How to promote social inclusion, tolerance and prevent discrimination in schools? The FRIENDS project began in January 2018 with the goal of introducing an innovative whole school approach known as the Quiet Time based on the Transcendental Meditation programme (TM®) to prevent discrimination and promoting intercultural understanding, social cohesion and mutual respect in societies.
The Quiet Time with Transcendental Meditation programme for schools consists in the introduction of 10/15 minutes of breaks at the beginning and at the end of the school day when students practice a very simple, natural, scientifically documented technique, Transcendental Meditation, that has been found to be effective for the development of brain functioning, cognitive performance, personality integration, and positive social behavior. Students who volunteer and whose parents approve, practice the Transcendental Meditation technique during the Quiet Time moments while others are engaged in other quite non-academic activities such as quiet reading or rest.
Given the various benefits demonstrated both on a personal/behavioral or on human social interactions level, the project has put in practice this innovative technique in schools of five European countries – Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain and Belgium. Our main aim is to reduce the stress of students and teachers in the classrooms contributing also to improve school learning and personal achievements, creating a more peaceful climate that encourages social inclusion, tolerance and other factors that prevent violence in schools.
On 19th and 20th February 2018 in Città di Castello (Italy) the kick-off meeting of FRIENDS took place. During the meeting, all the partners established priorities of action for the next months in order to lay down the basis for a successful collaboration and coordination.
FRIENDS: Fostering Resilience-Inclusive Education & Non-Discrimination in Schools is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme under the Key Action 3 ‘Support for policy reforms – Social inclusion through Education, Training and Youth’.
The project involves 13 European organisations:
- Coordinator: Fondazione Hallgarten Franchetti – Centro Studi Villa Montesca (Italy)
- Universidade do Algarve (Portugal)
- ALMA MATER STUDIORUM – Università di Bologna (Italy)
- CESIE (Italy)
- Escola Secundária de Loulé (Portugal)
- Municipality of Sacile – Pordenone (Italy)
- Maharishi School Trust Limited (United Kingdom)
- Maharishi Foundation (United Kingdom)
- APEJAA – Associacao de Pais e Encarregados de Educação da Escola Joao Afonsode Aveiro (Portugal)
- Cooperativa Cultural Ciencia e Tecnologia Vedica Maharishi – CCCT (Portugal)
- Associazione Meditazione Trascendentale Maharishi Italia (Italy)
- Civic Association for Communication and Education “Sophia”- ACCESOPHIA (Spain)
- Maharishi Institute of Vedic Science (Belgium)
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