Engaging Children in Societal Change: Senior Teacher Training in Holland

Engaging Children in Societal Change

by Ada Merz

The senior teachers had their three-day Love in Action training in a former old monastery, a picturesque monument dating back to the nineteenth century.

On the first morning, the film Soil, Soul and Society, presenting the social-spiritual activist Satish Kumar’s TED talk on planetary and self transformation, set the tone for the training. The teachers were then presented with seven different areas of societal living: politics, ecology, economy, culture, health, spirituality and education and asked to brainstorm on the kind of significant changes they wished to see happening or to bring about. After that they teamed up and chose a specific area that resonated with their inner core. They were asked to discover their personal calling by finding the meeting point between the story of the world and their individual qualities and talents.

The purpose of firing up their passion for change and aligning this to their gift was to bring their personal awakening into the classroom so as to arouse the consciousness of the children, to help and guide them with setting up activities, and to motivate them into becoming agents for change. Putting theory into practice, the teachers were invited to draw/paint and map out a plan. All this material was further used for setting up a quest.

The teachers thoroughly enjoyed this particular part of the training where they were encouraged to use elements of magical play, adventure, colorful attributes, self-made raps/jingles and different aspects of yama-niyama and the layers of the mind in bringing their message home. The monastery garden, filled with old trees, winding paths and niches, served as an excellent outdoor space for fueling their imagination in preparing and demonstrating an educational quest for children.