News – Compassionate Schools Project - Page 5
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His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with individuals concerned with building compassionate cities, including Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, KY. “He was very encouraged about the Compassionate Schools Project,” Fischer told CSP faculty after the meeting.

The following is excerpted from the Office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s official website.

Mayor Fischer informed His Holiness that Louisville was implementing the teaching of these basic human values in their school system with their compassionate schools project. They had started with three schools where they were teaching young children social and emotional behavior centered around kindness, love and compassion, and mindfulness and meditation. These children came from difficult backgrounds and it was the first time in their life that they were able to slow their minds down and actually open their minds and begin learning for the first time.

After questioning whether they were bringing out any reports or carrying out any research on the effects, the Mayor Fischer informed His Holiness that they were working with the University of Virginia and were planning to test ten schools using this scientific approach and another 10 schools not using this approach to compare each other and see if there was a permanent difference.

His Holiness said,I have been having a dialogue with a number of scientists, educational professionals and others over the last ten years. Many of them agreed that the existing educational system was not adequate enough as it was focused on material values. So there was a need to add education on warm-heartedness. However, in the beginning stages this needed to be done on a small-scale level and once the positive results became clear, then it could be expanded to include more schools and places.”

Photo: His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with U.S. city mayors including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and others concerned with building compassionate cities. Photo Credit – Tenzin Taklha/OHHDL.

Read the full story, “His Holiness the Dalai Lama Discusses Secular Ethics with Mayors

“Medication or Meditation.” This is a choice many adults are making in favor of mindfulness practices, according to the WHAS11 news story. The piece begins with a focus on a Louisville, KY adult meditation class and then turns to ways the Slaughter elementary school is helping children cope with stress via the Compassionate Schools Project curriculum (at minute 2:50).

View the video, “The Power of Meditation.”

Mindful magazine is featuring mindfulness experts who are pushing the boundaries in the fields of education and child development. The publication interviewed Tish Jennings, calling her one of the leaders in bringing mindfulness and social and emotional learning into the classroom to benefit students and teachers. Jennings also announces a soon to be published paper showing that mindfulness plus emotions skills training supports teachers’ ability to handle classroom challenges and improves the quality of the classroom relationships.

Watch the interview, “The Publisher’s Roundtable on Mindfulness with Tish Jennings.”

Louisville Kentucky’s Mayor Greg Fischer was joined by area school children and project partners at a press conference to kick off the Compassionate Schools Project. The curriculum is being piloted at three Jefferson County Public Schools: Jacob, Slaughter, and Cane Run Elementary Schools. The event was held at the start of the Louisville school year on August 13, 2015.

The Compassionate Schools Project is the most comprehensive study ever
 undertaken of a 21st century health and wellness curriculum in an 
elementary or secondary school setting. Facilitating the integrated
 development of mind and body, the project interweaves support in 
academic achievement, mental fitness, health, and compassionate
 character. The research aims to have a major impact on children’s
 education nationwide with regard to academic performance, physical
 education, character development, and child health policies­.

The Compassionate Schools Project released a new video beautifully capturing the comprehensive curriculum being implemented in 50 Louisville Kentucky schools. “Just practicing moments of respectful attention has shown a positive effect that can be measured.”
(Improved Attendance, Improved Standardized Test Scores,
Improved Adult Outcomes).

Watch The Compassionate Schools Project Video.

On a Friday in early December, representatives from several organizations whose missions include improving the lives of
local citizens through the promotion of wellness, quality public education, innovative medical research, and ample social services, visited a Kindergarten class using the Compassionate Schools Project (CSP) Curriculum. The visitors observed
a lesson from a unit on student self management. This lesson, “Many Feelings,” uses the book, My Many Colored Days,
by Dr. Seuss to explore the way that emotions affect us and the ways that we can settle our minds and calm our bodies after experiencing strong emotions. mayor csp

Alexis Harris, Ph.D., led the tour. This is what she observed:
When we arrived, students were engaged in a movement activity in which they did movements for each of the emotions in the book. In between each, they came back to a calm, settled Mountain Pose. One of the sections in the book mentions a “mixed up” day and Ms. Clem used the “mind jar” with swirling glitter to show how a mixed up day can feel when many emotions are swirling in our minds. After the activity, they reflected on which emotion/movement was hardest to calm down from – and they skillfully noticed that after the excited/happy flamingo movement, it took a little longer to get settled. Students then revisited the “mixed up” day. They recalled that the jar represented the mind, and the glitter inside represented the thoughts and feelings that can be swirling around in our minds, suggesting “feelings,” “emotions,” “words,” “pictures,” and even “music” could be swirling in their minds and making them feel unsettled. Students then identified what uncomfortable emotions might cause the experience of a “mixed-up” day or “swirling” thoughts and feelings in their minds. They displayed impressive emotional vocabulary and insight for Kindergartners, suggesting “embarrassment,” “feeling mean,” “sadness,” “anger” and “having to be quiet.”  They suggested that a good way to calm/settle these swirling thoughts/feelings was to find their “anchor points” (hands on heart and belly to connect with the breath) and take three calming breaths. They recalled that an anchor keeps a boat calm and stable and that their breath can do the same for them.

These Kindergartners showed us sophisticated understanding of emotions, thoughts, and the application of this knowledge for self-management. Ms. Clem shared with us that after we left the room, she told her students, “Wow, I was experiencing  strong emotion in class today. Can you guess what it was?” Then several of the students called out together, “Nervous!” From 5 year olds, this is an amazing level of emotion recognition and perspective taking, and they haven’t even reached the unit on social awareness (empathy & perspective taking)! This is a great testament to the teaching and learning going on in the CSP classes. Of course, not every class is like this every day, but we are seeing this kind of work on a more consistent basis in our schools!

“In schools in New York City and in pockets around the country, the use of inward-looking practices like mindfulness and meditation is starting to grow.” The New York Times interviewed Compassionate School Project Leaders Tish Jennings, Ph.D. and Mark Greenberg, Ph.D. in a story about the Compassionate Schools Project and the adoption of classroom practices in the U.S. aimed at improving academic performance and student behavior and more.

Read the full story, “Under Stress, Students in New York Schools Find Calm in Meditation.”

“Miss Clem, I put my hand on my belly and calmed myself with the breathing you taught me when I was upset earlier,” said one of elementary school teacher Meghann Clem’s students. She was talking about the new Mindfulness curriculum they are learning. Listen to Clem and Professors Tolan and Jennings speak about the study and implementation of the Compassionate Schools Project.

Listen to “U.Va. Program Tests More ‘Compassionate Schools.'”

mayor and kidsLouisville Kentucky’s Mayor Greg Fischer was joined by area school children and project partners at a press conference to kick off the Compassionate Schools Project. The curriculum is being piloted at three Jefferson County Public Schools: Jacob, Slaughter, and Cane Run Elementary Schools. The event was held at the start of the Louisville school year on August 13, 2015.

View the Press Conference Video.

WLKY featured CSP in a story citing that “Louisville was chosen over other cities considered by researchers because of the citywide commitment to compassion and the push for city and school leadership.” Three JCPS schools: Jacob, Cane Run, and Slaughter elementary schools, will offer the pilot project in the 2015-2016 school year.

Read the full story, “Louisville, JCPS Bring Compassion to Schools.”