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Values and Visions  is a way of working. It encourages spiritual development and global awareness and in the process it helps to create community.

The project is for teachers who want to work from, reflect on, develop and explore their values and visions and those of the children and colleagues with whom they work.  It starts with the here and now everyday problems, opportunities and challenges that face teachers and children.

Many teachers are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged by the amount of change that is happening in schools. Much of it seems to disregard the needs of the children, the teachers and the school community.

Looking more widely, we find that we live in an age of social distress, disorder and destruction, in a world where the majority live in poverty and oppression. Schools are not immune. The disorder of the world surfaces in school in many ways and the qualities that are needed to address global problems are the very same qualities required in school.

 

Values and Visions is a practical way both of delivering the curriculum and of focusing on the values of the people in the  school. It offers a way of finding, even within the everyday turmoil of our school lives. that 'human spirit' which can bring clarity and  confidence.

Values and Visions  encourages the development of the whole person across the whole curriculum. It uses play, imagination, stillness, reflection and contemplation alongside reason and analysis. It nurtures us spiritually, morally, culturally, socially, creatively and physically. It promotes both the little and the large changes within us that arethe process of growth and  transformation.

The project is underpinned by certain assumptions:

People matter. Every child and teacher and staff member in the school and every one of us has infinite worth and untold potential.

Interwoven in a human being are body, mind. emotion and  spirit.

We grow physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually through actively relating to ourselves. others. the natural world, and the spirit.

We are each part of a community.

Diversity of thought, experience, culture and life forms is the true wealth of this planet.

Global Awareness

"We face a cumulative series of interlocking problems which endanger human survival  Together they represent a global crisis."

World Council of Churches

 

Global awareness is not an optional concern for far-off people and places.  It is as much about our own school and our own lives; how indivvidually and together we are 'world players' with responsibility for the type of world in which we wish to live.  Unfair trade, international debt, a world economy quite literally in the arms of war. the relentless pillaging and pollution of nature - these big world issues touch every comer of our lives from what we eat for breakfast to whether our school budget is adequate for our educational needs, or whether lhe children will find fulfilling jobs when they leave school. They have severe consequences for the poorest everywhere, but especially for the countries of the developing world and the countries locked in war.

The majority of the people on this planet live in the developing world often known as the Third World. The term is taken to mean the many countries in Africa. Asia and Latin America, impoverished by centuries of economic exploitation. But impoverishment also exists in the richer countries. For each has  its class of people who do not share the 'First World' they do not enjoy the same standard of living and their voices are not heard in the decision-making processes of their society; their cultures are often disregarded or destroyed.

'The Third World offers values which can only be found with difficulty in other places... community instead of individualism, simplicity instead of opulence, helpfulness instead of selfishness, creativity instead of eriforced mimicry, celebration instead of mere enjoyment. an openness to transcendency instead of dull pragmatism."

Jon Sobrino

This project seeks

to explore the differences in resources and power Between those in the 'developed world' and those in the 'developing world' 

to listen to the values and visions of people of other cultures as well as those of the West. 

to recognise that positive steps are being taken, often on a small scale, by people all over the world to care for the diversity of life, change the way things are done, give everyone more of a say in their own future and alleviate human  suffering. 

Schools can be part of this.

By relating what is happening locally to what is happening globally...

By teaching about issues to do with fairness, peaceand care for the earlh...

By showing within the life  school ways of tackling injustice, violence and environmental 

We help the children develop within themselves the resources to contribute positively to the world in which they live.

 

Community

Schools are a microcosm of the world.  As we draw on  shared values, accept and learn from our differences, and begin to grasp a sense of our interdependence with all people, community can grow. Genuine community is open and inclusive, valuing and involving all the individuals and groups within it and creating a door to the wider world.  Any school can become a community which models how the world may be; for example, a place where each person is respected and honoured, relationships are based on mutuality rather than power and resources are used mindfully and justly.

  

Every now and Then ....

Every now and then. one walks into a school which is special. One knows immediately this place is different; there is a hum of activity; people are glad to be there; there is a sense of purpose and well­ being; people are relating to one another with confidence and respect; there is an openness, an aliveness and the wider world is there.  There are many elements at work in such a school but valuing oneself. others and the earth provides the bedrock. Such schools offer a glimpse of a future world that works for all. Values and Visions can support your school in being part of this.