Thursday, May 21, 2009

Education for Life Methods


Education for Life is a philosophy of holistic education that emphasizes experiential learning, spiritual development, and practical skills for living such as concentration, self-discipline, and compassion. The fundamentals of the philosophy are described in the book Education for Life, by J. Donald Walters.

The goal of education is the same as the goal of life: to help children become, on every level—heart, mind, body, and spirit, more balanced, mature, effective, harmonious, and happy. Underlying all of our academic efforts is the understanding that happy children make the best learners.

Parents in search of the right school for their child are usually looking for academic excellence. At the same time they want their child to enjoy the learning experience. Too often one of these goals is achieved at the expense of the other. However, in Education for Life, learning and joy come together.

Education for Life emphasizes learning that will last a lifetime. Children learn to work with emotions and moods, to nurture an inner life, to love the world of ideas, to ask questions, and to be original thinkers.

While eternal spiritual principles lie at the core of our approach to education, we do not provide "religious instruction" in the traditional, parochial sense. The focus here is on developing qualities that are universally valued in all religions—such as inner peace, love, wisdom, and joy. Children of many faiths attend Living Wisdom School, and find that their understanding of their own faith is strengthened by their experiences here.

The roots of the Education for Life system lie in the philosophy of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. Yogananda emphasized the unity of all religions and their common purpose in helping people experience joy, love and peace.

Students are introduced to different spiritual traditions; however, the emphasis is not on dogma or religious practices, but on applying spiritual principles to one’s own life.

The Curriculum

Our Earth / Our Universe

Our Earth / Our Universe encourages expansion in relation to the physical world. It fosters a vision of the orderliness of the universe, an appreciation for the ecological balance of all life, and a sense of awe before the universal mysteries. It invites students to relate harmoniously to the world around them, feel a part of everything, and recognize their place in the universe.

Subjects in this category include physical and biological sciences, and natural history.

Self-Expression and Communication

Self-expression and Communication encourages expansion by developing clarity of mind and expressing creativity. The emphasis is on expressing creatively in the highest way possible for each student.

Subjects in this category include reading, writing, speaking, and expressing oneself through arts. Math is in this category because it develops clarity in thinking.

Personal Development

Personal Development encourages expansion in the three areas of physical, mental, and spiritual growth. Students move toward reaching their highest potential in each area.

Activities include yoga, meditation, physical education, and in the early grades, subjects such as handwriting and reading.


Cooperation encourages expansion through harmonious relations with others. Students are given opportunities to practice the attitudes and skills that are important in order to experience harmony with others—for example, mental flexibility, willingness to compromise, and respect.

Activities in this category include drama productions, cooking, and service projects.

Understanding People

Understanding People encourages expansion through learning about the experiences and perspectives of others. It focuses on learning about what human beings everywhere want most deeply from life. Students are given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of others through the study of people, places, and events and to apply this understanding to their own lives.

Subjects include geography, history, and other languages and cultures.


Wholeness encourages expansion through the whole being. Wholeness gives cohesion to the entire system.

Subjects and activities in this category include the study of religion, literature, and appreciation of the arts.