Sai Education in Human Values (UK)
Welcome to the September 2005 issue of the email newsletter.
If you have any feedback about this newsletter, or if you'd like to share your experiences of SSEHV, please write to us.
Well over 100 people attended the SSEHV UK National Day on Saturday 17th September in Stanmore, North West London. A range of knowledgeable and inspiring speakers working in the field of values education showed that this is a movement that is gathering momentum, with people all over the world, in all different parts of society, working to develop a human values-centric approach to education and life. This in itself was very uplifting.
The key note speaker was international education consultant, Neil Hawkes, who has dedicated many years of his life to the promotion of Values Education in the UK and internationally. As Headteacher of West Kidlington Primary and Nursery School in Oxford, Neil lead the school community to devise and implement a unique system of Values Education that correlates closely with SSEHV and which won national and international acclaim. A book was written about it called A Quiet Revolution by Frances Farrer and it still attracts a lot of visitors today, keen to see how Neil's philosophy works in practice. In 1996 Neil was invited to join a group of international educators at the UNICEF headquarters in New York to found the Living Values program.
contributes regularly to the UK's foremost national education publication,
The Times Educational Supplement (TES) as well as many periodicals. He's
a Director of ALIVE (Association of Living Values International) which
is a charity that works with organisations such as UNESCO to underpin
education systems throughout the world with Values Education. Neil's most
recent book is called: How to Inspire and Develop Values in the Classroom.
Neil is well known as an inspirational speaker, and delegates at the SSEHV National Day were not disappointed.
Other special guest speakers included: the Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Paddy Lyne, who spoke about the great need for a programme such as SSEHV in Harrow and beyond and Councillor Lurline Champagnie, who had attended the previous year in her capacity as Mayor of Harrow, at which time she had spoken so movingly about how important human values are to her and how her childhood was filled with music and singing, which is something that has brought her great joy throughout her life, and which is also an integral part of SSEHV, that she was invited back this year to expand a bit further about human values in the family setting.
Martial art teacher, Keith Banfield, spoke about using sports within SSEHV, Carole Alderman, Principle of BISSE, delivered her report of the year's events and achievements, Lark Beecham gave an overview of recent activities in her region of the South East of England and Rishi Patel spoke about his experiences as a volunteer at Values Alive Events.
The day began with the lighting of a candle by the Mayoress, followed by a silent sitting exercise with live flute playing from musician and recording engineer, Pete Townsend, which helped the delegates to feel relaxed and focused, and ready to enjoy the talks.
Children from an SSEHV after-school club at a local school performed a short play based on the story of the Emperor and the Flower Seeds, and musicians Zita Starkie and Richard Braithwaite lead delegates in group singing which sent everyone home on a high note at the end of the day.
of the speakers' presentations will be published in this and subsequent
issues of this newsletter.
The SSEHV UK National Day in Pictures
to photographer Saliha Khatum for the wonderful pictures.
by Rishi Patel
One of the speakers at the SSEHV National Day was Rishi Patel, one of the many young volunteers who help out at children's SSEHV events during the school holidays. He is just entering the final year of a degree in computer science specialising in Multimedia Technology and Quantum Computing at Hertfordshire University. He is also very active within the student union, plays badminton for the university team and facilitates the student Hinduism group, as well as being a keen martial artist. Admist all this activity he has found time over the years to volunteer at five Values Alive Events. He spoke about his experiences of volunteering as a member of the sports team. Here is Rishi's speech:
I'd like to begin with a short poem:
Teacher's Dream, by Ruth G. Rogers
children gaze with trusting eyes,
grant me wisdom every day
then my "engineers" will find
I'll be proud and thrilled to see
Sathya Sai has said many times, "Hands that help are holier then lips that pray." Values Alive Events, or SSEHV camps as they are more informally known, run all over the country. In a lot of ways, these are very similar to other holiday camps for children, but with one key difference: each day in a Values Alive Camp is infused with one of the five human values - five days, five values.
This year during Easter, an SSEHV camp was held in Brent, North West London. I was fortunate enough to attend all five days, the last day always being the most emotional, especially for me, as it was also my birthday. A small girl called Rebecca ran up to me and very sweetly said, "I didn't know what the camp was going to be like, but it was the most favourite camp I ever had. I will feel unhappy when this camp is gone. Thank you."
Could I even ask for a better birthday present then this? It was then that I realised, this is the effect of an SSEHV camp. This is what I find most beautiful about these events; children learning about the human values without even realising that they are.
What is the key to successfully teaching human values to children in this way? The answer is simple. The three E's - Example, Example, Example. The volunteers are required to be examples of the values that they are teaching.
The breakdown of the day is quite simple; the volunteers will gather in the morning, about an hour before the children arrive, for a short yoga session, followed by a guided visualisation; this really sets an atmosphere of peace among the volunteers. This is then followed by a short meeting to discuss the timetable for the day. The children then arrive at the school, at which point they are registered and taken into the assembly hall. A one minute silent sitting is carried out with some gentle music. On the first day, the children are quite unsettled, but the volunteers always being the example set the standard. Patience is key. In the assembly the value of the day is then introduced and an interactive session is normally held with the children, sometimes a short role play, sometimes a question and answer session to get the kids thinking.
Once the quiet tone for the day is set, there are various activities held during the day. These are, SSEHV classes, sports, yoga, games, drama, art & craft, and even a martial art, Choi Kwang Do. All of these activities are all the time infused with the value for the day.
In my experience of SSEHV camps, I have been fortunate enough to help out in the sports team. Sports, like any other lesson, will begin with a minute of silent sitting. We will then ask the children a few questions; what the value for the day is, how they practiced the previous day's value when they got home yesterday. Then we split the children off into groups, and we carry out a small sports event. On the first day, which often has the value 'Right Action', we ask the children to be very vigilant of the rules, and we play bench ball. The next day, which is 'Love', we play relays with the children. On the third day, which is 'Peace', we play 'silent football', encouraging the children to be completely silent as they play. The next day is 'Truth', and we play cricket-rounders, again asking the children to be honest about how many runs they made. On the last day, 'Non-Violence', the sports team purposely run out of ideas and let the children play which ever activity they enjoyed most.
The sports session ends with the children coming back to the mats where we ask them what they learnt, and most importantly how they saw the value for the day being practiced. This is when the children really shine, as they present to us how they saw their peers practicing values during the activity, giving specific examples.
Camps are always very well organised. Normally there are on average 120 children attending per camp, and they are spilt up into four groups by age, and timetabled accordingly.
Volunteers are always kept well fed and watered during the day, as are the children. There is always someone on hand if you have a question, and if you get tired there's always the staff room to rest in. Volunteers also bring in food to share for lunch, and there is always plenty to go around. All in all, SSEHV camps always have a certain atmosphere; love combined with peace. For the days I am there I feel very calm and relaxed, but also completely exhausted when I go home for the day.
I have also helped out with one of the other physical activities that the children thoroughly enjoy at the camp, and that is the martial art, Choi-Kwang-Do. A friend once asked me, how a martial art can promote non-violence, and how we could teach it at a human values camp. Of course this is quite a valid question, with a very good answer. The truth is, the goal of any good martial artist is to 'Stop a Fight Before it Begins', and this is exactly what the children are taught. This is done through silent sitting and simple awareness games. Whenever a child answers a question correctly he or she is applauded by the others. This promotes self-confidence, which is also fundamental to any martial art.
I won't speak too much on the activities side of the camp, as another one of my colleagues will be talking about this a little later on. Instead, I would like to share some of the feedback we received from parents.
parent commented, "My child said that he enjoyed the camp and had
learnt a lot within the week
Each day from the camp, he came home
with a very positive attitude..He made new friends.. talks a lot about
the environment and has a positive attitude towards people."
Another parent commented, "My son really enjoyed himself at the camp. He seems to be more assertive and aware of things around Him .This camp was a very good idea, well organised and with very friendly staff. Keep up the good work."
I'd like to end with a short poem as well:
Thank you all for your time, and enjoy the rest of the day.
Benefits of Choi Kwang Do for Children with Special Needs
Keith Banfield is a highly skilled and effective teacher of human values who uses his chosen subject of the martial art, Choi Kwang Do, to enhance children's concentration, focus, discipline, respect for others and self confidence. As well as teaching Choi Kwang Do professionally, he has also taught it to hundreds of children at many SSEHV Values Alive Events, and his classes are often the most popular of all with the children.
During his talk at the SSEHV National Day about the benefit of sports for children, Keith invited his sister, Sarah Banfield, on to the stage to read out a testimonial he recently received from the mother of one of his students. This testimonial is reproduced below in full:
My son is seven years old and has been diagnosed with complex special needs. He started Choi Kwang Do in April 2005 at Wembley School with Chief Instructor Keith Banfield. I had approached other martial arts schools, but they showed little and in some case no awareness and understanding of children with special needs. In contrast to this, when I contacted Mr Banfield he was very receptive to my son's needs and had an awareness and understanding of children with special needs, especially those who suffer from dyspraxia.
My son has poor gross and fine motor skill, but since starting classes in April his bilateral coordination has improved significantly. He is now happy to participate at school in brain gym activities and PE which previously he hated because of his co-ordination difficulties.
His confidence and self esteem was at rock-bottom before he stared Choi Kwang Do. Since then his concentration has improved and he is able to follow instruction. His hand-eye co-ordination has developed significantly, and most of all his self esteem and confidence has grown.
This improvement has been noticed by occupational therapists who have been working with him for the past four years. They have made notes on his improvement and said that they would pass on this information to other parents.
Due to his complex needs he also has problems forming relationships with peers and adults, as he has great difficulties with social communication. This is another area which has improved and he has formed positive relationships with peers and adults who attend the class.
Previously he has never achieved recognition in mainstream school for his efforts and achievement. He is currently a very proud young boy who is a yellow belt and is working hard towards achieving his next belt. He is keen, happy and is always looking forward to the next lesson.
His confidence has made such huge improvements that he regularly asks Mr Banfield if he can call the class. This has impressed his peers, instructors and mother.
This is a great environment where children with special needs can mix with other children to achieve their potential.
My son's personal information has remained confidential and his needs have been met by Keith and his team with total professionalism.
Thank you, Keith and Team
6th September 2005
get out of a difficulty, usually one must go through it.
is the only thing that can be divided without being diminished.
is enhanced by others but does not depend upon others.
every minute you are angry with someone, you lose 60 seconds of happiness
that you can never get back.
people smile in the same language.
Would you like
to attend an SSEHV Foundation Course in Birmingham?
is the feedback from one participant at an SSEHV Parenting Workshop:
All SSEHV courses are free to attend, although a refundable photocopying deposit of £10 may be required at registration. Details of all our training courses, together with contact information and dates can be found on our website at www.ssehv.org.uk, in the Training section.
SSEHV courses are:
Parenting Workshop, Southsea, Hampshire
Parenting Workshop, Leicester
Foundation Course, Pinner, Middlesex
If there is no course scheduled in your area but you would like there to be one, we can arrange one as long as there are a minimum of ten people who would like to attend. Please contact Pamela Nash for more information.
Copyright © 2005 British Institute of Sathya Sai Education (BISSE). BISSE is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting human values in education.
Registered address: The Glen, Cuckoo Hill, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 2BE United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8429 2677 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org