Heart Based Teaching in Children’s Education

Why heart based teaching in children's education is so important and how it can support you and your family. Ren Xue teacher Stephanie Ross from Canada shares her experience with heart based teaching at her child's school.

My heart sang with happiness. It was working. My youngest was thriving. Some might say it was the innovative school pilot project making the difference. And yes, there are several factors making that true. But, at the heart of it all, I would say it’s the natural human qualities that profoundly touch us all that are making the real difference.

Heart Based Teaching for Highly Sensitive Children

I’m a parent of highly sensitive children. My kids have been given other labels too. Gifted. Autistic. ADHD. Anxious. Spirited. I’ve spent time nurturing that sensitivity, protecting them from the harshness of this world, and getting angry with an education system unable to meet many of their basic needs. What I have noticed, is that when a traditional education program worked for a short while, it was always because of a special adult – and they seemed hard to find. As a result, we’ve spent most of our time homeschooling. I truly believe that heart based teaching in children's education will have a great impact on the future of our children, their families and the schools.

How to open your heart

I’m also a Yuan Qigong and Ren Xue teacher. In this comprehensive system, I teach practices that help people cultivate their heart to increase happiness, wellbeing, and harmony in their relationships with self, others, and nature. Within this system, Tong Yuan (Opening the Heart) is the main heart practice. 

In this still practice, we cultivate five main heart qualities.

  • Trust
  • Openness,
  • Love,
  • Gratitude,
  • and Gongjing (true respect and humility)

Gongjing encompasses all those qualities and many more including compassion, oneness, and empathy. For beginners, we simply use true respect and humility as the starting point.

My heart has grown as I’ve developed these heart qualities over the past decade and I resonate when in the presence of others manifesting and radiating these heart qualities. This is what made my heart sing while on the phone with my teen’s teacher. He doesn’t know what I teach and as far as I know, he doesn’t know much about Ren Xue. But he did just talk to me about every – single - heart - quality… in order.

Teaching from the heart - How to make a real difference

The conversation went like this: He gave me examples of the small things he does with my child and others to develop trust. He said most people don’t understand how those small things build trust and relationship. Trust is so important because from there comes openness. Once you have openness, children are willing to learn. They are open to the world of possibility. He stopped talking at this point. He was choked up; overwhelmed by the love pouring out of him for both the teens themselves and the work he does. He continued with how grateful he was to know them. He was grateful because they are wonderful humans. He was filled with joy to be learning from them every day. Respect was emanating from him as he continued telling me more. He finished by letting me know he was working on getting district approval for next year’s program.

A few months earlier, I’d heard a radio interview with the other founder of this pilot project. She said that within four weeks of beginning this program, the change in all the kids was profound. They were excited about coming to school and learning again. They were excited about life. She told the interviewer that one of the program facilitators was so moved by this incredible change in just one month that she was signing herself up for teachers’ college. It wasn’t just my child who was thriving in this environment. It was all of them. And it was the adults, too. 

Yes, the activities of this program are different but so are the qualities of the people running it.

As a parent, this warms my heart.

As a human, it brings me hope.

As a Ren Xue teacher, it elevates my optimism for a world in which humanity embraces these heart qualities.

Could we follow the lead of these courageous teens and supporting adults and conduct a pilot project for heart-based teaching of our own? 

One where we take flight into an unknown way of being? A way that is led with our hearts, hums with harmony, and benefits all?

How would that kind of world feel to you?

We’ve been given the flight path and the tools to follow it in the wisdom teachings of Ren Xue. 

Are you willing to take that step?

What does your heart say?

Join our community and learn more about these teachings. You too, can make a difference in the world!

How to Apply Heart Based Teaching in Children's Education

Watch this beautiful story about a school project in Portugal integrating mindfulness and heart based teaching into the school curriculum.

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About The Author

Stephanie Ross

Stephanie Ross

When I sailed into New Zealand in 2011, I was handed Yuan Tze’s book “Voyage to the Shore”. Sometimes life has interesting ways of delivering exactly what we’ve requested! His work resonated deeply with me and I immediately signed up for a weekend retreat and teacher training. While I home educated two children, I had many opportunities to learn how to integrate Ren Xue into a busy schedule. I love bringing these ideas to my classes, workshops, and individual sessions. I use a trauma sensitive approach and have experience with diverse groups. Practising, teaching, and living Ren Xue has had a profound impact on how I am, how I have raised my children, and how I view living in this world. I am always grateful for opportunities to share what I have learned on this incredible journey.

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