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Children and Meditation

  • About

Over 30 years’ experience of teaching meditation in schools in 29 countries has taught the WCCM that ‘children are born contemplative’. They take up meditation with great openness and enthusiasm and, they like to meditate. It is becoming clearer that teaching meditation to children as a discipline is contributing significantly to their well-being and wholeness. Teaching meditation as a discipline cultivates continuous learning as meditation itself is an inexhaustible learning process.

Research shows the benefits meditation in schools provides. You can download the latest research by Dr Anne Graham below. This includes improving attention, cognition, and cognitive function along with reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Schools, teachers, and parents – and children themselves – testify to the fruits that you can feel but cannot measure. They include deepening self-awareness, awakening the heart, nourishing the spirit, and inspiring more authentic living.

Although parents and grandparents can, of course, teach children to meditate in the family circle, there seems to be an advantage and a fuller uptake when it is also practiced supportively in the classroom.

Ideally, children are introduced to meditation at the 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. The greatest benefits accrue to the children when attention has been given to the teachers who themselves work in stressful conditions. Learning to meditate can help reduce their stress and lead to the experience of its  benefits and fruits.  The booklet Meditation: A Gift for Life contains guidelines for supporting schools (available July 2022). 

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.

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.

  • News

Meditation: A Gift for Life. Guidelines for Schools

These guidelines have been developed following consultation with meditators across several countries where the practice has been successfully introduced in schools. Our intent is to provide the foundations for a consistent approach to introduce meditation in schools that is faithful to the essential teachings of the WCCM. Although these guidelines are intended for schools, they can be adapted for parishes. Meditation: A Gift for Life is available in English, Portuguese and Spanish in print and as an e-book. Click on the image to purchase your copy now. WCCM Communities can order multiple copies direct from meditatio@wccm.org.

  • Videos
  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Get the App

We have a brilliant app for youngsters to time their meditation sessions. Children can listen to the instructions and opening song in Spanish, English or Italian and choose how long they want to meditate for. Click on the image to download the app now.

  • Resources for Purchase

Meditation: A Gift for Life. Guidelines for Schools

These guidelines have been developed following consultation with meditators across several countries where the practice has been successfully introduced in schools. Our intent is to provide the foundations for a consistent approach to introduce meditation in schools that is faithful to the essential teachings of the WCCM. Although these guidelines are intended for schools, they can be adapted for parishes. Meditation: A Gift for Life is available in English, Portuguese and Spanish in print and as an e-book. Click on the image to purchase your copy now.

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