So many of our children come to school with extensive external stresses and traumas. Activating their brains and inner motivation, so that they can receive the most from learning experiences, is difficult. This unit will explore the value of quiet reflective time in which children can calm their inner selves, reduce stress, integrate their experiences and start their school learning with an ideal “mental palate.” “Quiet Time” can be defined as a time when children can approach their inner selves through yoga, music, guided imagery, meditation, and reflective reading and writing. The Rationale for this unit will start with a brief survey of the research that has been done on the negative elements in the environment of some of our most “at risk” children. Aspects of newer thinking concerning intelligence will be discussed, especially Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Model and Sternberg’s Triarchic Intelligence Model. New Western models of intelligence will be compared with Eastern models of the mind. Finally, the current research on how meditation affects brain integration and function will be discussed. The concrete Curriculum Unit Plan will involve formulating a developmentally appropriate practice that can be taught and used in public schools, specifically a 4/5-grade curriculum.
(Developed for Social Development and Developmental Guidance, grades 4-5; recommended for Elementary School, grades 4-5)