For Ramanjit Nagi, principal, The Shriram Millennium School (TSMS) Noida, the values of sensitivity and resilience are extremely important. These are some of the tenets that are followed rigorously across her school. And when she came across the Little Programme by the School of Joy, which drew upon positive psychology, spirituality and philosophy, Nagi felt an instant connection. “The programme resonated with the values of the school. It had a unique manner of inspiring the teachers and students to feel good about themselves, thereby bringing a positive change within them,” she says. When she went through the books and lesson plans, which were accompanied by engaging stories and yoga asanas, Nagi felt that the lessons contained within the programme would inspire the children.
The school embarked on this programme during the first phase of the pandemic. The timing became crucial as children were going through a rough time, coping with illness in the family, adjusting to a virtual way of learning, and physically distancing themselves from their friends. At such a time, this programme came through like a manna, helping children and adults feel good about themselves and content with the current circumstances. “In a very worldly way of living, there is no end to what you want to acquire or achieve. But once you are at peace, the path ahead becomes clear,” elaborates Nagi. With the programme, even six-year-olds have been able to introspect and develop their self awareness.
The benefits of developing self reflection and self awareness for students are many. According to an article by the Berkeley Wellbeing Institute, an introspective person is someone who regularly looks inward to try to understand their mind, thoughts, feelings, and inner workings. “They might engage in meditation or other contemplative practices. Or, they might just pause to self-reflect when something is bothering them, when they handled a situation poorly, or when they are just curious to learn more about themselves. “What was really going on?” they might ask themselves,” states the article, “We probably all do this to varying degrees. Deeper or more frequent introspection can help us gain clarity that helps us move forward and live our lives more effectively.”
Nagi has already seen the process of introspection help the children in her school. They are able to handle adversities in a better manner. The discussions after each lesson, given in the Little Light programme, often elicits beautiful answers about looking at the positives in life. “They are also able to handle the negative in a more positive manner. This learning is important not just during the pandemic but otherwise as well,” she says.
The programme has led to a personal transformation within the teachers as well. Practising self discovery for kids helps build awareness. It has also taught them to accept situations gracefully and how to move on from there. Once they know they are on the right path, the teachers are empowered with confidence in their ability to sort things out.“They know that they will sail through, come what may,” explains Nagi. The focus is on authenticity and being real. An article on the Elmhurst University website about powerful teaching strategies for connecting with students highlights the importance of this aspect. ““Being real” means sharing vulnerabilities and the challenges of learning and teaching. Teachers must show they are always learning, which means making mistakes, asking for help, and having to back up or even start over,” it states. And the teachers at TSMS Noida are doing exactly that.
The school has received heartening feedback from the parents as well. Since the programme started during the pandemic, when the entire learning was online, families got involved in the process as well. The parents understood how the programme led to positive transformation. They could see children in the peer group appreciating one another. “So, the parents decided to do this process of acknowledgement for the teachers. To see the teachers, parents and children experience the programme has been a beautiful experience,” says Nagi.
Within the classroom, the programme has resulted in mindful teaching. Empathy now flows naturally between the Little Light coaches and the teachers, which then results in a far more empathetic engagement with the students. “The way of living and working has gotten streamlined,” 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
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Sonali Gupta | Principal, The Shriram Millennium School, Faridabad
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