Junior high in Sandy experimenting with meditation in class, and the results are promising

SANDY, Utah -- A middle school in Sandy is trying something new to combat anxiety, depression and behavioral problems and it’s probably not something you would expect to see at a junior high. In short, the district is trying some quiet.

“It helps with things that middle school students struggle with, like impulse control and just feeling prepared for the day,” said Cathy Nelson, a counselor at Albion Middle School.

Using money from a grant, the Canyons School District is testing a series of pre-recorded, age-appropriate guided meditation practices. Teachers play it in their classrooms at the start of the second period, giving the students ten minutes to calm their minds and focus on how they are feeling.

“Just to relax and take a break from a crazy day in middle school,” said Katelyn Simmons, an 8th-grade student. She says not every student feels the same but she believes most of her peers are finding the daily meditation to be a benefit.

The district is tracking the results to evaluate if the program should expand to more schools. Based on results from other school districts around the country, the results could be wide-ranging.

“We are tracking academics, office discipline referrals and then we’re also tracking the number of students coming down with help with stress, anxiety, depression,” said Nelson.

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