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Happiness Curriculum

location_on Delhi, India

Happiness Curriculum is a path-breaking educational program to enhance mental wellbeing of children in Delhi Government Schools.

The daily Happiness Class facilitated by teachers of Delhi Govt schools incorporates mindfulness, social-emotional learning, critical thinking, problem-solving, and relationship building. It inspires a greater emotional awareness among students with an objective to equip them with the necessary skills and mindsets to enhance their own wellbeing and that of others.

Overview

HundrED has not validated this innovation.

All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED.

Web presence

2018

Established

800K

Children/users

1

Countries
Organisation
Not-for-profit
Target group
All
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
I hope that with this effort, we will be able to make the education system an enabler for the all-round development of humankind.

About the innovation

What is the Happiness curriculum?

This is a critical time for education systems worldwide when we need to deeply question the nature of education being imparted in our education systems. We have made significant progress in improving the material well-being of humankind through the industrial model of education but perhaps at a calamitous cost to an individual’s capacity to think critically about the true nature of progress and happiness. Furthermore, the environment in which children grow up today is highly unpredictable, with constantly changing social and economic dynamics posing a significant challenge for society and families on how children should be nurtured because students today face stressors at a scale that has not been experienced before. This creates an urgent need to implement a curriculum which not only promotes development in literacy and numeracy but also addresses the well-being and happiness of students with a strong emphasis on the co-scholastic skills of mindfulness, self-awareness, critical thinking, reflection & inner stability. This is the basis of the Happiness Curriculum conceived and implemented in Delhi.

The curriculum is based on a model for happiness, in which four dimensions of human living are expressed as an integrated form of the material, behavioural, intellectual and experiential aspects. These correspond to our senses, feelings, learning (understanding) & awareness. Put together, these form a ‘happiness triad’. In other words, human beings seek fulfilment from all these aspects of living which can be thus stated-

  • Happiness derived through our senses,
  • Happiness gained from the feelings we express in our relationships with self, friends, family and environment
  • Happiness brought about by learning and awareness (change in behaviour according to constructive understanding)

A person who derives happiness from learning and awareness and is able to sustain his/her happiness is balanced in the face of difficult situations and is able to retain a sense of calm and peace. This individual will also be empathetic, compassionate and will be able to find meaning and purpose in life. 

Learners today are exposed to a high level of sensory happiness in its different varieties and forms which has become the primary goal to attain in life. We hence see a thrust for higher incomes, which education seeks to fulfil with intense levels of skill building. However, the crucial aspects of harmony, feelings in relationships and understanding & awareness are largely ignored in current education. The focus is thus partial (only material), leaving the aspects of feelings/relationships and learning/awareness unaddressed. As a result, the resulting happiness too tends to be partial and short-lived. Thus, even a highly skilled and competent individual can remain unhappy and dissatisfied despite excellent academic qualifications, due to conflicting emotions within and lack of clarity of lasting happiness.

The Happiness Curriculum seeks to bridge the above-mentioned gap. It is an endeavour to guide the attention of students towards exploring, experiencing and expressing happiness in not just the momentary but deeper and sustainable forms as well. This will enable the learner to comprehend happiness within self, relationships, society and nature.

The curriculum looks to create a stimulating environment for learners from Nursery to Grade 8 through a variety of methodologies to explore, experience and express happiness. Methodologies such as guided practices for mindfulness, storytelling with open-ended discussions, reflective conversations and activities designed for rapport building will be used to achieve this goal. 

Perhaps the most laudable aspect of the curriculum is its ambitious aspiration to rise above mere tokenism and aim to help every child in all the government schools of Delhi. The curriculum is being transacted every day (according to a structured timetable, with a teacher’s handbook to guide the lessons) across all schools touching all students from Nursery to 8th Grade.

The Happiness Curriculum is a landmark first step in expanding the scope of a public school education system to move beyond mere utilitarian objectives and enable the holistic development of each child by including it in the mainstream academic structure. I truly believe that it has the potential to provide a solution to some of the very serious afflictions in modern society, namely corruption, terrorism and environmental degradation. It is my fervent hope that this curriculum will lead the way to a systematic inquiry into the science of emotions and happiness with the same rigour we have shown in other fields of study that have advanced the material standards of human life.

Implementation steps

Get Familiar with Happiness Content

Familiarise yourself with the content of the Happiness Class in the form of the Happiness Curriculum Framework and graded Handbooks for Teachers. 

Moreover, practice a mindfulness activity or reflect on a story for yourself. Personal experience always does wonders!

You can access the content https://happinessdelhi.in/#books

Contextualize the Content

Contextualize the content according to the needs of the learners. Happiness Classes take authentic reflection very seriously. Therefore it is important that the lesson is as close to the everyday environment of learners as possible. 

Pay close attention to the reflection questions included after each story and activity and you can tweak those according to what works best for you and your tribe. The Mindfulness lessons are developed by certified mental health professionals and mindfulness experts. Care has been taken to not include any kind of chanting or religious/symbolic visualization. Mindfulness is a secular practise of paying attention to the present moment as is. The activities in the curriculum have been carefully designed to facilitate these attention and insight among learners.  

Create a Safe Space

Create a safe space for learners to reflect and share their thoughts and feelings. Provide a non-judgemental zone for learners, do not declare their reflections as right or wrong and do not preach. Remember this is not a moral values lesson, but a space for students to explore their own emotions. 

Facilitators should have an understanding and practice of empathy, invoking reflection and eliciting authentic sharing before taking the Happiness Class. 

Facilitate a Happiness Class

Facilitate a Happiness Class and then facilitate some more!

This journey requires consistent feedback and iteration. Organise a daily or weekly class and tell us about your experience!

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