For more than 40 years, Education For Life has helped children thrive academically and personally. This success is based on a proven principle: children who are happy and confident approach learning with enthusiasm. Children who feel respected, included, and safe can enjoy the challenges of a rigorous academic curriculum, delivered in an expansive spirit of joyful adventure.
Parents occasionally ask, “Will my child be able to perform well when she goes out into the real world?” Our commitment to teaching life skills such as collaboration and conflict resolution gives our students the skills they need to face life in an authentic way.
Graduates demonstrate impressive poise, compassion, and inner strength. They know how to laugh, they trust themselves, they practice kindness, and are lifelong learners.
On this page you can find several testimonials from children, parents and teachers to feel through their voice and their heart how Education For Life has transformed their lives.
Alumni, Gita Madlock
I learned the life skills and tools to succeed in both higher education and in life. The meditation and centering practices taught me to focus and be calm; the relationships with adults helped me to transition into the working world with ease; and the values stick with me in all of my decisions.
Each of my friends, from an Education for Life school, share two major things in common: a strong sense of self and an interest in giving back to the world.
Parent, Raju Parikh
I am delighted to share our experience of Living Wisdom School (LWS).
As an educator in the field of early learning at Stanford University, I know that the future of our society depends on its ability to foster healthy development in the next generation.
Extensive research on the biology of stress, conducted at the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, shows that healthy development can be derailed by excessive or prolonged activation of the stress-response systems of a child’s body and brain.
Toxic stress can have damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health. Thus, learning to cope with adversity is an important part of any child’s healthy development.
The Harvard researchers found that when a young child’s stress-response systems are activated within an environment of supportive relationships with adults, these physiological effects are buffered and brought back down to baseline.
As parents, we understand that we cannot save our children from life’s stressors. Having acknowledged this, the pressing issue for our family became how to provide our daughter with an environment that would nurture her spirit, her mind, and her soul.
In 2011, my husband and I came across Living Wisdom School’s website, after reading Autobiography of a Yogi and doing some research on meditation and spiritual living. The seed was planted for our family’s association with LWS, which would become an inspiring adventure for our daughter and our entire family.
Why did we choose LWS?
LWS is a rare environment where the founders have created a holistic approach to academic education that includes mindfulness and positive thinking, and where the teachers guide the children daily in consciously choosing kindness, joy, and happiness, with an emphasis on universal human values that nurture their strengths and positively reinforce their innate love of learning.
Here are some of the features that were important to us as a family, and that led us to select LWS and Education for Life as the right choice for our daughter:
- Academics that provide our daughter with the skills she will need for her life’s work.
- Self-regulating skills such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga, and an emphasis on teaching kindness and joy as paths to understand and cope with this complex, changing world.
- Helping children develop a mindset of choosing happiness even in adverse circumstances, with a strong focus on emotional self-regulation.
- Confidence development through healthy competition in an environment of mutual support and discovery, to help our daughter understand that excellence is an important goal to strive for in all facets of her life, while experiencing satisfaction in the process.
- Mindfulness practice, which research has shown decreases stress and anxiety, increases attention, improves interpersonal relationships, and strengthens compassion.
- Constant personal attention from teachers who devote tremendous energy to understanding each child’s unique strengths and weaknesses.
- Teachers who are given the freedom and flexibility to adapt and refine the curriculum to challenge and support our daughter in achieving at her own, individual pace.
- A caring, nurturing community of children, parents, and teachers who are working toward the common good for the children, their families, and the world.
- A sense of “work” and “mission” that aims at serving humanity and creating caring, compassionate and accepting global citizens. The LWS teachers consistently model these values – they “walk their talk.”
- The annual Theater Magic program that engages the entire student body, and enhances academic learning in ways that we cannot begin to adequately describe.
Our daughter’s experience at LWS has been a blessing both for her and for our family. She is eager to go to school every day and loves her school environment. I cannot think of a better definition of school success.
Finally, it has given us joy to come to a deeper understanding of Education for Life over the years, because it has extended into our family and helped us consciously define our goal of authentic parenting.
Our daughter is progressing well in her academic environment, as she learns to manage her stress, choose happiness, and be a joy-filled child. What more could we ask?
Raju Parikh Bio:
Raju Parikh is the Director of Early Learning Programs at Stanford University.
Parent, Jack Dieckmann
My two children have attended Living Wisdom School for the last seven years. Before we discovered LWS, they were enrolled in four separate schools, and while each school had its merits, we never felt that they were completely right for us.
At LWS, I know without the slightest doubt that my children will be loved, taught, challenged, and nurtured every day – and what more could a parent ask?
The richness of the LWS Education for Life (EFL) philosophy arises from a deep, consistent valuing of the unique and special qualities of each child’s mind, heart, hands, and soul.
As an education researcher, I’ve studied human development and learning from a cognitive and social perspective, absent the key dimension of the soul (in the most expansive sense of the term). When I first became acquainted with LWS, I felt that my academic background would surely prepare me to understand Education for Life. I dutifully read the Education for Life book and tried to assimilate its ideas into my own thinking and the frameworks that I had studied in graduate school.
But there were problems with that approach. EFL is so much more than an abstract system that I could absorb and intellectualize with my rational mind. I read the book several times and could scarcely decipher its meaning, thanks to the theoretical prejudices that my education and experience had fostered.
But as the years passed, and I began to understand EFL in greater depth, I realized that it can only be truly studied and evaluated in the living arena of the child’s daily experiences in the classroom and playground.
I watched with wonder as both of my children began to thrive under this approach, and I was thrilled to see how their growth was positively reflected in key moments of our journey as a family.
I’ve been deeply impressed by the many ways our children’s consciousness and learning have expanded through their participation in the yearly all-school Theater Magic play, the literary journal, the spring art show, the music concerts, and the various culturally inclusive celebrations and field trips across the school year.
Whenever my son has experienced obstacles in his academic subjects, his teachers have had the freedom and flexibility to give him all the help he needed, and to adapt the curriculum and the teaching approach to meet his unique needs.
Throughout my years of observing the LWS teachers, I’ve been gratified to see how much energy they bring to noticing and valuing the gifts that each child brings.
An LWS teacher told me that my son always played a key role in initiating and sustaining deep class discussions about the subject matter, and that he offered stimulating perspectives that advanced learning for everyone – and this was in fourth grade!
It was typical of the feedback I receive in parent-teacher conferences, and on report cards (which are ungraded, because the richness of the students’ learning at LWS cannot be reduced to a simple percentage or letter grade).
My children have very different personalities, yet they have both found LWS to be a place of adventure, friendship, and safety, free from the anxieties and undue pressures associated with many other schools, especially “high-performing” schools.
My daughter has experienced tremendous acceptance and love throughout her journey at LWS. The school has fostered her identity as an artist, as a primary medium through which she expresses herself. At the end-of-year ceremony, I was so proud to watch her give her speech about the quality that the teachers had observed in her over the preceding year. I held my breath when it was her turn to celebrate her quality. But like all the LWS children, she gave her short speech with complete confidence to an audience of over 200 students, teachers, parents, and relatives. She was able to show such poise because she believed in what she was saying, and she knew that she was surrounded by a community of friends who were cheering her on.
Our experience of LWS has given me confidence that I am fulfilling my sacred duty as a parent to give my children an education of the highest possible quality; an education that will not only set them on a positive path to college and career, but will help them know that they have the power to choose happiness wherever they go. The joy and wisdom that have unfolded for my children and my family through the LWS community are boundless.
Jack Dieckmann, PhD, LWS Parent
Educational Researcher, Stanford University
Jack Dieckmann Bio:
Jack Dieckmann serves as Director of Research at youcubed at Stanford University, a nationally recognized initiative for inspiring, educating, and empowering teachers of mathematics by transforming the latest research on math learning into accessible and practical forms. Prior to joining youcubed, he was Associate Director for Curriculum at the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE), where he led the math team in performance assessment development. He received his doctorate in math education at Stanford in 2009. For the past 12 years, Jack has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP).
Our Teachers’ Blogs
Following are links to blogs where teachers share their inspiration.
Joyful Education: Forty Years and Counting
by Nitai Deranja
In this blog I’d like to share various vignettes and insights that have come to me in the course of exploring our Education for Life philosophy.
A Living Wisdom School Blog
by Rachel Van Boven and Rose Neal
A Cucumber Seed is a blog devoted to telling the story of Living Wisdom Schools and Education for Life.
Educating Preschool Students From the “Inside Out”
by Chandi Holliman
Preschool-Kindergarten teacher shares inspiration and activities that work.
by Hassi Bazan
Creative ideas that feed the soul as well as the mind and body.
Education for Life in Public School
by Elizabeth Aguilar
Documenting how the EFL principles translate into the public school system.
Live in Laughter
by Premi Grenell
Co-creative, child-centered, experiential, and joyful. “Lightly I walk,” “Hands on!” “Proof is the pudding!”
From Two-year-olds to Teenagers
by Irene Schulman
Experiences and valuable lessons I have learned from students of all ages.
International Education For Life Conference
Every year, in Summer, an international conference brings together many teachers and educators from different countries! If you want to find more information visit this page: Annual Educators for Higher Consciousness Retreat/Conference 2018 TBA
European Education For Life Conference