Teachers Training at Zonnelicht, Holland

Sustainability Consciousness

February 23-25, 2023

By Yolande Koning

This year, the Neohumanist School in ‘s-Hertogenbosch organized a three-day teacher training programme on the subject of Sustainability. The programme was divided into 3 groups for junior teachers, senior teachers and foreign guests from Portugal, Italy, Romania, Denmark and Germany. Because of the new location in the Montessori School, 3 locations could be used.

Junior Teacher Group: From Inner Balance to Ecological Pedagogy

The topic for the juniors, ‘From inner balance to ecological pedagogy’, and the overall goal was for teachers to develop inner awareness, to realize their exemplary role, and to experience interconnectedness. Using moral values and storytelling as a tool, small groups were given the assignment of developing a collective presentation.

Day 1

The day started with a yoga class. The morning programme was given by Daan van Deursen who presented a workshop on the qualities and specialties of the individual teachers and their taking full responsibility for those qualities, moving towards determination and leadership.

The next session was presented by Ole Brekke form Denmark who focused on inner balance through experiencing the connection between mind and body.

The afternoon programme was devoted to the relevance of Yama and Niyama in relation to the collective welfare of human beings, animals, and plants + environment.

Day 2

The second day there was a drama workshop with sound, music, and movement, and a play about the Circle of Creation, which gave the new teachers a much better understanding of the interconnectedness there is in the world. It developed their freedom to do movement activities with children, expressing aspects of the Brahmachakra (Circle of Creation) using music and sound. After that, awareness of the interconnectedness was experienced through a beautiful workshop, ‘The web of life’ that Didi Ananda Devapriya gave on becoming aware of the delicate balance in biodiversity.

The afternoon programme offered a storytelling workshop in relation to Brahmachakra using the creative expression from the morning session and practicing the use of music and sound while telling stories.

Day 3

The programme of the third day was an assignment to present a plan on how to implement sustainability consciousness in their own age group through designing a play.

The presentation was to express their innovative ideas on how to promote ecological awareness in children to prepare them for a sustainable future.

It was a very impressive and educative training which made the teachers aware of their inner strength and how to use it as a gift wherever it is needed, to promote sustainable thinking and actions, and to express it in their behaviour.

Senior Teachers Group: From Spirituality to Sustainability

Day 1

The senior teachers built on a previous session about responsibility for developing their own qualities. The workshop was about getting clarity regarding the thoughts that teachers have that are holding them back in these areas:

  • what have I mastered
  • what am I learning and want to learn (aspiration)
  • how can I stretch myself beyond limits, excuses, and resistances (support I need)

After that there was a performance of their qualities, specialties and motivation using drama.

Day 2

Coming forward with leadership qualities. Translating inspiration to bring ecological awareness into daily routine.

Brainstorming Session Topics:

  • How to influence sustainable behaviour in different age groups, and how to develop a learning trajectory for creating an awareness about sustainability.
  • Developing the ideas from the morning session into concrete activities and projects.
  • Ending the day with songs about sustainability with Didi and Feya.

Day 3

The first session was to discover and explain the structural impact of ecological pedagogy in relation to sustainability and self-regulation.

The second session was to present new projects in the collective group of all teachers and trainers.

The programme ended with an evaluation session over the three days total.

Foreign Guests Group:
To observe, to learn and to experience Neohumanist Education

Day 1

The foreign teachers received a tour of the school and were introduced to how Neohumanist Education is applied in practice working with children 0-2, 2-4, 4-8 and 8-12 years old, followed by an open space time to ask questions and receive explanation.

The pedagogical coach Ellen van Tuijl gave a presentation on how the Rainbow programme is presented within Zonnelicht including the translation of Yama + Niyama in the guidance plan.

Day 2

The second day Ole Brekke and John Dakpo presented Brahmachakra using drama, music and sound. That was followed by storytelling by John and Didi, using their skills with a beautiful African dance workshop.

Day 3

On the third day Christian Franceschini gave a class on the pedagogical vision of NHE in the morning session.

In the second part the Master Unit in Argentina was presented as an example of sustainable living using natural resources for running water, electricity, theheating system and bioconstruction.

These examples and possibilities are very important to convey to children for a future where creativity and love for nature will go hand in hand to maintain a harmonious balance on planet earth.

This Teacher Training Programme was a big inspiration for those who are at different levels of development in their projects, and the mutual support they felt can be a big help in overcoming the struggle that will be there. All of the guests left with gratitude and full of inspiration! Next year there will be a new opportunity to come together and build NHE in Europe. In the evaluation of the programme for the foreign guests they expressed that they were very impressed to see a complete project that reflects all the aspects of Humanist Education