For Aarti Vig, a teacher at The Shriram Millennium School, Noida, the School of Joy programme has been full of learnings. Earlier, she was very quick to respond to people’s requests for suggestions or opinions. However, as she trained with the School of Joy coaches, she realised that each one of us is capable of finding our own solutions. “The idea is not to offer answers, but steer them towards asking the right and relevant questions so that they arrive at their own solutions. The path towards empowering others has been the biggest learning for me,” she says.
The last two years have been fraught with uncertainties. However, she has applied strategies from the School of Joy programme to cope with the circumstances, and has passed those on to the children as well. It has been a joy to see them celebrate themselves and realise their own worth. “The programme focuses on how special and important they are, and how they can celebrate themselves while keeping the value of empathy alive,” adds Vig. This programme has been a unique journey of Self-discovery for students.
At the heart of the School of Joy programme are values of love, joy, compassion, equanimity and gratitude. It helps a child embark on a journey of personal transformation by helping develop a healthy self and world-view. Led by counselors and educationists, the team has mapped how children’s cognitive and emotional abilities expand through the programme’s ‘Circles of Self’. From the self, they move to understanding their parents, friends and then the society, eventually discovering their connection with nature and the universe.
This is not done in a preachy manner but through engaging stories and projects. “Children listen to these with a lot of interest. The ensuing exercises have been drafted keeping in mind multiple intelligences, so that each child feels involved. Kids have really enjoyed some activities like the ‘kindness tree’, journaling and ‘thank-you notes’, and more,” elaborates Vig.
For her, as a facilitator, it has been a joy to witness this process of transformation. The programme offered a chance of self discovery for teachers and children. The meditation sessions have not only helped calm the children but herself as well. They have all learnt to enjoy the present moment. Slowing down, becoming a keen observer of nature and expressing gratitude have been some of the learnings for the class as a whole.
There was one particular story on food that elicited a lot of reactions from the children. While one student mentioned that one should feel grateful for the food rather than worrying about how it is packed, some others discussed mindful eating. “Some children also talked about the daily activity of ‘walking in silence’ and how that enabled them to listen to the chirping of birds, feel the soft grass under their feet, and more,” explains Vig. “We have all learnt to use our senses mindfully and feel grateful towards nature.”
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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