As a mother of 3, 2 of them being school age, as well as a k-4 music teacher, I appreciate this guest blog post. Happiness should be part of the curriculum in a school! Enjoy the article written by Beatriz Martinez, founder of Triumph Steps.
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I recently had the opportunity to talk to the Doral Family Journal about how America’s school system is utterly lacking in emotional literacy. We talked about a lot of things, but we focused primarily on how the process to get emotional literacy into our schools is slow-going, even if the benefits seem so intuitive. As a country, we spend over $200 billion per year on providing treatment for mental health disorders. We tell ourselves and our kids that the brain is a hardwired organ—you get what you’re given. But we are also investing millions in research that shows that the exact opposite is true.
What this research shows is that the brain has neuroplasticity. What this means is that, just as the neural connections in our brains influence our thoughts and feelings, so too do our thoughts and feelings mold our neural connections. When we forge new neural pathways—for instance, when we try a new activity or think about something in a different way—we can continue to strengthen these pathways until they become habitual. If we want to create happiness in the world, the best way to do it is by teaching it in schools.
We teach our children some valuable skills in school that help them do more with their lives. To know how to balance the family finances, you need a solid foundation in mathematics. To stay current with what is going on in the world and how it impacts your life, you need adequate reading comprehension skills. Many informed decisions require a basic understanding of science. And those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, so we give our kids a solid grasp of history. The state requires all of these subjects to be taught, and rightly so. We do not, however, teach our kids one of the most basic yet pivotal skills required for a fulfilled life: how to be happy.
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Beatriz Martinez is the founder of Triumph steps, whose mission is to make emotional literacy an integral part of education all around the world. She has created a curriculum to help students become socially responsible, empowered, centered, and most importantly, happy. Find out more at triumphsteps.com