The course all schools should be teaching… Happiness Lessons

Sure, math is important, but isn’t it more important to learn how to be happy? Merijn teaches happiness lessons to middle school children in his spare time.

Happiness Lessons

The education system has undergone significant changes over the past century. Despite this evolution, the emphasis remains on standardized testing and acquiring knowledge in traditional subjects like math and biology. However, it’s becoming increasingly evident that such knowledge alone isn’t sufficient to adequately prepare children for the complexities of the real world. It’s crucial to equip them with additional life skills.

When asked about their aspirations, many individuals initially mention a specific profession. However, as people age, the desire for happiness often takes precedence. Imagine the profound impact if we could instill this pursuit of happiness in children from a young age. In the video below, Merijn Ruis introduces middle school students to the concept of happiness using his innovative teaching method.

Happiness Lessons The world would be a lovely place if we all learned how to be happy at a young age! Source: Facebook BrightVibes

A course to be happy

Merijn is dedicated to fostering a happier and more loving world. Following his college years, he realized that he could achieve greater fulfillment by pursuing his own passions rather than conforming to others’ expectations. This led him to delve into positive psychology, self-development, and the pursuit of happiness, along with adopting a practice of meditation. In his free time, he indulged his creative side through music and began developing and teaching happiness lessons for children.

These happiness lessons comprise various exercises aimed at equipping children with the tools for happiness. Typically spanning about three hours, the workshops can be tailored by omitting specific exercises. They feature a range of activities, many of which involve movement to keep the sessions lively and dynamic. The exercises vary in duration, ranging from five to fifteen minutes, and the workshop kicks off with an icebreaker exercise to foster camaraderie among the children and the instructor.

There's physical activity involved with many of the exercises which keeps the energy level up and keeps kids' attention.

There’s physical activity involved with many of the exercises which keeps the energy level up and keeps kids’ attention. Source: BrightVibes

A diverse set of exercises for schools

The lessons cover a range of topics related to happiness. Children are prompted to reflect on what happiness means to them, fostering awareness of their own happiness. In another activity, they engage in positive gossip about a classmate, aiming to highlight their qualities and the joy of being kind to others. Through various exercises, children are encouraged to cultivate self-love and confidence, essential foundations for happiness. They learn the importance of gratitude for what they have and empathy towards those who may have less.

Throughout the sessions, children explore different perspectives on the world and how these perspectives can influence their own happiness. They experience the benefits of meditation, finding calmness through proper breathing, and gain insight into the fulfillment derived from giving to and helping others.

One of the exercises involves thinking about and writing down what they're happy about and thankful for.

One of the exercises involves thinking about and writing down what they’re happy about and thankful for. Source: BrightVibes

Beyond middle school

While these lessons are primarily designed for middle school students, the program is flexible and can be adapted for various other groups, including high school students, office environments, and nursing homes.

Download Happiness Lessons Course

Merijn has made the program available online in English, enabling anyone to begin teaching it.

We delight in showcasing school courses that go beyond traditional math and grammar lessons, offering children a diverse range of learning experiences. Take a look at our video on the Maria Montessori philosophy, for instance.

This article was first published on 15 January 2018.


Learn all about the Happiness lessons

Here you can download the guide for the happiness lessons as PDF, for now in English and Dutch.

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