Diocese of Townsville in Australia introduced meditation systemically throughout its school system, we have been teaching meditation in an increasing number of schools (primary and secondary) – now in 29 other countries. Although parents and grandparents can, of course, teach children to meditate in the family circle, there seems to be an advantage and a fuller take-up when it is also practiced supportively in the classroom.

Children and young people take to meditation with great enthusiasm. They can and like to meditate. It is clear to all that they also need to meditate. Schools, teachers and parents – and children themselves – testify to the fruits that you can feel but cannot measure as well as to the benefits that you can measure. Serious longitudinal research has been conducted to describe this (read here) . 

Ideally, children are introduced to meditation at elementary level and given the opportunity to develop a daily practice during their school years. Support for the school leadership and the teachers is essential a. The challenge in one sense is not to convince the children that meditation is worthwhile but the school authorities and teaching staff. The greatest benefits accrue to the children when attention has been given to the teachers themselves. They too work today in stressful conditions that can undermine their joy in their vocation to teach. Learning to mediate can help them recover this enthusiasm and they will then better communicate it to their students.

The fruits of a regular practice are self-authenticating and self-evident. For example, most children say that they choose to meditate alone (or with friends) in their own free time – at home or elsewhere.

The question today is therefore not ‘why should we teach meditation in schools?’ but ‘why on earth don’t we?’ The challenge is, in fact, not to teach the children but to show them how to do it and help them develop it as a life-skill by supporting regular practice. We are ‘born contemplative’. Children teach us that. 

In helping children develop meditation as part of their life we are not only helping to transmit faith but we are giving them a life-skill for coping with the challenges and dysfunctions of the modern world.

  • Videos

Meditation in Schools Asian Tour

Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore each held a Meditatio Forum on Meditation in Schools led by Dr Cathy Day and Ernie Christie who spoke directly of

Meditation in Schools Asian Tour

Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore each held a Meditatio Forum on Meditation in Schools led by Dr Cathy Day and Ernie Christie who spoke directly of

  • Talks

Lessons We Have Learnt: Cathy Day and Ernie Christie on Meditation in Schools

Dr Cathy Day and Ernie Christie give a brief resume of a number of practical lessons, based on their experience of implementing Christian meditation in 31 schools in Townsville, Australia. These include a kit of resources, formation for teachers, meditation as an inclusive form of prayer, senior student retreats, the “leading teacher” program, fostering relations with the local parishes, creating a systematic, collaborative, graduated and continuous approach, measuring the results and rekindling the sense of the sacred. They also answer a number of questions from the audience.

Lessons We Have Learnt: Cathy Day and Ernie Christie on Meditation in Schools

Dr Cathy Day and Ernie Christie give a brief resume of a number of practical lessons, based on their experience of implementing Christian meditation in 31 schools in Townsville, Australia. These include a kit of resources, formation for teachers, meditation as an inclusive form of prayer, senior student retreats, the “leading teacher” program, fostering relations with the local parishes, creating a systematic, collaborative, graduated and continuous approach, measuring the results and rekindling the sense of the sacred. They also answer a number of questions from the audience.

  • Seminars
  • Research

There is now a substantial evidence base reporting the benefits and complexities of meditation programs in schools. Much of this evidence has been collated in a comprehensive scoping review undertaken by Anne Graham at the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University, Australia, on behalf of the WCCM. The full evidence review is available along with an infographic summary capturing some key findings for schools. 

  • Resources for Purchase
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