Collaboration with Happiness Schools

Parents International has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Happiness Studies Academy headed by the world-famous Tal Ben-Shahar to support their Happier School Programme by offering training and coaching for parental engagement. The programme is built on the fact that children learn best when they are happy, but we have agreed that their is a need to convince parents about this before implementing their programme.

According to the Happier Schools Programme, for students to thrive and flourish in the fast-changing, ever-challenging, world, they need to learn more than reading, writing and arithmetic, more than science, art and the humanities. It is no less important that they learn to find a sense of purpose, take care of their physical wellbeing, learn to grow from failure and hardship, nurture healthy relationships, as well as deal with painful emotions and cultivate pleasurable ones. These skills and abilities will contribute to students’ overall psychological wellbeing—both making them happier, as well as playing a preventative role, making the present and future onset of mental health issues less likely. Additionally, students will perform better academically and, later, professionally.

Designing and preparing the implementation of such an innovative programme is hard work in the school. So, why bother engaging with parents while this is a classroom programme? Why is it not enough to send them a notice before you start or even just invite them to see results after a few weeks or months? We are using the well-known initiative that totally failed first because they thought parents do not matter: the healthy school meals programme by Jamie Oliver, the world-famous chef in the United Kingdom to give an answer to this.

The module developed is aiming at offering methods and strategies for schools that had made a decision to implement the Happier School Programme. Teacher are given guidance on every step of the programme implementation process in a number of training modules. Our training module is inviting teachers to think along and find the best way to have the parents on board. When designing this module we assumed that you are implementing the Happiness School Programme mostly for children who have been attending your school, and you are introducing something new. We are challenging teachers to considere what the parents will think about the programme and what to do if their parenting practices are hindering their work in the field. The activities in this module will help them to ensure the success of their work as a Happier School teacher by the support of parents. The module is designed bearing in ming that all school communities are different, so teachers are encouraged have to find their own solutions while all individual solutions are shared to inspire others.


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