As we stand at the juncture of historic changes to the world as we know it triggered by climate change, the global pandemic, the rapid rise of AI and other technological innovations, it is clear that the world that children of today will inherit will be very different from the world we are accustomed to. Change opens up new opportunities, but also new risks. To successfully navigate the changing landscape of the world in a way that facilitates conscious human co-evolution towards a positive future, requires deep cultural shifts. Educators are perhaps the best positioned influencers on meaningful generational cultural change, when they are able to conceive of their role as such, rather than as one of socializing children to the norms of the status quo.
In this presentation we will be drawing on the practical experiences of Neohumanist educators from around the world, as they share their visions and tools for re-imagining education in order to meet the challenges of the emerging new era.
Didi Ananda Devapriya
Didi Ananda Devapriya was ordained as a yogic nun of Ananda Marga in 2001, after 2 years of specialized training in Neohumanist philosophy, PROUT and Biopsychology as well as following an intensive practice of yoga and meditation at the International School of Social Service Prashiksana Matha in Ydrefors, Sweden. The final stage of advanced training as an instructor in yoga and meditation practices took place in Kolkata, India.
From 2001-2005, Didi managed Asilo Nido Giardino Del Sole, a nursery for 20 children from 0-3 in Verona Italy. Since 2005 Didi Ananda Devapriya founded and is president of the Neohumanist Association in Romania (AEN) as well as the general director AMURTEL Romania, where she has supervised two Neohumanist kindergartens, an alternative family style children’s home, an after-school center, a community supported agriculture project and a social integration program for youth leaving care. Didi has also co-authored the Children in Permaculture manual Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share in Education, as well as a Neohumanist Education Early Childhood Curriculum which has been submitted to the Romanian Ministry of Education. She is the author of numerous articles for the Gurukul Network, an international journal of Neohumanist Education.
Didi has a broad experience as an international speaker throughout Europe, in Australia, Lebanon and the USA on topics related to Neohumanist Education, spirituality, Biopsychology, PROUT and yoga. She was has been a trainer in Inclusive, pro-diversity approaches through a 2 year funded project that reached more than 100 kindergarten teachers and over 1000 children. She has also offered trainings in Children in Permaculture around the world, Yoga for Children and annual teacher trainings on a wide variety of subjects at the Zonnelicht school in Holland.
Eric Jacobson founded the Progressive School of Long Island in 1985 and has been its Director for the past 34 years. The school now has 135 students K-8. His lifelong dedication to children and education includes 11 years previous work as a teacher and then a Director of a Montessori School. Eric has been recently recognized by Nassau County, the county in New York State where his school is situated, for 25 years of “selfless commitment to the community”. As a global trainer for Neohumanist Education, Eric has conducted Teacher Training workshops and programs in Sweden, Australia, Venezuela, Mexico, Ashville, Portland and New York. In addition to his work with in Neohumanist Education, Eric is also a student of the songs of Prabhat Samgiita, having been personally chosen by Shrii P. R. Sarkar to teach them. Regarding Progressive School, Shrii P. R. Sarkar once said, “What is accepted in New York today will be accepted in the world tomorrow.”
Professor Sohail Inayatullah is the UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies. He is a political scientist/futurist at Tamkang University, Taipei; an Associate at Melbourne Business School, the University of Melbourne; and Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. From 2011-2014, he was Adjunct Professor at the Centre for policing, counter-terrorism and intelligence, Macquarie University, Sydney. He is the co-director of Metafuture.org, https://www.metafuture.org/, a global think-tank.
Inayatullah has authored and co-edited twenty-four books/cdroms, including: Asia 2038 (2018); Transformation 2050 (2018); What Works: Case Studies in the Practice of Foresight (winner of the most significant work for 2016, the Association of Professional Futurists); and, CLA 2.0; Transformative Research in Theory and Practice (2015). Inayatullah has written more than 350 journal articles, book chapters, encyclopaedia entries and magazine editorials. His articles have been translated into a variety of languages, including Catalan, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Indonesian, Farsi, Arabic, and Mandarin.
Inayatullah gives addresses and conducts foresight workshops around the world for a range of groups and organizations, including research institutes, governmental divisions, foundations, and private and public corporations.
MahaJyoti Glassman is currently retired and she was the Director of MorningStar Yoga Preschool for 30 years where she implemented a Neohumanist curricula in Denver Colorado USA. She has developed and facilitated yoga teacher training programs for adults who want to teach Astaunga Yoga to children (ages of 0-18) and has contributed to the development and implementation of the Ananda Marga Yoga Certification program internationally. MahaJyoti has written some early childhood materials for Gurukula Publications including the NHE Certificate Program for Early Childhood which has been translated into four languages. She also serves as a global teacher trainer for NHE and continues to support individuals who choose to enroll in the NHE Introductory Certificate course.
Yolanda Koning graduated with a degree in social academy (Higher Vocational Education) in 1979, and in 1985 as teacher at the art academy (Higher Vocational Education). In addition she has taken training with regard to the philosophy of Neohumanist Education. During her third year of social academe she set up a kindergarten. During her fourth year at the social academy she worked as a social worker at a youth advice center and set up a shelter for underage children who had run away.
Yolande Koning is director of Zonnelicht since 1997 until now. Zonnelicht is a daycare for children between 0-12 years old. Zonnelicht has 17 groups and 45 employees. From 1993 she has given training to the Zonnelicht staff in Neohumanist Education. Since 2014 she has given shape to Lotus Institute, a platform for educational innovation.
From 2001-2003 she participated in the daily routine committee to coordinate national childcare, education and leisure activities in Holland. She takes part in various participation municipal working groups. These are: Design group IKC (quality control), Project group 0-13, Care structure and Network childcare
Didi Ananda Jaya
Didi Ananda Jaya was ordained as a yogic nun of Ananda Marga in May 1981 in Davao Philippines. She worked in Italy from 1982-1992 and opened the kindergarten Asilo Giardino dele Sole in Verona, Italy. Starting in 1992 she worked throughout South America in Argentina, Chile, Bolívia and Peru. In 1998 she took over the management of the Peri Alto kindergarten in São Paulo. She expanded the scope of the project and is currently supervising 3 kindergartens and the Center for Child and Adolescents in São Paulo. They have about 500 children and 70 employees.
Didi Ananda Muktivrata
Didi Ananda Muktivrata is a yogic nun originally from the United States. She studied meditation and yoga philosophy in India in the 1980s. Since that time, she has been working in education and social service projects in Japan, Taiwan, Brazil and Peru.
For the past twenty five years Rutger Tamminga has been active in Neohumanist education projects throughout South-East Asia, promoting meditation in schools, kids yoga and storytelling. From 1995- 2014 he was the educational director of the Manhattan International English School, a kindergarten and after school care program in Daya Taichung, Taiwan.
Mr. Tamminga is a popular lecturer for a wide variety of organizations and government bodies on topics such as story telling, children’s yoga, special yoga and neohumanist education. He travels regularly to China and Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines for teacher training and parent-children workshops.
Every year he conducts several Kids Yoga Teacher Training programs for those interested in Children’s Yoga. This is a three level course attended by over 1000 people. Additionally has given hundreds of hours of workshops for teachers on Storytelling throughout Taiwan and China. He is currently promoting The Blissful Child Project – training of mothers to tell stories and promoting the practice Quiet Time Exercises in schools.
In 2016 he started the Amazing Kids project to promote understanding of issues related to peace for adolescents . In 2018 he started a Gurukul Mountain Retreat Center in Shimen District, near Taipei where he is responsible for developing a Gurukul Teacher Training Center.
Since 2000 he has been publishing many books for teachers and children. Included in this list are: ‘Yoga Stories’; ‘Stories for Language Learning’; ‘Animal Songs’; A series of story books (The Walking Fish, Mama, I don’t want to sleep, Why the sun is yellow); ‘Start the Day with Love’; ‘Pst, it’s Quiet Time’; An early education curriculum in English (3 levels – 24 books); ‘Little Star Yoga Workbook’ ; ‘Yoga Touch’- for the Chinese Handicapped People Yoga; Storybugs – an English curriculum program for young learners based on Neohumanist concepts; KIDS’ World (eight books) – an English curriculum for young learners in cooperation with East West Publishers based on Neohumanist concepts; Baby’s World – a play and movement program for toddlers (1-3) consisting of four books.