Quiet Time

Quiet Time is offered by the David Lynch Foundation, which was founded in 2005 to bring the evidence-based techniques of Transcendental Meditation® (TM) to at-risk populations to improve health, emotional well-being, behavior, and cognitive function. To date, Quiet Time has served hundreds of thousands of students (and teachers) in inner-city schools within high-poverty neighborhoods both in the U.S. and internationally.

Quiet Time is available for grades 5–12 and requires commitment to a full-school adoption. This is intended to ensure the program has the most effective positive impact on school and classroom culture and on the academic and behavioral outcomes of all participating students. The program offers TM to students twice a day for 15-20 minutes each as a way to relax the central nervous system and decompress from tensions while developing EF skills and physiologically readying the brain for learning. Practice requires students to sit comfortably with closed eyes using a specific technique that settles thoughts and allows students to experience a calm, relaxed sense of awareness. TM is a type of secular meditation that reinforces a brainwave pattern associated with EF development and increased alertness (Hebert et al., 2005).

Quiet Time school-based implementations follow distinct steps. First, school leadership receives TM training followed by faculty training. Then the school principal signs a letter of intent, gains approval from the school’s governing body, garners parent and faculty buy-in, and adjusts the school-day schedule to accommodate the Quiet Time sessions. Finally, students who wish to participate (and who have parental permission) receive daily instruction from certified full-time Quiet Time TM instructors. Students who do not wish to participate in TM are required to quietly engage in an educational activity like reading. Quiet Time staff remain available for faculty coaching and capacity building as well as for student support. Each school is assigned a Quiet Time Site Leader and a team of full-time program instructors who are responsible for delivering the daily program sessions and offering workshops, events, assemblies, and school coaching to promote TM practices across curricular and co-curricular structures.

According to its website, research on schools that have adopted Quiet Time have shown: gains in test scores; better student creativity happiness, focus and self-confidence; reduced student psychological distress; reduced ADHD symptoms and other learning disorder symptoms; fewer suspensions and violent conflicts; and improved teacher retention (David Lynch Foundation, 2019).

Quiet Time is currently partnering with SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) to document program outcomes and optimal implementation protocols.