Did you know that designated quiet time in the classroom yields mental and physical health benefits to both students and teachers?
In fact, a 2015 study showed that just 15 minutes of quiet free time provided to high school students improved their mental health over the course of a school year. Compared to their classmates, students that participated in quiet time had decreased anxiety and increased resilience against stressors. These students also reported that they slept better, had more confidence and felt happier overall.
Quiet time for educators can be as simple as having coffee without any devices or a full meditation routine. Either way, it’s been proven that moments of silence have many health benefits, such as increased focus, cognition and creativity, lower blood pressure, reduced muscle tension and improved communication skills. Teachers can enjoy quiet time at their desks or right alongside their students on lounge seats.
For students’ quiet time, the right furnishings can make all the difference. Comfortable areas that feature unique soft seating or floor chairs maximize the physical and mental health benefits.
A comfortable couch with wooden tablets let's them sink into a book or get a bit of writing done, for example. Calming classroom rugs adorned with pastel flowers or summer fireflies allow students to sit, lean or lay while they enjoy the silence. Feeling safe and relaxed during quiet time gives the mind a real break, which in turn helps our brains navigate busy schedules and manage multiple tasks without adding undue stress or anxiety.
Building a quiet reading space can be as easy as finding the right classroom reading nook furniture set or creating a classroom reading corner with a theme that encourages creative thought while reading, writing and drawing. For students of any age, surrounding lounge areas with books using standard or curved shelves invites kids to read something new during their quiet time. The child-sized ocean reading cove holds plenty of books and lets students read while they relax on a cushioned mat. Paired with a oceanic rug and a bit of blue or white construction paper, any classroom reading corner can feel like an undersea adventure.
Going outside is another way to use quiet time to recharge students and provide inspiration. Combine mindfulness with a bit of physical activity by taking advantage of school grounds with a class walk or by finding a spot to simply relax on the grass or on indoor-outdoor seating. Absorbing the sights and sounds of nature for a few moments can be an important counterbalance to the world of screens and schedules both kids and adults experience.
Having an effective quiet time means letting go a bit so your brain can relax. Across all ages quiet time can improve focus and allow time for reading, drawing, resting or any other simple and silent activities. Whether it’s leaning against some pillows while drawing on a portable desk or picking up a new story in a classroom reading corner, with just 15 minutes of quiet time educators and students can have lifelong benefits.
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Wendt, S., Hipps, J., Abrams, A. et al. Practicing Transcendental Meditation in High Schools: Relationship to Well-being and Academic Achievement Among Students. Contemp School Psychol 19, 312–319 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-015-0066-6.
“What Is Quiet Time?” Responsive Classroom, 24 Oct. 2017, https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/what-is-quiet-time/.
“An Ode to Silence: Why You Need It in Your Life.” Health Essentials, Cleveland Clinic, 7 Oct. 2020, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-need-more-silence-in-your-life/.