What a better way to end July than with a HundrED GLocal Event! The past 31st of July at the Mahatma Gandhi High School in Ahmedabad (India), three global innovators and three local initiatives had the chance to share their practices on “Integrating Holistic Wellbeing in Education”. The event was hosted by the 2019 HundrED Innovator and Ambassador Vishal Sharma, from SMILES in Life foundation along with Carolina Pérez, HundrED Youth Ambassador from Spain.
Wellbeing is the experience of health, happiness and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction and a sense of meaning or purpose. More generally, wellbeing is just feeling well and comfortable. When we talk about holistic wellbeing, then we mean that all physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual needs are taken care of.
Some key learnings and messages that emerged from various speakers during the event were:
Start from Top: Holistic wellbeing is meant for everyone, teachers, students, administrators alike. In fact we need to start with school leaders & educators first, as they will need to role model wellbeing for their students. That's why many innovations presented like Kshamtalaya, Challenge 59 & SMILES in Education emphasized on teacher training and coaching.
It must be simple. Even if the idea behind is deep, transmitting it must be easy and able to create significance for the kids and the teachers. All ideas presented in the event were simple and easy.
Integrate it: Holistic wellbeing should not be added as a separate subject of the curriculum, but rather consist on integrated practices that go through the whole school day. Examples of integration were presented from the innovations like Talking Tree Hill, SMILES in Education and Kshamtalaya.
Self-expression and availability for free learning spaces is a core component for wellbeing (Talking Tree Hill, aProCH, Challenge 59 and Carolina’s experience at the monastery).
Community Centric: Our wellbeing solutions should extend beyond schools & should include healthy interactions; with the community (peers, teachers, families, friends…), the environment and the world in general (Kshamtalaya, Challenge59, aProCH project for child-friendly cities).
The event was an opportunity for both local teachers and people that came specifically for the event, to not only share their wellbeing practices but also experience them. The event organizers ensured everyone got a chance to digest and synthesize learning after each presentation by keeping one minute of silent mindful pause between presentations. People greatly appreciated these mindfulness pauses to recollect silently. The participants were able to share a lot of what they saw/heard during the second half when they were asked to discuss key learnings that touched their hearts.
Overall, this event provided a much-needed breather from daily busy lives to pause, learn, experience and reflect on various holistic wellbeing practices in education systems from across the world.
The three Global HundrED Collection presenters were:
Kirsten Simmons, founder of Talking Tree Hill called in from Auckland, New Zealand as the first Global speaker. She explained the concept of making children outdoor awesomepreneurs where they learn to explore, connect and love nature first before learning how to protect her. Check out: https://kirstensimmons.co.nz
- Jo Rhodes, founder Challenge 59 had joined in from London, UK. Her organization is empowering students to explore and tackle health & wellbeing issues through the use of dance and film in the classroom and create 59 second films on these themes. More at: www.challenge59.com
Vishal Sharma, founder of SMILES in Education and also the host of the event in Ahmedabad talked about quick and easy techniques for Integrating mindfulness and positive psychology with pedagogy. These can easily transform classroom into a recharging station for intrinsic motivation and holistic well-being for joyful learning. More at: www.SMILESinLife.org
The three Local presenters were:
Vivek Kumar, founder of Kshamtalaya Foundation, had come from Udaipur, India to share how his organization is bringing Learning and Emotion together for an immersive and holistic experience. It provides an integrated in-class experience to support children and teachers to build Attention, Resilience, Curiosity, Awareness, Empathy & Compassion. More on www.kshamtalaya.org
Kirti Zala joined us from Riverside School, Ahmedabad, India, She is the project head of aProCH, an initiative to make our cities and communities child friendly. She explained her wonderful children driven projects like Street Smart, Parents of the Park, City as my Landscape etc. Read more on: aProCH.org
Carolina Perez, co-host & Youth Ambassador from Madrid, Spain had been visiting India and shared her experiments and learning on Holistic well-being practices coming alive utilizing her Creativity and Empathy in the Himalayas (Zangla Monastery) for over a month.
We further had video showcases from:
Vivek Vashist, founder, Imbue Education from Noida, India explained how his organization is working to make children ideate around real-life problems and create solutions using science while reflecting on the values learned in the process. More on: www.imbueeducation.com
Isabella Lambauer, co-founder Real U Inc., Virginia, USA, participated via her pre-recorded video where she described how Real U academy is providing an innovative way to give Resilience Training through peer-to-peer videos where children are tapping into the inner-workings. This enables children to unlock their academic potential and foster lifelong well-being. More at https://realuacademy.com
We thank each & every presenter and participant who attended in person on via video conferencing from abroad to make this event a great success and beginning of collaborative sharing on Holistic wellbeing.