Teaching Happiness in schools

Teaching Happiness in schools

The pursuit of happiness

– 20 September 2007

Barking & Dagenham Recorder

CHILDREN sat on the floor in a horseshoe arrangement, clapping their hands, singing, interpreting photographs of isolated pupils and making new rules about their playground.

The year two pupils from Thames View Infant School in Bastable Avenue, Barking, were enjoying their weekly lesson in happiness as part of the nationwide Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning programme – or Seal for short.

The initiative, which seeks to help children develop into responsible, caring citizens, continued to unfurl this Tuesday – just days after the government announced it would be extended to secondary schools this autumn.

Seal has come a long way since it was first introduced in 2003, and is now well established in primary schools in Barking and Dagenham.

Thames View Infant School’s Seal co-ordinator, Vinita Johnston, 39, said: “The pupils learn to be able to control their feelings. It’s about trying to prevent what’s happening in society at large.”