Meditation with Children and Young People
Children are born contemplative. They have a natural capacity to meditate and they do it easily and simply. They have the ability to sit in silent prayer, and respond with awe and wonder. In Australia, over 400 schools are already practising Christian meditation as part of their school prayer life.
Meditation with Children - Suggestions for Teachers
Simply begin simply
- Christian meditation is prayer. Create a simple sacred prayer space with the students and involve them in setting up and clearing as appropriate for their age.
- Students sit in a comfortable position on the floor or at their desks or on chairs in a circle or in rows depending on circumstances. Adopt the same setting for each meditation session if possible.
- The students are now physically still, ready for meditation. ‘As still as a stone’.
- Now to still and quieten the mind- when the meditation starts the students repeat their mantra silently and interiorly from the beginning to the end of the meditation time.
- Try to meditate in a quiet place and reduce any unnecessary noise.
- Put a sign on the door ‘Quiet please we are meditating’.
“Sit down, sit upright with your back straight, sit as still as you can with your hands resting on your knees or lap. Lightly close your eyes. Take a moment to listen to the sounds outside the classroom. Now listen to the sounds in the classroom. Do not think about the sounds but just notice they are there, accept them and let them go. Begin to say your prayer word or mantra ‘Ma Ra Na Tha’- repeat it over for the whole time of meditation.”
- Young students may be encouraged to say the word aloud for the first few times but lead them into saying the word interiorly.
- Sound the chime or gong to indicate the start of the time of meditation or use the“Time for Prayer” CD or the WCCM timer app.
- Depending on the age of the students start with 30 seconds to one minute and gradually increase the time to optimum of 1 minute for each chronological year(eg 5 year old = 5 minutes, 10 year old = 10 minutes).
- Sound the chime or gong to indicate the end of the time of meditation.
- At the end of the session move quietly and gently to the next lesson.
- No evaluation, no judgement, no “de-brief” is required.
- Every experience of Christian meditation is a positive one.
- Trust your students that they will be open to the silence and to the Spirit working inthe silence.
Consider: What are the possible ways I can introduce my class to each of the elements above? How can I involve the students in the preparation of the classroom for this way of prayer? Where will the students meditate? When will they meditate? How often will they meditate?