Stress Free Schools is a non-profit NZ organisation that works with schools to raise student performance through the TM Quiet Time programme.

What is the TM Quiet Time programme?

TM Quiet Time is a practical, highly effective programme for raising student performance. It is easy and enjoyable for both students and teachers and can be introduced into any school, public or private, at any level, primary, intermediate, or high school. The programme involves two 10-15 minute periods of ‘Quiet Time’ being scheduled into the school’s daily routine – one when the students first arrive and one just before they leave. During Quiet Time students practice an effortless mental technique called Transcendental Meditation.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is simply a mental technique that is practised twice each day, sitting with the eyes closed. It is a very easy and natural technique; anyone from the age of 5 and upward can learn it. At school, students sit on their chairs by their desks and meditate. Transcendental Meditation is not a religion and does not require any beliefs.

How does the programme work?

The TM Quiet Time programme works by students effortlessly experiencing refined levels of mental activity; the outcomes being greater ‘inner wakefulness’ and enriched brain functioning. Simultaneously their bodies gain deep, high quality rest that reduces accumulated fatigue and stresses. This state where the mind is very awake, yet the body is very rested, is a unique scientifically-proven phenomenon known as ‘restful alertness’. Being in this state of ‘restful alertness’ is hugely beneficial because it brings great clarity to the mind and it unwinds the body of stress and fatigue.

In fact, during this state of ‘restful alertness’, research has shown that a whole host of beneficial changes occur in the mind and body.

What benefits does a school see?

Research has shown, that following the introduction of the TM Quiet Time programme, a number of benefits occur throughout the school, including:

  • Noticeable improvements in the social atmosphere of the school
  • Major declines in violence, bullying, substance abuse and vandalism
  • Significant reductions in behavioural problems and learning difficulties
  • Improvements in academic results
  • Increased student attendance

These benefits seen throughout the school, are the result of changes in the students and staff who participate in the TM Quiet Time programme. During the practice of Transcendental Meditation, numerous positive changes occur within the brain and the body. These subtle changes that occur in the individual, have been shown by scientific research to result in a range of benefits, such as: reduced stress and anxiety, more efficient brain functioning, increased creativity, focus, and alertness. As well as numerous health benefits, including: normalised blood pressure, lowered risk of diabetes and heart disease, and reduced need for doctor visits.

Regular participation in the TM Quiet Time programme has shown that the physical changes occurring within students during meditation, for example improved brain functioning, begin to be seen and subsequently grow outside of Quiet Time meditation. Meaning, that a student who has improved brain functioning during meditation, also has improved brain functioning during class time and at home. This is the crucial aspect of the programme, because it means that students can enjoy the benefits of Transcendental Meditation throughout the entire day.

What the students say

Starting and ending the school day with Quiet Time produces a calm and orderly atmosphere conducive for learning to take place. Quiet Time also acts as a transition period between home and school, allowing students to “switch-on” before starting their studies. Learning-readiness is at the core of any comprehensive programme for raising student performance. By developing the full brain, reducing the acute stresses that undermine learning and health, and improving the overall environment of the schools, the TM Quiet Time programme is a practical, highly effective approach to promoting learning readiness among students and thereby markedly improving their academic performance and success in life.

"I won a scholarship to go to high school.  I wouldn't have made it to the scholarship without TM.  After learning TM it was easier to study, and because of the release of stress, I have more energy.  A teenager has a lot going on - friends, exams, shopping etc - TM helps me feel calmer, happier, and less pressured.  And can I just say one more thing - any person could try TM."
(NZ student aged 12)

“It can really relax you and help you be more calm and it gets your mind ready for any activity”
(USA high school student)

“I used to always get good grades, but after TM I started raising the bar, the bar went up. I just started doing better.”
(USA high school student)

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Educator endorsements for the TM Quiet Time programme in schools

“Its impact on schools is impressive”

“At a time when schools are increasingly under pressure and both teachers and students face higher levels of stress, it is appropriate for us to consider alternative approaches to addressing these issues. I personally commend the Stress Free Schools organisation and those leading it to you. I know that what they are asking us to consider is valuable and has a very valuable contribution to make to the school system here in New Zealand. It is an additional tool in the educational repertoire... its impact on schools and education is impressive.”

Dr Stuart Middleton
O.N.Z.M, Ph.D.

Director External Relations, MIT

“The school is peaceful and children are happy”

“Over the time our children have participated in the Quiet Time programme we have noticed the incidence of children needing to take time out because of their inability to cope significantly reduced. Staff and parents report that the school is peaceful and children are happy. We are committed to providing this opportunity for our children.”

Kataraina Nock
Principal of a primary intermediate school, Auckland

“Proven to reduce stress in students”

“Stress in our students can lead to poor academic achievement, apathy, depression, behavioural problems, substance abuse, violence and consequent teacher burnout.  These problems are not going away and often educators are criticised unreasonably for the poor performance of students affected by stress. One answer lies in Transcendental Meditation which has been proven to reduce stress in students with remarkable improvements in their desire both to learn and to take part in school life.”

Greg Taylor, O.N.Z.M
Former Principal of Mount Albert Grammar School

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