I am delighted to share our experience of Living Wisdom School (LWS).
As an educator in the field of early learning at Stanford University, I know that the future of our society depends on its ability to foster healthy development in the next generation.
Extensive research on the biology of stress, conducted at the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, shows that healthy development can be derailed by excessive or prolonged activation of the stress-response systems of a child’s body and brain.
Toxic stress can have damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health. Thus, learning to cope with adversity is an important part of any child’s healthy development.
The Harvard researchers found that when a young child’s stress-response systems are activated within an environment of supportive relationships with adults, these physiological effects are buffered and brought back down to baseline.
As parents, we understand that we cannot save our children from life’s stressors. Having acknowledged this, the pressing issue for our family became how to provide our daughter with an environment that would nurture her spirit, her mind, and her soul.
In 2011, my husband and I came across Living Wisdom School’s website, after reading Autobiography of a Yogi and doing some research on meditation and spiritual living. The seed was planted for our family’s association with LWS, which would become an inspiring adventure for our daughter and our entire family.
Why did we choose LWS?
LWS is a rare environment where the founders have created a holistic approach to academic education that includes mindfulness and positive thinking, and where the teachers guide the children daily in consciously choosing kindness, joy, and happiness, with an emphasis on universal human values that nurture their strengths and positively reinforce their innate love of learning.
Here are some of the features that were important to us as a family, and that led us to select LWS and Education for Life as the right choice for our daughter:
- Academics that provide our daughter with the skills she will need for her life’s work.
- Self-regulating skills such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga, and an emphasis on teaching kindness and joy as paths to understand and cope with this complex, changing world.
- Helping children develop a mindset of choosing happiness even in adverse circumstances, with a strong focus on emotional self-regulation.
- Confidence development through healthy competition in an environment of mutual support and discovery, to help our daughter understand that excellence is an important goal to strive for in all facets of her life, while experiencing satisfaction in the process.
- Mindfulness practice, which research has shown decreases stress and anxiety, increases attention, improves interpersonal relationships, and strengthens compassion.
- Constant personal attention from teachers who devote tremendous energy to understanding each child’s unique strengths and weaknesses.
- Teachers who are given the freedom and flexibility to adapt and refine the curriculum to challenge and support our daughter in achieving at her own, individual pace.
- A caring, nurturing community of children, parents, and teachers who are working toward the common good for the children, their families, and the world.
- A sense of “work” and “mission” that aims at serving humanity and creating caring, compassionate and accepting global citizens. The LWS teachers consistently model these values – they “walk their talk.”
- The annual Theater Magic program that engages the entire student body, and enhances academic learning in ways that we cannot begin to adequately describe.
Our daughter’s experience at LWS has been a blessing both for her and for our family. She is eager to go to school every day and loves her school environment. I cannot think of a better definition of school success.
Finally, it has given us joy to come to a deeper understanding of Education for Life over the years, because it has extended into our family and helped us consciously define our goal of authentic parenting.
Our daughter is progressing well in her academic environment, as she learns to manage her stress, choose happiness, and be a joy-filled child. What more could we ask?
Raju Parikh Bio:
Raju Parikh is the Director of Early Learning Programs at Stanford University.