Why bring meditation into UK schools?

3 July 2017 | beando_admin

We are delighted to see that the UK government is dedicating some funds and time to support The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s Mental Health Awareness campaign, Heads Together. The project aims to end stigma around mental health in the UK. And that’s something we wholeheartedly support!

When we bring our education programme to schools, we often meet teachers who tell us that their students are under so much pressure now. The pressure to compete and achieve is overwhelming. In my teens, nobody really cared about exam results. Now it’s front page news every year. This, allied with the reduction of arts and creative subjects that teach pupils how to let go and express themselves, is bound to have a noticeable impact. Then of course, there’s social media. Children simply have less and less time to experience just being themselves. They are having to feel connected and accepted by social media; the constant fear of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) impacts almost every waking hour. 

Extra training for teachers to recognise key symptoms of anxiety and stress in others is a positive step forward. But, it is more for those committed professionals to add to their already busy and demanding days. We would say, don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s far more powerful and cost effective to move beyond recognising and managing stress symptoms, towards taking pupils beyond to deeper mental capacities and skills. By introducing meditation programmes into the the school day, we would then be supporting and nurturing the natural ‘absence’ of stress which is creativity, happiness and wellbeing. 

Not only could we tackle stress in schools, our pupils, teachers and parents would thrive too. On many of our courses with businesses and the community, we often hear our students say:

Why on earth did I not learn this school? 

But it is happening, and we would do well to learn from elsewhere in the world, especially in schools that are facing very particular challenging environments.

Teaching our teachers to see and recognise stress is vital. Then what? Teach them to meditate and then get then to teach others. It’s well known that one person meditating impacts dramatically (and positively) on his or her friends, colleagues and family.

We have been doing just that with Teach First. We run a programme of workplace meditation sessions with young graduate teachers to help them know how to thrive, flow and enjoy what it feels like when one has mastered how to know the ‘absence of stress’. 

If all this strikes a chord with you and you’d like to be part of the change that’s beginning to flow, why not get in touch? Meditation is easy: low cost, high impact. It doesn’t involve religion or philosophy. You don’t have to believe in anything. It’s both an art and science rolled into one. It’s thousands of years old. Now that has to be worth teaching!