“Being someone who is already pursuing my own spiritual journey with my guru, I have always been curious about how to bring these learnings to young children. It is difficult to bring such complex concepts in a simple way that children can understand” says Shailaja Tandon, principal at TMS school, Amritsar. The School of Joy program does exactly that through beautifully illustrated stories and creating space for reflection, introspection and discussions through daily practices.
Even before the pandemic, much of what was considered normal in society was deeply problematic. Modern life is actually very stressful. We have moved away from nature, gotten into a race of acquiring more possessions and lost our connection with our own authentic selves. The pandemic has simply highlighted the issues that already exist due to modern life. The program came in at just the right time when it was most needed. Through the program, the children and teachers had a chance to explore their core strengths and develop environmental consciousness.
The pandemic triggered a lot of questions within children and adults alike. Questions of self doubt that arise in many as we experience life – “Why am I angry? Why am I the way I am?” The answers to these questions were explained wonderfully through the program. The School of Joy program used an inquiry based learning pedagogical approach creating spaces for children to reflect on the question and find the answers within themselves. In ancient times, the old way of learning in gurukuls was about asking students questions and setting forth on a journey to find the answers. In a similar fashion, after each story the teachers take the children through a journey of self reflection through the daily practices and projects.
The stories themselves are well researched and very relevant to the children’s daily life. Tandon spoke about one of the stories in the book – Rohit saves the day. “The friendship between Rohit, the son of a bhel puri vendor with children from a higher economic status was reminiscent of the beautiful friendship mentioned in mythology about the friendship between Lord Krishna and his dear friend Sudama”. The story created a space for children to reflect on their own interactions with people of varied socio-economic status. The answers from children were authentic and refreshing. It triggered an honest discussion about what stops us from mingling with people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. As the children explore various perspectives through the stories, there is a subtle shift seen in their own behavior.
Students and teachers have taken a step towards self transformation through the School of Joy journey. A shift in the child’s behavior can be seen as they use tools picked up from the daily practices in the book to manage their anger or regulate emotions. TMS schools have always had meditation and self awareness as an integral part of their ethos. Even before the Little Light program, the school played meditation audios for 5 mins at the start and end of school. With the Little Light program being implemented in primary classes, there is significantly more seriousness and commitment to meditation as compared to the middle classes where the program has not yet been implemented. The program began a journey of self discovery for children.
“It is my sincere hope that the Little Light program continues to be implemented in middle and high school too. A school’s job is not just to impart academics or finish curriculum. The School of Joy program must be a very important component of every school curriculum. The children actually need this. Without it, we are sending children out of school who can crack exams and score high marks but are not prepared to handle judgment or the harsh realities of the world.” adds Tandon. “I am excited about bringing the school of Joy program to the older students of the school soon.”
Children have now started looking forward to the sessions; and have become more mindful while listening to the stories.Rohini Majithia, TSMS, Faridabad
Parents are all very thankful that such a programme has been introduced at such an early stage of their child’s life.Anuradha Gupta, TSMS, Gurgaon
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With our programs launched in 2021, we have reached out to
Sonali Gupta | Principal, The Shriram Millennium School, Faridabad
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