RANDOLPH, NJ-Teachers at Ironia Elementary School were invited to participate in a brand new project. Unlike most projects, however, this involved no paperwork, no reports, no computers, no phone calls, and no added stress. In fact, the very nature of the project was designed to ease stress and restore peace and calm in their otherwise busy classrooms.
“Project Quiet Time” was the brainchild of Ironia principal Mr. Lee Nittel and Dr. David Simon, CEO of the Randolph Pain Relief and Wellness Center. Nittel had previously read about the positive effects of mindfulness in school districts throughout the country and was enthusiastic to try it with his own faculty and students. Simon’s practice has used meditation as part of its multidisciplinary approach to pain management. A positive response from patients led the practice to begin offering free meditation classes in Randolph as part of its community outreach program.
Mindfulness, also known as meditation, or at Ironia, “Quiet Time,” gives students of all age levels the opportunity to sit quietly, close their eyes, and visualize a quiet, calm place. Ninety seconds is all it takes to have positive results that include better focus and an overall more positive feeling in the classroom.
“If I had to trade agendas with a student for a day, I’d be exhausted. They’re running from school to sports to homework without a moment to reflect. Having the chance to reset their minds is an important skill we can teach them,” said Nittel.
“I did “Quiet Time” twice a day: 9:08 and 12:08. I am going to keep it going, “ said 5th grade teacher and Project Quiet Time participant Christine Brembs. “The students enjoyed the time. It set the tone for the morning and afternoon.”
Lara Beneshan, licensed acupuncturist and meditation expert at the Randolph Pain Relief and Wellness Center, trained the teachers on how to implement mindfulness in their own classrooms.
The 21-day project included a check-in session with Ms. Beneshan and gave the teachers an opportunity to share their progress and ask questions. “As a teenager, I struggled with migraine headaches. Meditation was often the only thing that brought relief. I am happy to now be sharing what I have learned after so many years of practice,” she said.
Dr. Simon believes mindfulness in the schools is the future. “The feedback from the teachers is clear. Practicing mindfulness in schools benefits the students,” he said.
Both teachers and students found the “Quiet Time” techniques helpful. As Cathy Murphy, a 2nd grade teacher commented, “my students remind me about “Quiet Time” if I forget it. They seem more focused and calmer after the couple minute ‘break’”.
As Mary Ann Smallwood, also a 2nd grade teacher, summed up the project, “My class had never had anything like this and they responded well,” she said, “It did bring focus for all of us.”
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Established in 2010 by Dr. David Simon and Dr. Dean Curtis, and located at 540 Route 10 West in Randolph, NJ, the Randolph Pain Relief & Wellness Center offers an integrated approach to health and wellness. Services include Chiropractic, Naturopathy, Physical Therapy, Acupuncture, Weight Loss, Pain Management,Massage Therapy, Nutrition, and Personal Training.