Throughout their primary years, our students learn simple mindfulness and meditation exercises which have a grounding effect. We consider these techniques to be some of the most beneficial that Erasmus Primary School provides.
Mindfulness and meditation teach the children to fall still and quiet which helps to focus the mind and develop an inner peace, strength and steadiness. It is then easier to turn to the task at hand with greater focus and clarity of mind. This process is often referred to as ‘being in the present’ and helps to optimise mental, physical, emotional and spiritual pursuits. The children can continue to use these lifelong skills beyond primary school.
For example, from their first day at Erasmus, children learn to ‘pause’ and be still and quiet for a few moments before and after each activity. The pause involves the children being asked to ‘come to rest’ in an upright position with good posture. Once there is silence, the children may then recite together a brief dedication, this is a prayer offering one’s efforts to God. The prayer is said in Sanskrit because of its pure sound, with a loose translation being: “I dedicate this work to God.” Before meals, the children are always asked to fall still and quite before expressing acknowledgement and gratitude for the food provided.
Across the curriculum, age appropriate daily practice of other forms of meditation occurs to focus the attention and allow children to experience mental quietness. This may include other prayers and singing of sacred music, and learning to recite, or reflect upon and understand various stories from scripture and fine literature and works of art, as well as through various physical activities. These activities enable the children to learn different ways to acknowledge and experience a greater consciousness and connectedness.
From the age of 10, with parental approval, and depending on the whole class’ readiness, the children are invited to learn meditation in an Eastern mantra tradition. The primary purpose is to learn to still the body and mind at a deeper level, which enhances self-awareness. During school time, about 10 minutes is set aside each day for quiet reflective time and those who have learned to meditate can do so at these times.