The Healing Habitat
If it’s so evident that as adults we look back at how we felt in school as compared to how we fared in school. Then shouldn’t schools value emotions in the same way they value math and reading? It is this intriguing question that led us at Seth M.R Jaipuria School to put on our thinking caps and create the Healing Habitat:
The Garden of Kindness
“If you can be anything, be kind”. Every time any child or any adult goes out of the way to help the other person in need, then the child/adult gets to plant a sapling in the garden of kindness.
The Tree of Self-Forgiveness
We believe that forgiving yourself is the first step to accepting yourself. The tree of self-forgiveness asks you to write what you forgive yourself for. This space of acknowledging imperfections boosts the person’s self-confidence
The Let It Go Pond
Sometimes as adults we teach children that certain emotions are ‘bad’ and they should be repressed. But the truth is each emotion has in it itself the power to change oneself and thus we ask children to identify one thing they would like to let go off. They then pick up a marble, write on it and drop it in the pond and see it disappear. This symbolic way helps children realize that the power to improve oneself lies within.
The Gratitude Tree
The tree of gratitude is a gentle reminder to all of us that no matter how busy our lives may be there is always something we can be thankful for. The students and teachers at the end of the day write what they were most grateful for and drop it in the gratitude bank.
The Tree of Silence
The tree of silence provides shade for introspection and meditation. It is especially useful during conflict resolution where we encourage children to reflect upon their actions by observing a moment of silence.
At Seth M.R.Jaipuria School, we truly believe in the ripple effect that compassion creates. For junior grades we conclude each day with a ritual of self-hugs- no matter what our faults maybe we still have a spark of Divine within each of us and that makes us kind and gentle beings. Students of higher grades (grades 5 -12) are engaged in writing letters of self-compassion. This internal dialogue and soft-vocalisation has helped our students to be more confident and less anxious about their shortcomings.
Moment of Silence
At Jaipuria, we start and end our lessons by observing a minute of silence. We believe this is the first step to nurture young minds that are mindful of their thoughts and actions. For younger children silence is guided and introduced in short bursts during the day. Students of higher grades report better recall of facts and a longer attention span, when they start with a moment of silence.
Lunch with Me
Teacher-student rapport is a cornerstone of effective classroom management at the Jaipuria School.Lunch with Me is an effortless way to build genuine behaviour influencing rapport by providing opportunities on different days of the week for a student and teacher to share to a meal together.Eating lunch together helps teachers see students beyond grades and assignments and form a human connect by engaging in heartfelt conversations that express unconditional positive regard for who they truly are.It also helps to connect the less connected – the shy introvert students who in the realm of social-awkwardness may not be able to express themselves in a crowd get a chance to make everlasting bonds with their teachers.
The mere act of showing up for lunch without an agenda is powerful proof that in our classroom – everyday is a new day- that isn’t just lip service but central to who we are as teachers. Students and teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 12 are engaged in this Lunch with Me activity.
The intent is to help students appreciate and find beauty in their so called mundane ordinary surroundings. Such an activity also helps students differentiate between Joy and Awe. Researchers define awe as a response to things we perceive as vast and that transcend the way we understand the world. Research suggests that experiencing awe not only enhances happiness and physical health but also reduces feelings of entitlement and increases generosity.
The concept and research of Awe was introduced to the staff first through a workshop followed by the Awe walk.Teachers followed it by introducing the concept of Awe to their students followed by a discussion about what according to them was Awe.
Students are given A4 sheets of paper and colour pencils and asked to take an awe walk around campus in complete silence. The given time is 30 minutes to quietly explore the campus and find something that struck them with a sense of awe. Then to journal it down in the form of words or drawing.Students then share their drawings and experiences with others during circle time.
Our school diary has a section every day to list three things that each student is most grateful for each day. We believe that by remembering and listing three positive things that have happened in our day–and considering what caused them—we tune into the sources of goodness in your life. It’s a habit that can change the emotional tone of our life, replacing feelings of disappointment or entitlement with those of gratitude. Students from Grades 2 to 5 partake in this initiative. Each class maintains a piggy bank (the ones made out of clay). The front of the class has preset chits with the following sentence printed: I am grateful for…
The teacher introduces the concept of gratitude and how everyday there are moments and things that we can all be grateful for and when such a moment occurs students should write it down on the chits kept in the front of the class and mention what they are grateful for at that moment. Students may or may not write their names on the slips – it’s entirely their choice. At the end of the month during circle time everyone together breaks open the clay piggy bank and read all the blessings of the month that the class has been grateful for.
When we are able to notice the contributions of one person in our lives we start noticing the contributions of everyone in our daily lives leading us to be more grateful beings.
Ladder of Feedback
Conflicts are a reality and conflict resolution is often spoken about, but we at Jaipuriawork towards equipping students with tools to resolve conflicts. The Ladder of Feedback is one such. Students in junior school are taught how to use this valuable tool to give constructive feedback. Students are encouraged to follow the communicative sequence – Clarify, Value, Concerns & Suggestions while articulating feedback. This exposure has helped students communicate with greater clarity and thus feel empowered with a skill for life.