The Zonnelicht school in Den Bosch Netherlands, directed by Jolanda Koning, held its annual teacher training, February 23-25 centering around the theme “Spiritual Guidance and its Communication.” Besides the teachers from from Zonnelicht, attendees included Tatjana Popov, director of Sunshine school in Switzerland and one of her teachers, as well as Didi Ananda Devapriya with Larisa, the director of the Romanian Fountain of Hope program, who was grateful for the sponsorship offered by Zonnelicht that made it possible for her to attend.
The program began with a keynote address by Dada Pranakrsnanada on the training’s main theme, discussing the increasingly important role of spirituality in the whole world as it becomes more commonly perceived and accepted as not necessarily identified with religion. He also encouraged teachers to learn to find this spiritual balance in order to be able to transmit it to the children. The lecture was followed by a lively series of cooperative trust games.
Other programs included a presentation on “Secrets of Yoga for Increasing your Vitality” by Didi Ananda Devapriya, reviewing the different natural forces found in different foods, as well as optimizing energy through the therapeutic use of sunlight, water, asanas and other yogic lifestyle practices. Didi Ananda Devapriya also gave an interactive workshop on “Circle Time Elements,” assisting participants in identifying the various key elements of a satisfying circle time experience according to the following structure: preparation, quiet time, and wisdom acquisition. Jolanda , Tatjana and Didi led group discussions on “Daily Spiritual Communication – practicing language in relation to children, parents and colleagues.” Tatjana’s session had a unique focus on how to recognize the manifestations of the 5 basic elements of ether, air, fire, water, and matter when relating to children and parents. There was also a session led Jolanda about aesthetic considerations in organizing classroom space.
The evening session on the first day was a welcome and refreshing creative break, in which participants selected a small model tree to draw or paint, and then the instructor helped to reveal the meaning of the artwork. There were also two evening yoga classes led by Didi Ananda Devapriya to help participates to recharge and refresh their energy.
Didi Ananda Bhadra gave a presentation on “Guiding Children in Neohumanist Education”, reflecting on both the verbal and nonverbal aspects of communication and guidance when educating children.
The program ended on a high note with the very special opportunity to participate in Sohail Inayatullah’s fascinating workshop on Causal Layered Analysis which described the profoundly influential role of the narratives that unconsciously filter our perception of life. He helped participants to discover metaphors that represent their own narratives, and demonstrated how shifting the metaphor can also shift the person’s experience of reality in a profound way. The teachers were quite energized by his presentation, and expressed hope that he will return to future trainings.
Overall, the teachers appreciated the wide variety of both theoretical and practical tools that they received during the training and the moments both of fun and of focus.