People can learn healthy patterns of responding to stress and unlearn faulty responses to challenging situations. The best opportunity for this learning starts during one’s school time. At Green Valley Academy, teachers participate in active learning with students to inculcate holistic learning ideals.
Often, our entire focus is on a student’s academic performance. We make immense efforts to ensure that our child gets high marks and eventually secures a bright future. Yet, we forget that our child would require more skills beyond the domain of academic performance in the real world. Are we teaching our children how to manage their stress? More importantly, do they even know a language to recognize their emotions?
The Wellness Campaign, Svadhaya started by the lead psychologist, Kavya Bhardwaj at Green Valley Academy, addresses this very need. Ms. Bhardwaj works on preventive strategies that focus on three skill sets. The first and foremost is on emotion regulation. The second skill set is mindfulness. The third skillset involves positive psychology, gratitude-based learning, tricks and tips that would help anyone create a positive narrative about their past, present and eventually pave a strong way towards a future that they are prepared to meet head-on, with resilience.
So many times, when something wrong happens, we focus on damage. Let’s take an example. If there is a loss of any kind, for instance, missing out on a scholarship, our minds think about how this loss affects us badly. And, if it is a big enough scholarship, like missing out on a scholarship that paid for the child’s entire education, we feel morose.
Yet, instead of spiraling downward, there is another way of spiraling, and this is where instead of falling down from failures, Green Valley Academy trains students to bounce back, stronger. Ms. Kavya Bhardwaj clarifies here, “I am not saying that we should disregard a child’s trauma. Absolutely not, we need to address their emotions. But, I am focusing on post-traumatic growth rather than post-traumatic distress”. The Wellness Campaign, Svadhaya is about that very growth.
Most recently, when the entire world was suffering from collective panic, uncertainty and anxiety about the Covid-19 pandemic, students at Green Valley Academy focused on Gratitude Based Learning. Ms. Bhardwaj, along with the teachers of the school, redesigned the curriculum to include principles of positive psychology and mindfulness in the syllabus. She believes the way a teacher asks a question can massively change its impact on a student’s mind. This is when students begin to see the difference between ‘knowing a concept’ and being ‘thankful to a concept and their knowledge of it.’
The impact of this simple shift is massive. The students and staff at Green Valley Academy are noticeably more excited about the syllabus. Interestingly, some teachers have reported that the retention power of their students has increased. A part of this campaign is the Kindness Matters Initiative started in partnership with UNESCO MGIEP’s #Kindnessmatters. Initially started with a 21-day Kindness Challenge, this initiative was so successful in the school that it would be running daily in the upcoming academic year as well. In this campaign, students note at least one kind of experience they initiative or actively participate in daily. As soon as this initiative started, images, videos and audios began pouring in. Students were seen doing yoga, watering plants, and participating in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations that they felt most strongly about.