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Meditation in the classroom: Program helps at-risk kids

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Can meditation help at-risk kids cope with traumatic stress?

KALW’s Crosscurrents takes a look at how some public schools in San Francisco have started school-wide meditation programs. James Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School, says it has helped many of his students growing up in the rough neighborhood:

A lot of our kids come down with post-traumatic stress, just like you would if you lived in Iraq. So it’s hard to turn that off when you come in the school building when you sit down and try to study.

Funded by the David Lynch Foundation, Quiet Time helps students reduce stress and improve academic performance through transcendental meditation. While most of the evidence is anecdotal, Dierke says he’s seen an increase in test scores and attendance rates since implementing the program four years ago. Tristan, an 8th-grader, started meditating 2 years ago: “When I started to get into it and started to do it every day I noticed that it really helped me because I was sort of a trouble child, and then when I started to meditate I started to become a leader, I got good grades, so it was really helpful.”

photo Todd Fahrner

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