“The School of Joy programme has turned me into a lifelong student. I used to think I knew a lot about life, students’ mindsets, and more. However, the curriculum and pedagogy of this programme is making me think constantly,” smiles Vineeta Rajput, principal, The Millennium School (TMS), Patiala. Little Light’s School of Joy programme is having a similar effect on education leaders across the country. It keeps students at the heart of it.
In the past few decades, one has come across incidents of depression, mood-related disorders, anxiety, and more. Within society itself, there seems to be a void when it comes to happiness, leading to lowered productivity and compassion. To address this, the School of Joy draws upon learnings of positive psychology, spirituality and philosophy. Self Relection for kids is an important tool that supports them in connecting to their inner happiness. The focus is on ‘positivity’ and ‘positive emotions’. Being joyous is a way of being, and why should children not feel that sense of happiness!
The field of positive psychology for children is witnessing in-depth research these days. One such study, titled Effects of Positive Psychology Interventions on the Well-Being of Young Children, cited in many articles on PubMed Central in 2021, states: “positive psychology emphasizes the importance of creating constructive living environments (e.g., families or institutions) throughout the life cycle. The promotion of healthy environmental systems, particularly healthy school environments, is essential to promoting the well-being and mental health of children and young children.”
And School of Joy seeks to do exactly that. It combines teachings from the Bhagvada Geeta and Vedantas to achieve this. Using tenets of spiritual philosophies, it helps children acquire a sense of purpose and direction, experience joy even in the face of challenges, and dive into their own consciousness. The programme empowers children to develop into their own guiding spirits by just following the path of duty without worrying about the outcome.
Through a unique pedagogy, comprising books, meditation, guided walks and conversations, teachers and leaders such as Rajput are helping students move beyond self-doubt to trust their inner selves. Self reflection for students is an important tool to guide them on a journey of self transformation.. A flow of energy envelops not just the students but the teachers as well, infusing them all with resilience and joy.
For Rajput, the importance of the programme really shone through during the pandemic. It helped the children, teachers—and herself—cope with the difficult times. “I attended the entire course, and would get detailed questionnaires about a given situation and my probable reactions to them. It took me hours as I had to look deep within myself to answer. And that’s how the cycle of reflection began,” she says. She found the name of the programme itself so inviting—where happiness is key to empowerment and self-awakening.
At TMS Patiala, the School of Joy programme was introduced one-and-a-half years ago. It has already been implemented for Grade 5 students and some portions are being used for Grades 6-8. Rajput has found that teachers have become more accepting of difficult situations that arise in class, and in life. “They are now more aware of where a child’s emotions are coming from, and what should be their role in such a scenario. There is more empathy,” she elaborates.
When kids see the adults around them becoming more empathetic, they imbibe the same values too. Why is that so important at this stage of a child’s development? An article on Melbourne Child Psychology’s website mentions a psychology study of 900 11-13 year olds, which states that children with higher levels of empathy were more likely to engage in ‘assertive bystander behaviour’. “That is, they were more likely to stand up to a bully on behalf of someone outside of their friendship group.
This kind of courage can be life changing for a child who is feeling isolated at school or being bullied, but doesn’t have the courage to stand up for themselves,” it states.
Middle school brings with it a lot of self-awareness issues. There could be body shaming by peers, bullying of various kinds. However, Rajput and her team feels that due to the School of Joy programme, children have become more accepting of themselves and of their classmates. Self awareness for children is crucial to developing a strong sense of self identity and standing up to voices of criticism. “Bullying has come down for sure. Now children make each other understand the value of empathy, compassion and of being truthful. That is commendable at such a young age,” she says.
The programme has also added to the relationship that Rajput shares with her teachers. There is a greater trust between them. “We do counseling for teachers anyway at our school. But now, I am equipped with so much more insight and training to delve deep, to get to know them better. They have also opened up with me a lot more,” she adds.
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
With our programs launched in 2021, we have reached out to
Sonali Gupta | Principal, The Shriram Millennium School, Faridabad
We wish to take the Little Light offerings to as many students, educators and schools out there. If you’d like to help us bring joy to the lives of children, there are many ways to help!I want to support Little Light!
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