Organising a week of happiness at school
Since 2020, the BONHEURS Laboratory of Cergy University has organised Happiness Week in schools: a week of freedom, inspiration and initiatives to allow all the stakeholders of the school to invent the school of their dreams.
Happiness Week is an opportunity to gather ideas to form projects on various topics such as the different components of well-being at school - cognitive, social, physical, relational - and the means to promote it. It can be a moment of openness, of experimenting with different ways of learning and living together at school. This thematic week also provides an opportunity to share practises that promote the joy of learning and teaching, by inspiring each other and growing richer through the diversity of ideas and approaches. It is inclusive of all stakeholders in the educational ecosystem, starting with the parents!
How does it work?
Happiness Week is open to all schools, in France or abroad! There is no programme, no secret recipe! Consider this your invitation to participate and contribute according to your own interests and what is possible in your school! The BONHEURS Laboratory has identified five main areas within which all kinds of initiatives can be developed:
set up philosophical debates in class on the subject of happiness
discover mind-body practises (relaxation, meditation, yoga, micro-naps, etc.)
rethink the architectural design of shared spaces
re-consider relational ethics around self-confidence, benevolence, relations between teachers and parents, between adults and students, etc.
put in place "happiness in learning" and "well-being in the classroom" with new rituals to stimulate attention and motivation, and by rethinking the integration of the arts and the role of games in learning.
What do the Lab School Network propose?
The Lab School Network and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales are involved in a European Erasmus+ project LabSchoolsEurope – Participatory research for democratic education. During Happiness Week, we have chosen to focus on a few practises that help children to grow up to become responsible, enlightened, autonomous, supportive and... happy citizens!
Of course, such an ambitious goal is long-term, but Happiness Week can be one step further in this direction. A growing body of research shows that: when the school environment promotes, through explicit instruction, school-wide attitudes and behaviours that underpin social justice and democratic citizenship, students' social awareness, respect for the rights of others, engagement, and even academic achievement increase over time (Kovell & Howe, 2020).
The school and the classroom act as mini societies in which children discover and become familiar with democratic institutions, and where they develop the social, civic and emotional necessary skills to live together: cooperation, listening to each other, debating, resolving conflicts, and welcoming everyone with respect for differences and beliefs. Since the early 2000s, the links between these social, civic and emotional skills and "happiness" - sometimes referred to as well-being or quality of life – at school have been the subject of many studies. The effects of interventions designed to foster the development of social-emotional skills in schools around the world have been measured.Evaluations indicate that students who receive such interventions show higher levels of well-being than those who do not, and that social behaviour as well as academic achievement are improved (Mahoney, Durlak, & Weissberg, 2018; Oberle & Schonert-Reichl, 2017).
Drawing on some of this work, primarily from the positive psychology stream, the Lab School Network and Scholavie propose a week of "little moments of happiness at school" with one short ritual or activity per day that is easy to incorporate into the daily classroom in elementary or middle school. Each activity will be linked to a theme whose links with happiness and well-being are scientifically validated.
Monday - personal strengths or resources
Tuesday - mindfulness
Wednesday - gratitude
Thursday - altruism
Friday - growth mindset
Join the Happiness at School Week
An activity booklet will be available starting March 15, 2022. If you would like to receive it, or if you have activities to propose, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's put together our ideas, share initiatives to collectively transform our schools. A review of this day will be presented by the BONHEURS Lab in April to celebrate all these wonderful achievements!
The booklet is available under the "Our Resources" tab, or directly below: