The PEACE program was launched in November 2014 in France, under the leadership of Candice Elizabeth Marro, psychotherapist, osteopath , author and producer of a documentary on secular meditation in schools.
She gathered teams of volunteers trained in mindfulness meditation, M.B.S.R , E.F.T, Brain Gym and Yoga to implement PEACE during school hours.
This Practice of Empathy, Attention, Concentration in Education is an innovative experiment, initially tested in primary and secondary schools in Toulouse – Midi-Pyrénées and Corbeil-Essonnes (Educational Priority Area) – Ile de France.
12 classes (kindergarten to secondary school) took part, more than 350 children and young people involved at the same time, a national first !
The singularity of PEACE is to draw upon well known and tested practices, known as « Mindfulness Meditation », MBSR (Mindfulness based Stress Reduction ), Brain Gym, EFT and body practices (Yoga, Qi Gong). We have come up with powerful short guided meditation sessions encouraging physical, emotional, mental wellbeing as much as the nurturing of pro-social behaviors.
Our ethics is to respect and encourage secular applications of meditation, while respecting the faith, socio- cultural beliefs and origins of each individual.
The long-term objective of PEACE is to contribute to an international effort to develop a caring, mindful educational system.
Education should, now more than ever, become a way to promote wellness, the development of fundamental human values such as respect, empathy and pro-social skills. It is a powerful tool to equip our children and youth with a cooperative mind, genuine care for others and the environment as much as facilitation of their learning process.
Modality: a trained instructor in the practice of mindfulness meditation or equivalent guides a 10 to 15 minutes practice during school hours. Teachers participate along the children.
Frequency: minimum of 2 to 3 times a week .
Length: to date, a 10 weeks program.
Continuity : the instructor comes back fortnightly for longer sessions. The objective is to train the participating teachers and educators to take over with their classes.
- To help students and teaching staff benefit from the positive effects of the practice of secular meditation. Develop harmonious connection to the Self and Others through 5 core areas:
- Bodily health and wellbeing, identifying body sensations, stress management;
- Emotional wellbeing: self-confidence, reduction of psycho-emotional stress and impulsivity;
- Learning and cognitive abilities : attention, concentration, memory, motivation;
- Pro-social abilities : empathy, conflict resolution, altruism;
- Peaceful citizenship : openness, curiosity, tolerance, leveling of discrimination.
We carried out a first qualitative evaluation with 4 CM2 classes (116 students ) .
The results are encouraging:
52% of children feel better than before at the end of the experiment.
Over 82 % of children feel calmer after the meditation sessions.
Over 70 % of children have an improved focus and concentration through meditation .
Over 69 % of children admit to being more kind to themselves.
Over 73 % of children consider themselves to be more compassionate toward others.
Over 55 % of children used meditation to better express their emotions .
65% of children continued to practice meditation at least once a week.
A few testimonials :
« It was a great experience that I will try to continue with my students » – Josette , teacher
» Thanks again for the 10 weeks of rest, concentration and fun ‘ – Child, Cm2 .
« Children redo the exercises with their families; it is an experience that goes beyond the school’s walls » – Paule , teacher .
» I teach this to my grandmother, my sister , my older brother and my parents. I use it a lot. » – Pauline , Cm2 .
» Meditation is simple. It is not rocket science ! » – Alena , Cm2 .