Imagine stopping work just for one minute each day to enjoy the sound of silence – Glenmerry Elementary School is doing just that.
“In modern society, with cellphones, emails and computer games, there is very little time in our day where we’re quiet,” said principal Patrick Audit.
“Taking a moment of quiet time lets the brain refocus.”
Since the end of January, Glenmerry’s nearly 290 students along with teachers and staff have practiced “Our Quiet Moment.”
Students are encouraged to reflect, think about what lies ahead and relax, before delving into the second half of their school day.
Grade 4 teacher Wayne Florko occasionally gives his kids a topic to ponder, like what they’re going to do over spring break, or keeps it open for their interpretation.
After Grade 7 students announce over the intercom that the moment is about to start, Florko’s Grade 4 class lowers their heads to their desks.
While not all kids may be sold on the concept, many at least appreciate the break from work.
“At the start, nobody really cared about it but now it’s been a lot better,” said nine-year-old Nate Ingram. “It’s kind of time when you can just sit down and relax for a moment and think about what you’re going to do for the rest of the day.”
For fellow student Hailey DaSilva, the quiet time is just an opportunity to relax from her hectic day of learning and playing.
“It gives you peace of mind without all that noise and you have a break from working – it’s really nice to have that,” she said.
Just a couple seats down, Charlotte Soukeroff thinks about her future and finds “inner peace” during the exercise.
“It calms your brain and it gives you a moment of silence to get you thinking and whatever you think about, you can use your imagination,” she said.
Following a mission brought forward to schools in New York by Avraham Frank, Glenmerry decided the initiative would be a good fit after the idea emerged at staff meeting in January.
“I’ve noticed that everybody likes doing it, both students and teachers,” said Audit. “Everybody feels the moment of calm is helpful.”