Meditation With Children


Christian Meditation Ireland, in cooperation with WCCM, hosted a seminar on Tuesday, 2 October 2012 at the Emmaus Centre, Swords, Co. Dublin. Following the seminar we began promoting the practice of meditation in schools, primarily with primary schools. To find out more, contact Noel Keating at meditationwithchildren@eircom.net

We encourage primary schools to introduce the practice across the school, on a whole-school basis. To learn more about the programme, please download our Information Leaflet here.

All schools in the pilot programme will be offered a two-hour workshop/in-service session during Croke Park hours. The inservice will explain clearly what is involved and how simple and cost-free the process is. We will also facilitate the staff in exploring the feasibility of introducing the practice to their school for a trial period. The inservice is offered without obligation - schools decide during the inservice whether or not they wish to introduce the practice.

If you think your school would like to hear more and avail of the inservice, please download the pilot project application form here and return the completed form to Noel as directed on the form.

By June 2015, inservice had been completed in 101 schools all but one of whom choose to adopt the practice. This means that the practice is now running in 100 primary schools and that 24,000 children now practice meditation at least once each week with their teacher and classmates. In most cases the children meditate at least twice each week and in many schools every day. In almost every case, all classes in the school meditate at the same time so the whole school falls silent for the  period of the meditation. The children meditate for one minute per year of age.

The feedback from the schools has been very positive. Noel is enetering the final year of his doctoral research on the child's experience of meditation, its benefits and fruits in their lives and its meaning for them.  

We have a team of 15 volunteer facilitators across Ireland who can facilitate the two-hour staff in-service. The date for in-service is agreed between the school Principal and the facilitator and normally takes place during Croke Park hours.  Applications are accepted throughout the school year - just download the application form and submit it and we will get back to you to arrange a date for the in-service. The inservice is free - see the application form for details.

Map of Participating SchoolsAny primary school may apply to joing the project. The application is regarded as an indicator that the school wishes to consider the matter more fully and a decision to commit to the pilot project is made by full staff on the day of the in-service and confirmed by the Board of Management before the practice is introduced.

Click on the map of Ireland to see an interactive map of the schools in the project. Schools joining the project are added to the map periodically, so it does not always reflect with complete accuracy the full list of participating schools.

Christian Meditation with Children - Around the World

In recent years, one of the more significant developments in the world of Christian meditation is the way that children and young people are embracing this form of prayer. Sister Madeleine Simon in her book Born Contemplative (1993) talks of their “inborn sense of wonder“ and suggests that “it is never too early to learn the way of contemplative prayer, because children are able in their simplicity to catch and hold God by love.”

WCCM has been promoting the practice of meditation for young people and children in various places, including Northern Ireland and England. A pilot study in 2005, involving teaching meditation to five- to 17-year-olds, concluded that not alone are children capable of meditation, they actively enjoy it; the recommendation is that children can meditate in proportion to their age, with a eight-year old meditating for eight minutes and so on. The benefits to children's well-being were so obvious to teachers that it persuaded Cathy Day, director of Townsville Catholic Education Office in Australia, to develop and implement the first Christian meditation programme for all schools in the diocese. The initiative had two important catalysts: a bishop who was sympathetic to meditation and the input of Laurence Freeman OSB, leader of the World Community for Christian Meditation. Their website Coming Home has useful information on teaching Christian Meditation to children. The project is now available to schools in 27 countries across the globe including the United KIngdom, the United States and Australia. 

Clearly, any project which seeks to introduce children to meditation in Irish Catholic primary schools must be set in the context of the religious education programme, formerly delivered through the Alive-O textbooks which are gradually to be replaced by the Grow in Love series over the coming years. Prayer is one of the building blocks of the programme which promotes different forms of prayer - including silent prayer and meditation. 

Pope John Paul II, speaking to participants of the National Congress of the Italian Association of Catholic Teachers in 1984 noted that children need to develop the art of attention and that:

This requires that you help your students … to nourish their innate amazement in the face of creation and to reflect on it in order to grasp its perfection. To educate to this attitude, it is indispensible that the child be led to a real and profound interior silence which is the first requisite for listening.”

For further informationor to volunteer to assist with the pilot project, contact Noel Keating who acts as Coordinator for Meditation with Children for Christian Meditation Ireland or Mrs. Maura McKinney who promotes the practice of meditation with children in Northern Ireland. Noel may also be contacted on +353872251183. Noel Keating & Maura McKinney are members of the National Executive of Christian Meditation Ireland.