Pasco students using meditation in class as part of Harmony Project

Program helping in school and at home

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Craig Sroka’s 5th grade class starts every Friday morning very peacefully.

“I want you to get to that relaxed state,” he says to his students.

Schrader Elementary in New Port Richey is just one of the Pasco schools where some teachers are trained in meditation. 

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It’s part of the Harmony Project, helping students who have been exposed to traumatic events.

But it’s also giving kids a way to deal with every day anxieties they face at home and in school.

“When they come in with all different emotions, learn how to get to that state where they are calm and relaxed so they are actually learning, and doing the things they need to do,” said Sroka.

Isael Gonzalez was skeptical at first.

“It was a little weird,” he said.

But now he says it’s helping him relax and even boosting his grades.

“It helps you focus so no people get to flip out and do other things that get you in trouble,” he said.

There is music, deep breathing techniques, and tapping exercises to refocus emotions.

“It helps us not have a lot of anxiety,” said student Makiyah Terry.

One of the biggest areas of stress for these kids is testing. 

The FSA is coming up, but meditation helps with that too.

“Instead of saying I’m just going to guess, take that minute. Use your strategies. Use your tapping, use your breathing to get you back to that green state where you need to be in order to think clearly,” Sroka says to his class.

After about 30 minutes, it’s back to work. Mr. C says he notices the difference in focus and behavior. Sometimes a little quiet goes a long way.

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