How to make meditation fun?
How to add essential content to a life, without the rigid connotation of classical classroom teaching?
How to treat children's emotional education in a serious, yet playful and lucid manner?
How to teach children to develop compassion that can be brought to life?
How to effectively collaborate with the change of world that we want, helping in the development of better human beings, collaborating in the formation of subjects that can transform whole societies?
How to help children grow and live with less suffering?
These were some of the initial questions that arose when the GROWING ZEN Project was born a few years ago and came to fruition after a trip to Japan in 2016 where, during a visit to some Temples and Schools, i realized that meditation has been used in a routine and routine way in the life of Japanese children, from an early age, having a series of extremely beneficial effects not only in their lives and relationships, but also maintaining and changing mentally healthy behavioral patterns that impact on a whole society.
On my return from this trip i started the Project Pilot, which was applied in the years 2016 and 2017 at the Montessori Educare School, with children between 02 and 06 years of age, and had surprising results not only for me as an observer and a Project Applicant Pilot, but mainly for children, school and parents. The results went far beyond what we imagined.
The children were extremely interested, curious, intrigued to what was proposed and sensitive to the contents that at various times were intrinsic to the students inner personality and world, as if they only needed to be "remembered" of the emotional abilities that are inherent in all us, enabling a return to the home in peace and quiet, in a fun way.
The Project is in line with scientific research that already recognizes, today and increasingly, the practice of meditation as an essential tool in education and in the development of skills not only school but also emotional and social.
The playful meditation proposed by GROWING ZEN has basic steps in its activities that do not take away from children their priorities as human beings in training, who are firstly playing and having fun; secondly meditate; and thirdly the sharing of the teachings not only with the classmates during the lessons but also with their families, subtly impacting on the relationships and a long-term social movement, causing the children, in a light way, to put themselves in the position of protagonists of changes of personal mental perspectives and for a better world.
Children are taught and encouraged to deal with universal themes through simple activities with complex impacts, broadening their worldview with compassion and wisdom, and looking at how they can objectively apply what they learn in their daily and everyday lives.
In the model proposed by GROWING ZEN through previous practical experiences, with lucid and ludic meditation we can have a sustained practice of emotion regulation, where primordial aspects such as mindfulness, emotional comprehension, body awareness, self regulation capacity, collective consciousness , tolerance, lovemaking, motor coordination and perhaps the most important aspect for a happy life: awareness and skills in interpersonal relationships in order to suffer less and cause less suffering.
While schools work extensively in building the formal academic skills that children will need for the job market in the future, GROWING ZEN adds to what is already addressed by the school, other forms of collaboration in human development through meditation, helping children to develop emotional stability for life, social tolerance and engagement in a comprehensive context.
Meditation has proved to be a powerful tool for developing in children skills that promote inner peace, genuine happiness, and mechanisms for transferring that peace to the world around them.
While the meditation techniques originate in the Eastern religions, the GROWING ZEN Project is a secular project, without religious character, that only emphasizes and uses millenarian techniques of meditation already widely tested, through elements existing in the context of interconnection, now taught ludically, so as to access children's minds, minds of beginners.
Slowly and slowly you can see the signs that the meditative moment is making sense and difference for the children. Meditation requires effort, assiduity and time, it is important that parents are engaged in the Project so that children feel encouraged to attend classes.
It is indeed a great joy to begin together this wonderful experience of teaching meditation to children. I believe, with a sincere heart, that well-oriented minds at their base can effectively change other minds and so we can change the world, step by step.
May all children find happiness and the causes of happiness!