Our school is a Neohumanist School, it is yoga based education. This means a holistic approach towards education where growth starts within an individual, expanding to family, communities to which they belong, and lastly towards the world. It is called Neohumanism when love is extended beyond oneself. Love is a sentiment that knowingly and unknowingly comes from ideas and emotions and is projected outwardly as well as received from the environment in whole. This is completely different from a humanistic approach where plants and animals are neglected for the benefit of human beings and in many cases throughout history extends to the perception of women by men (where universal equality is not present- hopefully in the near future this inequality will no longer exist). What is the future of humanism when we abusively outsource land, trees, and animals for our own benefit. This is a short term solution that results in huge ongoing disasters as we can witness in many present-day countries. Luckily this Neohumanism movement has started to grow with many moralists creating a great impact on society. They are protecting forests (through aforestation), human rights activists (including women and children's rights), conservationists (of plants and animals everywhere) and many more in every corner of humanist darkness.
We are saying that a humanist perspective is no longer viable for our children. It might still work for our immediate gain, however it will result in our children having to pay back the suffering caused. This means our children and grandchildren and so on. The future should be bright, fragrant. We will never know what the future will be, yet we have hope that the beautiful ideals of Neohumanism will come to light and the world can be run in the most beautiful way.
Rarely, do schools around the world, put effort into opening Neohumanist programs. As we said above, this means a holistic approach towards rationality, spirituality, mental well-being and healthy interactions within society while not neglecting animals, plants and the inanimate. Besides academics, we have student volunteer programs which are based on selfless service. This is to cultivate the inner genuine capacity of all humans, to love and show compassion and protect what is right. To learn, that in the future of our children's generation, they will be required to possess strong leadership skills which they must start learning from now on. So leadership in this context is one without exploiting plants, animals and other human beings. There is a huge disconnection when so-called leaders, use their knowledge for personal, familial, or their own countries gain while exploiting those outside these specific groups. From a Neohumanist perspective, this is very unloving, cruel and mean hearted.
We have a patented program (within Neohumanist Education) called STUVOL, which is a leadership program, for children ages 9 and above. Through this program, they are able to experience working in groups. It is likely you have heard of this concept of youth groups before, all over the world. But here we incorporate it into our school program, without extra charge (such as expensive summer youth programs and camps). Our leadership program is based on moral conduct, where the children are able to have the chance to distinguish and solve problems based on the urgency required. They will work in groups, leading, collaborating and contributing. These programs of course, require problem-solving as conflict is always naturally present. Decision making is based on the collective welfare of all, including animals, plants and the inanimate.
An example of this is PCAP (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Plants). This is one of our many inspiring projects.
As of May 2019, we have just started a Rescue Dog Shelter, called "Stand By Me Project", which is led by children. Their loving consciousness, inspired other children to contribute ideas and happily promote the program to friends and family. They are all taking part. We found, in our local community there was already a simple shelter started for stray dogs, by Tjok Agung of Pejeng and his family. As they are a big part of our school community we decided to offer shelter and extended care for a small number of dogs in support, as we already have one rescue dog at school and this is a natural chance to extend our caring towards more stray dogs.
In many cases these stray dogs were just left to suffer, untreated and even killed (such as by so-called humanist groups). We have called a few professionals in this field and we find the solution is almost always based on a humanist perspective. We have called so-called " Dog Shelters" here in Bali, thinking that they could help, and sent countless emails requesting support in obtaining something as minimal as dog food (not even requesting medical treatment and supplies or shelter and vets). And even this simple request, they have not helped with at all.
We have decided to take action. The dogs have been vaccinated from all diseases that could potentially spread to humans and other dogs. They have been spayed and given any other needed treatments such as for ticks, lice and skin diseases.
Contributing to "Stand By Me Project", working together in groups, the children are able to assess the immediate needs of the dogs. They can identify hunger as a primary concern and have come to the conclusion that providing food daily themselves is the only short term option. Through experiencing the burden of feeding the dogs daily, with no money of their own, they were put into conflicts as to how they will be able to sustain and continue the project and have seen clearly this must be done through getting needed support (through future fundraising). Spiritually speaking the conflicts they face are great mental growth spurts. They are able to overcome, step-by-step any mental barriers preventing from reaching their goals. Through this they become more creative, and adaptable towards problem-solving. We as parents should support them in forwarding their projects. Already, they have made simple videos and collected basic supplies. With the full much-appreciated support of a few parents, this has been possible. Through support from their parents, step-by -step, they are able to put their plans into action.
The children who are persistent, who developed leadership, who have struggled, will be able to bring this project to a larger scale. They will learn about fundraising, graphic and website design, non-profit management, and how to properly run and staff (and organize) a dog shelter. It will be a project by real children and real parents, for real dogs. From a Neohumanist perspective projects must take place in our immediate vicinity. We believe in efficiency and therefore helping our immediate community, where we see problems (as opposed to trying to support far-flung projects- while ignoring those in our "backyard"). We believe it is crucial not to spend time complaining but rather to take action. Ideally, we will create examples and find solutions that hopefully will provide long term contributions to the local community.
The aim of Neohumanist Education is to cultivate and nurture a Universal outlook within each and every child as we believe this outlook rests innately within each of us. The ability to love, starting from oneself and expanding out to others and beyond just humans, to plants and animals and all our smaller and larger environment and all it entails, lies deep within each child. The cultivation of this greater, Universal Love is key for a harmonious growth as they develop together and individually, through the conflicts and challenges that naturally exist within any group setting small or large, young or old, taking into account all living things and biodiversity that make up the small part of the world in which they live, their own immediate community and environment.
When a state of Universal Love is lit from within the children are able to peacefully understand their own reactions, feelings, attitudes and ideas and more easily empathize with others. They are able to draw upon these foundational ideas they’ve become familiar with and apply them to act as advocates for one another, plants, animals and all things existing within their environments such as homes, school and neighborhoods. There is a moral code already in place, that they are able to draw upon to help when conflicts so naturally occur. We take one principal of Yama-Niyama, Ahimsa (supplemented by the other 9 principals which are all bonded together), and expand on it weekly, targeting the developmental stages of each group the children are divided into. Ahimsa is the concept of Nonharming. Nonharming to oneself and expanding out to others and beyond infinitely, simultaneously. It includes the important element of stopping harm to, or not allowing harm (to protect and prevent) to come to others and beyond (animals, plants, all things within the environment living and nonliving), universally.
We have a weekly program, each Friday morning, for all the students in our school. It is called the Ahimsa Project. As the children study and learn more about how to understand this innate love within, they are able to develop the ability to know when and what to stand up for. They enhance their ability to understand and respect themselves and others while navigating their own development as individuals and as part of a community. They explore the concepts of trust (sympathy in a sense of belonging, and empathy) and boundaries (respect) within their community and the roles these concepts play. They study nonviolent communication and nonviolence in all forms. The goal is to facilitate a time, where the children are guided to grow towards the betterment of all, to have the ability to create harmonious communities and environments outwardly from this internal Universal Love. The mission and focus of the program is to develop the interpersonal skills of the children.
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