CEI’s Heart-Centered 21st Century Learning project gives me hope that schools will have more support in fostering a whole-person approach. With CEI’s initiatives, children will prosper as they heal from within. Only with a nourished soul can a child be fully engaged in their own learning. Once their internal worries are addressed through effective social and emotional practices, then they will be capable of forging positive relationships with the world around them.
For example, through my employment at a nature day camp, I have seen the rewards that certain outdoor activities can have on a child’s wellbeing. My favorite lesson for teaching awareness involves sending the kids to sit in a quiet spot and draw a sound map of what they hear. This challenges them to be present and in tune with their surroundings, while simultaneously giving them an opportunity to listen to themselves.
Children gain little from just memorizing facts, but when they are also taught to care about their local environment, they exhibit emotional maturity and ownership over their integral roles in preserving natural parks for their community. It would be wonderful if schools incorporated nature into their efforts to improve mindfulness, compassion, and citizenship in their students.