A Call to Care: Developing Mindfulness and Compassion from Kindergarten to University

Eurasia Foundation, in partnership with the Gross National Happiness Centre Bhutan and the Mind and Life Institute USA, is implementing a pilot project with the objective of cultivating systematically Mindfulness and Compassion in the classroom, from Kindergarten to University.

This program is based on “Three modes of Care”

Receiving care: The core skills and practices in the receiving care mode are designed to help educators and students learn to recognize and re-experience moments of connection, warmth, affection, and inner safety with others, including parents, educators, close relatives, friends, animals or places. These feelings of being worthy, welcomed, delighted in, and secure provide the safe base from which educators and students are better able to welcome and see others in their potential.

Self-care: The cultivating self-care mode offers strategies to 1) become attuned to the wisdom of the body, 2) manage stress and difficult emotions, 3) hold thoughts and feelings in an accepting mode of awareness, 4) promote cognitive flexibility and openness to experience, and 5) take better care of needs.

Extending care: In the extending care mode, care towards others flows from humans’ natural capacity for compassion and empathy, which requires cultivation. Compassion extends from empathy to a feeling of love, warmth and concern for the feelings of another person. These positive feelings can lead to a strong and practical motivation to relieve suffering and support well-being.

This pilot program has been carried out in Hue Vietnam with 454 Primary school children, 37 primary school children with special needs and 18 adolescents with special needs. 26 teachers and school principals attended the course. The program was implemented over a period of 3 months and the preliminary assessment is very encouraging and shows improvement in many fields both for teachers and students.

We hope to find additional funding to scale up the project for the whole province, ultimately; the Ministry of Education is interested to include the Call to Care program in the national curriculum of Vietnam.