More and more kids across Canada are learning meditation techniques. Not everyone thinks it’s a good use of time.
Aliza Naqvi, a 14-year-old student at Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute in Toronto, carries a key chain strung with seven coloured beads. When she’s feeling stressed or anxious, she can pull it out as a reminder: The first bead, which is blue, stands for “breathe.” The second, red, cues her to reflect on her thoughts; yellow is to consider her emotions, and so on. “At any school, there’s a lot of stress involved,” Naqvi says. “The expectations are really high.”
This year, Bethune, which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), introduced lessons in mindfulness—a type of meditation that encourages awareness of the present moment, in a non-judgmental way—to all of its 200 Grade 9 students, including Naqvi.