10 Meditation Apps For The Classroom by TEACH THOUGHT!
by Ashley McCann
The modern school day can be stressful, due in part to the pressure caused by standardized testing, social tension, and dwindling unstructured free time — all issues that affect teachers as well as students. It’s hard to cultivate a culture of curiosity and patience in an environment that’s heavy on schedules and expectations, but the true objective of education is to enrich lives in a way that fosters lasting growth and an interest in knowledge, and that’s unlikely to happen if the daily experience is filled with anxiety.
Although it’s difficult to change the way the (school) system operates, it is possible to adjust how you operate within the system. Introducing meditation and mindfulness techniques in the classroom not only allows you to create a calmer environment, the practice has proven to have verifiable benefits on the human brain.
A 2011 Harvard study of MRI images showed a thickening in the cerebral cortex (an area responsible in part for attention and emotional integration) in meditation participants in as little as 8 weeks. So, it’s more than a good habit and some quiet time in the classroom, you may be helping the brains of your students develop even more than you realize.
Where do you even begin teaching meditation when you may not be familiar with the practice yourself? Although it seems like an incongruous match, this is yet another area where technology steps in to make learning convenient, and a variety of apps offer options for every age, ability, and amount of available time. Here are a few to experiment with as you get started.
10 Meditation Apps For The Classroom
This is a great place to learn the basics of mindfulness for beginners, and is suitable for a wide range of ages. The included Headspace For Kids program focuses on breathing exercises, visualizations, and focus-based meditation in themes like calm, focus, kindness, sleep, wake up, and tailored for age groups 9-12, 6-8, and 5 and under, with regular Headspace being appropriate for older kids (and teachers who need a midday meditation break!)
As part of the Calm Classroom Initiative, teachers can apply to receive Calm’s paid subscription at no cost for access to the library of meditation and mindfulness exercises for age groups covering pre-k through high school.
While not made specifically for children, Buddhify’s simple and colorful interface and 80 plus custom meditations offer plenty of options, and the upfront price with no additional costs adds even more value.
Made just for kids, Dreamy kid offers meditations such as Body Scan, an ADD and ADHD session, ambient background noise, and more. General and issue-based meditations, guided visualizations and affirmations are added each month.
Home to more than 4117 meditation sessions, Insight Timer should have something for everyone and there’s no risk of running out of options. Explore different styles, teachers, or methods, log cumulative meditation time, join the online community of meditators, or set a timer for some quiet.
The title indicates what this app focuses on and all three are important life skills that are often under taught. Best suited for the 10 and up crowd and ideal for individual use, this app makes it easy to track progress and gain daily momentum with reward stickers, check-ins, and a lesson on how to meditate as well as a list of meditations to follow.
This simple app geared towards the elementary crowd offers five meditations with kid-friendly art and tone, ranging in time from three to 14 minutes and working on sitting comfortably, visualization, and a gradual reorientation.
Incorporate some movement with a kid-geared guide to 12 yoga poses with animation, video, and instruction. Super Stretch also promotes a code of ethics under the acronym Namaste, representing tenets like “Act with Kindness.”
9. Take a Chill
Marketed towards teens and tweens, this app features a fleet of stress management tools using mindful activities to promote positive thought patterns. Daily activities, reminders, progress trackers, stress assessment, and motivational quotes are all part of the package.
10. Smiling Mind
Modern meditation with programs for age ranges from 7 and up along with a Mindfulness in the Classroom program, this not-for-profit organization’s app also offers students a break from the pressure, stress, and challenges of daily life.
See also Supporting Wellness in Schools.
Whether you’re interested in developing the whole child, carving out some quiet time, growing gray matter, or all of the above, incorporating meditation and mindfulness into your class’s schedule can create a ripple effect into their daily lives, future, and the world beyond.