You have probably heard the saying “And the children shall lead.” Well, they can’t lead unless they’ve been given the tools with which to do so. A proper education, which is to say, the education of the spirit of a child as well as academics, is a basic key for the success of our children and our future as well.
We have not far to look to see the tragedies in which children find themselves, often due to a lack of understanding and appreciation of their True Self, and of the True Self hidden in everyone they meet. Through schools such as Education for Life, and other programs that teach consciousness development, children are provided with a valuable set of tools with which to approach the seemingly endless tests that are upon them.
Education for Life (EFL) is a school system developed by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. For those who have read Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, you may remember that, after becoming a Swami, one of the first projects he accomplished was to develop the Yogoda School that taught both yogic principles and general academics. These same principles have been developed through the Education for Life system as expressed in Swami Kriyananda’s book, Education for Life, as well as the Education for Life website and the numerous Education for Life schools.
Education for Life (EFL) differs from traditional education in several key ways. Whereas the common trend is to teach entirely to the intellect and hope the rest of the child develops along the way, EFL actively cultivates development in the child’s feelings, will, and body as well as the intellect, resulting in the child growing up to be well-balanced and ready for life. EFL also strives to develop and raise the child’s consciousness, drawing out from within the child such qualities as compassion, patience, forgiveness, and self-discipline. These qualities are greatly needed in today’s world and will bring our children the deeper happiness that we are all seeking. With this style of education, both the inner and outer life of the child are nourished and supported, giving the child the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.
Having witnessed my daughter’s experience at the Education for Life School at Ananda Village, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of these programs. Children learn to respect themselves and each other, seeing the Divinity in all. They learn to understand the difference between ego and Self, and they learn calming and centering techniques from an early age: in preschool they practice ‘Quiet Bodies’.
When children are raised and educated in this way, they still have their challenges to work through, like all children, but learning how to work through these challenges forms a part of their education, rather than being a problem that detracts from their learning. The result is that the children have the capability, emotionally and intellectually, to apply themselves to the task at hand, and can achieve their personal best in their studies.
THE EDUCATION FOR LIFE SCHOOL OF LOS ANGELES
It is our hope and expectation that Education for Life schools will be developed at numerous locations throughout Los Angeles County and elsewhere. The actual school system to be developed may in fact be a combination of a number of complementary systems including Education for Life, Montessori and Sathya Sai Baba’s “Teach Human Values.” The grade levels will depend on interest, but will probably start with elementary school and then junior high, and if possible, go through 12th grade.
1. Organizational assistance to develop the school and its curriculum.