More and more around the world, people are defining success in terms of happiness. Towns, states and countries are looking to re-measure their GDP based on their citizens’ happiness. After all, it is at the root of human nature to seek happiness, so why wouldn’t finding it be success?
Sadly, not too many children find joy at school beyond the earliest years—an unfortunate situation since much of their childhood is spent there. This is because joy is simply not the priority, getting pushed aside for what are often developmentally inappropriate pressures and activities.
A young person who has joy in their life expresses happiness and life satisfaction more frequently and to a higher degree. Our graduates have expressed to us countless times that they feel their lives are emotionally different than the majority of their peers once they enter the world beyond Progressive School. They point to the “Joy factor,” an elusive quality of contentment and gratitude.
When asked to explain how that was developed during their elementary and middle school years, the answer came back so clearly: “It comes from being really happy in school during the critical years when other students hated school the most.”
How, specifically, do we develop joy in school?
- teaching social skills in an intimate, loving environment
- the teacher as role model
- a moral code
- authentic learning experiences
- individualized curriculum
- it’s the sum total of everything we do!
|The Complete Series