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EUROPE (Ensuring Unity and Respect as Outcomes for the People of Europe) 

Innovative School Project:

Bringing peace and social inclusion to schools with Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation programme

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The Project

The EUROPE project focused on the implementation in a broader European context of a novel approach, known as the Quiet Time programme based on Transcendental Meditation (Quiet Time/TM) for schools, having the potential to contribute to National and European strategies in answer to the Paris Declaration being a whole-school proven approach for promoting social inclusion, tolerance, non-discrimination, personal development and other factors that prevent violent extremism, and leading to a mainstreaming roadmap for evidence based policy actions/guidance at European and National level, thus helping to foster the role of education in promoting equality, social cohesion, nurturing mutual respect and embedding fundamental values in society.

Approach

This original, unconventional, pioneering, learner-centred approach in the field of education, training and youth, addressed the root-cause of negative attitudes and violence and promoted tolerance amongst diverse populations by promoting the psycho-physiological well-being of students, including those with disadvantaged backgrounds, and by allowing the experience of profound inner peace and calmness, thereby providing participants with the unifying experience of the source of all diversity. The Quiet Time/TM programme is easy to implement at all levels of education, easy to learn and religion and philosophy neutral.

Target Groups

  • Students: In particular disadvantaged students from the age of 10 to the end of secondary education, targeting schools with a high percentage of disadvantaged students, including students with lower learning outcomes and those with migrant and minority
  • Teachers and teaching staff, a significant number of whom show a high level of stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout.
  • Wider school community: being the Quiet Time/TM programme a whole school approach, the final beneficiary of the project were all students, including students with lower learning outcomes and with disadvantaged social backgrounds.
  • Policy Makers in school education
  • Education sector at national level
  • Youth/students networks and associations
  • Heads associations
  • Parents associations, school service providers
  • Civil society organizations
  • Other organizations working in the education sector
  • Organizations working with migrants.
  • Scientific community, policy makers, including of fields other than education- including governmental specialists – stakeholders and interested professionals (i.e. teachers, principals, board members), Students associations, Heads associations, Parents associations, universities, education institutions, youth/students networks, organizations working with migrants and general public.

Activities 

The main activities of the project have been:

  • Implementation of the Quiet Time/TM programme in the schools in a European context.
  • Assessing the ability of the Quiet Time/TM programme to:

– create an inclusive learning environment and reducing violence

– support teachers and other educators in dealing with the increasing diversity of learners

  • Evaluating the Quiet Time/TM programme from a policy development perspective by providing evidence that it is sound and practical.
  • Disseminating findings of the implementation and the evaluation framework to support trans-national cooperation between the partners involved in the project and European ministries, policy makers, and key stakeholders interested in the outcome of the project, creating awareness about the Quiet Time/TM programme and the established support structures and offerings.
  • Drawing policy conclusions through international cooperation including MoEs, leading to a manual of best practices and a mainstreaming roadmap for evidence-based policy guidance.
  • Establishing sustained support structures, including a European expert centre for the implementation of the Quiet Time/TM programme.

Achieved Results

  • Quiet Time/TM programme implemented and evaluated in Holland, Sweden and Portugal involving a total of 520 students, 350 teachers and staff and 110 parents.
  • Reports of the evaluation of benefits:

– for students: from all psychological measures considered in our study, encompassing stress, anxiety, resilience, satisfaction with life, and coping strategies, results seem to be focused on three dimensions. Students seem to be less anxious about being humiliated, using less anxious coping strategies and more resilient concerning their cooperation skills. Also, the qualitative assessment of the TM’s impact corroborates the quantitative results: students refer to be calmer, less anxious and with more available personal resources to manage negative affects. They feel TM allows them to be more focus and relate it to an improvement of school achievement.

– for teachers: if we look at the totality of the results of the quantitative and qualitative study for teachers conducted in the EUROPE project, QT/TM has shown to provide significant contribution on decreasing of stress, negative effects and burnout in school teachers, and simultaneously on increasing job satisfaction, optimism, positive effects and well-being.

– for the whole school community: atmosphere at school, inclusive learning environment, more peace, more cooperation, less episodes of violence and bullying.

  • Scientific Articles were published in specialized journals, websites and were presented in seminars and congresses for bringing awareness of the Quiet Time/TM programme and the project results and evaluation.
  • A Handbook with policy recommendations together with a best practicesand road map have been developed to guide policy makers in the implementation and upscaling of the Quiet Time/TM programme in different countries.

The first impact is already visible and encouraging. If the EUROPE project confirms the efficacy of the Quiet Time/TM programme to foster better relationships between people and promote a positive personal development, then peace would be possible to achieve. Isn’t this promising?

If you wish to receive updates about the impact of Quiet Time/TM programme and for building of more peaceful societies please look at EUROPE website (europe-project.org) and don’t forget to  follow us on EUROPE Facebook!

The EUROPE partnership is composed by 12 partner organization which strongly believe that the Quiet Time/TM helps to reach the peace. We are:
• Fondazione Hallgarten Franchetti – Centro Studi Villa Montesca (Italy) – coordinator,
• Stichting Hogeschool Utrecht [Utrecht University of Applied Sciences] (The Netherlands),
• Stichting Maharishi Vedisch Instituut (The Netherlands),
• Stichting Maharishi Onderwijs Nederland (The Netherlands),
• Universidade do Algarve (Portugal),
• Agrupamento de Escolas João de Deus [Teacher Training Centre] (Portugal),
• APEJAA – Associação de Pais e Encarregados de Educação da Escola João Afonso De Aveiro (Portugal),
• Cooperativa Cultural Ciencia Tecnologia Vedica Maharishi, CCCT (Portugal),
• Maharishi School Trust Limited (United Kingdom),
• Maharishi Foundation England (United Kingdom),
• MIKI – SVERIGE [Maharishi Institut for Kreativ Intelligen] (Sweden),
and CESIE (Italy).

You can also send an email to Mrs. Nicoleta Susanu europrojects@montesca.it to learn more about the project that is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme Key Action 3 – Initiatives for policy innovation – Social inclusion through education, training and youth.

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