Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington College, says the decline of the traditional religious assembly has left schoolchildren with little or no time for quiet reflection. This is from the Telegraph…
All schools should introduce a daily “stillness” session to give pupils time for reflection away from the frantic pressures of modern life, according to a leading headmaster.
Children should be required to keep quiet for around two minutes each day to give them respite from social media and school work, said Anthony Seldon.
He said that the decline of old fashioned religious assemblies had robbed many pupils of the ability to “reflect during the school day” just as large numbers of children faced unprecedented levels of stress.
Dr Seldon, the master of Wellington College, Berkshire, said anxiety levels and rates of depression had increased in recent years because of the pressure to meet exam targets.
Pupils’ concentration has also been eroded by the “incessant chatter” of modern life, he said, with children spending a large amount of time on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter…
Wellington College has introduced a “mindfulness” programme for pupils and staff that involve two-minute “stillness” periods each day – a time for silent reflection.
Pupils aged 13-to-15 also have a weekly 15-minute stillness session led by their teacher.
Dr Seldon, who has previously pioneered initiatives such as happiness and wellbeing lessons to improve children’s mental health, said: “Mindfulness or meditation has been shown to be an invaluable tool to help bolster young people’s resilience to psychological stress.
“It also boosts concentration, depth of thought, happiness and achievement.
“It is the most simple and natural technique to learn – indeed it is not really a technique at all.
“It is all about being yourself, making the most of yourself, and making the most of the opportunities that life presents to you. It promotes trusting relationships, healthy living and psychological and emotional security.”
The conference on school “mindfulness” takes places at Loughborough University on March 12…
Do you agree with Dr Seldon’s comments here? Is there so much noise and stimulation in young people’s lives that organised periods of stillness could benefit them? Has your/your child’s school tried anything like this and if so, what has been the impact? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…