Meditation garden aims to preserve and teach


Lectureer Mary WardLupinaxxi teaches her Children’s Studies 325 class April 25 n the EWU Meditation Garden | Photo courtesy of Mary Ward Lupinacci

By Sam Jackson, Reporter

Mary Ward Lupinacci, a Children’s Studies lecturer at EWU, came across the Reid Lab School Meditation Garden on campus and instantly knew that she would take advantage of the garden to enhance the learning of her students.

The garden was erected in 2010 as a tribute to the Reid Laboratory School that closed in 2009. It is located outside Martin Hall directly next to the one-room schoolhouse on campus. As the garden is intended to preserve the memory of the lab school, it gives space for students and faculty to reflect, study and even meditate, which is how Lupinacci is using it for the Mindfulness & Alternative Practices for Working with Children class.

“Knowing that I was going to teach that class on campus and knowing that there’s statues of kids there […] I just knew that I was going to absolutely love bringing students to the garden to practice our mediation and our mindfulness,” Lupinacci said.

This is Lupinacci’s first year teaching at EWU and during this spring quarter the class plans to use the garden every Wednesday at 10 a.m. If students outside of the class would like to join their weekly mediation session, Lupinacci would be open to that idea.

“It would be great for our students to practice what they’re learning and be able to lead a little bit of mindfulness with other students,” Lupinacci said.

A statue of Candy and Ben in EWU’s Robert Reid Campus Lab School Meditation Garden. This garden was dedicated Sept. 22, 2010 to remember over 100 years of service to children and prospective teachers | Dayana Morales for The Easterner

College can be a stressful time for students, and according to Lupinacci, there’s a lot of research showing that practicing mediation allows people to develop healthy habits. Lupinacci said that by encouraging students to practice relaxation and check in with their emotions, it will create a more healthy campus environment.

“I think meditation is a tool that anyone can use and it’s something you can practice your whole life,” said Lupinacci. “I think if we can encourage students to adopt a practice like this one, that really has all the healthy benefits […] then we’re setting them up for a lifetime of success.”

The class is a newly required course this year for Children’s Studies majors. It is designed to use mindfulness as a practice for teaching empathy and emotional regulation to children. The class will be offered again next fall quarter on campus, online during winter quarter and on campus the following spring quarter. The class is open to anyone, even outside of the Children’s Studies program.