This is part eight of the nine-part series from the Project Happiness curriculum. We are looking at important factors that influence the happiness and social and emotional learning of elementary school age children, helping students learn life skills, manage emotions, and increase empathy. Each blog features one letter of the acronym HAPPINESS:
H = Happiness
A = Appreciation
P = Passions and Strengths
P = Perspective
I = Inner Meanie/Inner Friend
N = Ninja Mastery
E = Empathy
S = So Similar
S = Share Your Gifts
In this post, we will explore recognizing what we have in common.
The video series A Year at Mission Hill has continued to encourage discussion, gather support, and inspire offshoots of wonderful new content, like "Line One, Page One," a compelling and poetic video produced by UK Filmmakers Veez Nixon and Christian Britten for Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, as part of a video series to complement Mission Hill. And if you haven't seen it yet, it's also worth a visit to the excellent Prezi on Mission Hill, which continues to expand as more chapters are released.
The community of implementers of SEL and related programs is growing. And the capacity of individuals to leave their workplaces to congregate for extensive training and sharing opportunities seems to be diminishing. These and other realities are creating an imperative to use the Internet as a vehicle for providing support for instruction and other aspects of implementation necessary to sustain and reinforce instruction.
This is part seven of the nine-part series from the Project Happiness curriculum. We are looking at important factors that influence the happiness and social and emotional learning of elementary school age children, helping students learn life skills, manage emotions, and increase empathy. Each blog post features one letter of the acronym HAPPINESS:
Everyone carrying out some kind of social, emotional learning (SEL) or related program encounters a common set of problems while trying to adapt even proven program materials to their unique and often fast-changing reality. And all program developers realize that their ability to support those using their programs is ultimately at least as essential as their actual materials.
As we look at ways to create environments that allow teaching and learning to thrive, it's time to take a long, hard look at the critical role of recess in our schools. Recess has the potential to transform schools, and groups are finally speaking out about the powerful role it has in the school day, including the American Academy of Pediatrics which, earlier this year, released a policy statement to this effect.
With all of the high-stakes testing in our schools, and the resulting judgments and consequences for students and teachers, it is no wonder that schools are taking time away from activities like recess, breaks, art, music... to spend more time on academics. Yet I believe, based on what I have seen in schools, that we should move in the opposite direction, and take time out of academics in the early elementary years to focus on making students feel safe, secure, and confident in the classroom, in other words making them ripe for learning.
Anthropologist and humanist Ashley Montagu stated: "Love is profound involvement in the well-being of others." Several weeks ago, I experienced this kind of love in West Humboldt Park, an impoverished, gang-and-violence-infested inner city Chicago neighborhood.