|NUMBER 279||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||APRIL 2009|
|California Students Learn Meditation|
An unapologetically enthusiastic article in the Sacramento Bee hailed the teacher-directed meditation training as the welcome alternative to "graduating another generation of workaholic, road-raged adults." The feature described one instructor, Oren Sofer, as he led a class of 3rd-graders in various meditation techniques. The children greeted Sofer upon his entrance to the classroom with a unison chant: "Mind-ful-ness. Mind-ful-ness." The Sacramento Bee defined "mindfulness" as "the ability to be aware of what is happening in the present moment without judgment."
In pursuit of "mindfulness," Sofer rang a Tibetan singing bowl and asked the students to listen quietly to the bell's echoes. The Tibetan singing bowl is a bell used in the context of Buddhism to facilitate prayer, meditation, and trance induction. After playing the bell, Sofer led the class in rhythmic breathing exercises and meditation.
"Not only are kids managing their stress and getting along better with others, they're using mindfulness to enhance their drawing, acting, running and sleeping," raved reporter April Dembosky.
The meditation courses take place in 15-minute increments, three times a week for five weeks. The Oakland-based Community Partnership for Mindfulness in Education developed the program and pays its instructors. (Sacramento Bee, 2-9-09)