Living Values Expands Naturally in Several Directions
“The last time we contributed to the newsletter,” wrote Marlies Ludding van Loon, the President of Foundation Living Values Education Nederland, “we reported on the Children’s Integration Project ‘ToGether’. This project was organised by the foundation OneMelodie, Living Values Education Nederland and The Free Space school in the Hague, the first school in the Netherlands to implement Living Values Education. The project was life changing for the participating children.
Since then, The Free Space school received a financial grant for a ‘Parents Participation in Education Project’. During this Living Values-based project, teachers and parents have been learning about and practising how to bring values at school and at home into alignment.
Part of this project currently is a seminar organised by the school: ‘The power of peace in education’. This will take place on the 21st of September, UN Peace Day. During the seminar our Book of Peace will be presented. This is a compilation of drawings and interviews with pupils, teachers and parents of the school about peace. The children shared beautifully about their naturally felt responsibility to start with peace themselves, and what helps them to achieve inner peace. Their sharing is so creative and wise.
DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS of LVE
A wonderful circle of people with different competences and from different regions of Holland are now regularly coming together to reflect, exchange ideas and experiences about LVE, and to develop more values awareness. This has resulted in a variety of experiences and projects.
- VALUES & NATURE
Jael, a nature pedagogue, has chosen nature as the focus for children to experience their natural inner values. More and more children are suffering from stress-related problems. They often get distracted from who they are deep inside by the noisy outside world. Jael takes children into nature for walks, excursions, art workshops, children’s parties, etc. He creatively uses values activities to help the children refocus and become aware of their authenticity, inner peace and balance while developin self-love and self-respect. Meanwhile, fun is guaranteed.
- VALUES & TODDLERS
Patricia, a mother of four and an experienced kindergarten caretaker, who has been involved with LVE for several years has decided to start her own Living Values creche. She is writing her business plan right now. We keep you posted!
- VALUES & HOMESITTERS
Merel is a motivated young woman whose heart is with ‘stay-at-home’ young adolescents with normal cognitive abilities who are not involved in regular education. They prefer to stay at home. De Lans School, a Rudolf Steiner secondary school, offers these youngsters an opportunity to become motivated to learn again. This school for children with special needs has organised a program for a group of students with a wide range of disorders: behavioral problems, computer addictions, ADHD, autism and other pobias and traumas. In her class, Merel and a colleague work with 18 adolescents from 13 to 17 years old. They are combining education with intensive psycho-social guidance in order to get these children back to school. Since the beginning of this year, Merel has gradually introduced Living Values Education activities to her group. After some months her students started to discover how effectively values can work for them. After an LVE introduction to parents, their parents are also participating and supporting the LVE approach.
- VALUES & PARENTS
A few months ago, Martina, a grandmother, began a small initiative at her home/garden called ‘Summertable’. Through this initiative she offers young parents and parents-to-be a relaxed opportunity to explore values at home and in education. Young families are invited to her table to meet informally and exchange educational experiences.
Martina and friends are also organizing LVE events at the local library and a nearby park where all kinds of happy and enriching living values activities are organised for young families with children.
- VALUES & NATURAL BIRTH
Anna is an experienced Rudolf Steiner educator and has a private practice for young children with development disorders. Some time ago she became involved in Living Values Education and began to give LVE workshops at schools. She was also asked to guide a group of midwives who started a center for natural birth, the ‘Birth House’. In this center midwives promote natural birth. They wish to connect natural birth to natural living values, not only helping mothers during pregnancy and delivery but also providing LVE workshops to these future parents.
- VALUES & IMMIGRANTS
Marjo is one of the five founders of OneMelodie foundation, an organisation for ‘Social Education for all Cultures’. Now called Initiative OneMelodie, this autumn they will start a new project called ‘The Dutch language and Values’. Marjo has organised many workshops for children of immigrants and refugees, and is also the person who took the initiative to create the Children Integration Project a few years ago. She is a much appreciated member of our Living Values Education circle. Margo commented that she has been committed to values education since the moment she met Diane Tillman in Lebanon many years ago. Diane was in Lebanon to do an LVE workshop with 35 Palestinian refugees who were kindergarten teachers. Together, they all experienced the depth and beauty of LVE.”
Peace Day 2015
“In 2015, Living Values Education Netherlands joined ‘The Peace in the Park Festival’ for the first time in The Hague,” reported Marlies Ludding van Loon. “In the beautiful park near the palace of the king in the centre of the city, children and their parents spontaneously participated in various activities on ‘peace in our hearts and in the world’. We made peace necklaces, friendship bracelets, peace doves and flags. Meanwhile, we explored how we could deepen the meaning of peace in our own lives, with families, with friends, in class… Thank you Patricia Mosimann, LVE volunteer, for your great ideas and your hard work!”
Three More Schools to Implement LVE in The Hague
The democratic school, De Vrije Ruimte (The Free Space), in the Hague has been implementing Living Values Education for the last two years with good results. A few months ago the teachers of the school, with a well conceived and elaborated plan, participated in an education pitch about parents participation in education. They won a price, a solid amount of money, to deepen LVE at their own school and implement LVE in three other schools in The Hague.
The project will especially focus on the following two aspects:
- One: What could help us bring the values of school and home in alignment with each other?
- Two: How can we empower our values so that we are still conscious and express our values even in an environment that is not familiar to us?
Part of the project is a new Dutch translation of the three LVE Activity books (3 to 7 years, 8 to 14 years and young adults) so that the activities will be more accessible for Dutch education.
The Foundation LVE Nederland will be one of seven members participating in this project. More specifically it will focus on guaranteeing the overall quality of the various contributions by participants. The project starts 1st March and ends 28th February 2017.
We will keep you posted!
Marlies Ludding van Loon
“ToGether” – A Creative Values-Based Integration Program Brings Dutch Children and Refugees Together
We would like to share with you the highlights of the children's project 'ToGether' – a joint effort of OneMelodie (A non-profit organisation for Social Education in Utrecht.), the LVE School 'De Vrije Ruimte' in The Hague, and LVE The Netherlands.
In a nutshell -
Over the course of this year, from February through August, we brought together two equally-sized groups of children (ages 6-12) of different cultures and backgrounds – two groups that would normally never have the chance to meet and play with one another. One group of children came from a neighbourhood in Utrecht, mainly home to refugee and immigrant families originating from Sudan, Senegal, Ghana and Morocco, and the other group came from the LVE school 'De Vrije Ruimte' in The Hague,primarily consisting of native Dutch children. There were sixteen girls and four boys altogether.
- To learn about each other's world, to experience joy in connecting with children from another culture and to learn to cooperate with them;
- To empower their self-esteem when dealing with children from a very different background;
- To make a 'ToGether CD' with new songs in Dutch about values, sung by the children themselves.
What we organised -
Over several meetings, alternately in Utrecht and The Hague, the children did activities together. For example, they prepared meals, made paintings, played games, danced and sang, they sewed and made all kinds of crafts. In addition, they practiced the songs for the CD in a professional studio. Two values, cooperation and happiness, took a central position and were practised in all activities.
What we experienced -
The first meeting in Utrecht, in a community centre, was a happy and open one. We did all sorts of games to remember each other's sometimes difficult-to-remember names. The second meeting at the school in The Hague was quite a challenge for the children from Utrecht. Travelling by train was a completely new experience and the moment they arrived they were quite exhausted. Also some children felt a bit insecure being surrounded by only white children at the De Vrije Ruimte School.
In total, six gatherings were organised. Each time the children felt more relaxed. Each group independently met a few more times. The children were doing their best in all activities – some had difficulty on concentrating. We felt that singing and dancing were their favourite and the best way to learn and to make contact. The collective singing in a real studio with a real microphone later on was an uplifting experience for all.
Next to the children, the project brought about very good cooperation and understanding between all adults involved (i.e. the volunteers, the teachers from De Vrije Ruimte school, professional musicians who helped us producing the CD, and most parents). In the course of the project they all became more excited because they began to understand the need and importance of the activities and they began to see the changes in the children.
The closing ceremony of 'ToGether' in Utrecht took us (parents and volunteers) by surprise by the great enthusiasm of the children and their elegant way of hosting. The children interviewed each other and the adults about 'cooperation' and 'happiness'. All of them showed tremendous personal growth and gained self-confidence. We danced and sang some of the songs of the new CD – featuring a dozen beautiful children's songs, a poem and two relaxation exercises about values. The mothers of the children of Utrecht spontaneously had prepared delicious sweets and snacks and there was a very relaxed and cheerful atmosphere.
Due to challenges like fundraising and logistics (i.e. the project extended over two cities which made it much more time consuming and expensive because of travel costs…but also more of an adventure!) we were forced to postpone the project and keep it as simple as possible.
We interviewed the children before and we collected assessments after the project. We provide you with some of them:
- "I know now that there is no need to become angry if I want something else. I know now that I can just say it."
- "I had an idea and another child thought it was good!"
- "I made a drawing and Isabelle (of other group) said it was beautiful!"
- "I feel surer of myself."
- "There was no space for me left to write my name on the painting we were making together. Someone (of other group) showed me where I still could draw my name on the painting. That for me was the happiest moment of the whole project."
- "I experienced cooperation when we were making friendship bracelets. I did not know how it worked. One girl (of other group) simply explained me how to do it."
- "When you have contact with children from other cultures you can learn much more." One child was asked, "How do you notice that your self confidence has grown by making things?" "I am proud of myself now!" The mother of one girl told us that after school her daughter used to hang around the schoolyard. But now she was hurrying home every day to bag embroider (an activity she learned during the project); she embroidered 'cool girl'.
- It was the first time she thought about herself as a 'cool girl'. Some children from Utrecht (the immigrant and refugee children) felt a little difficulty about the fact that the children from the Hague were 'nothing', that is, not Muslim. After the project this was not important to them any more. They voiced, 'The most important is that they are nice'.
The evaluation showed that the children were happy that they learned practical things together (e.g. baking pancakes, sewing, making friendship bracelets, singing with the microphone) and that there always was a lot of laughing and jokes. They know now that they are all children 'like me' and they know what to say to connect with children they had not meet before. A few children before the project said that they thought the children of the other group were different. After the project they said that all children are the same; they could not even remember that before they had held another view. Their nicest memory? "That we were dancing and singing together and did not quarrel…"
With the rapidly growth and recent influx of so many immigrants and refugees in the Netherlands more people are beginning to realise that it is increasingly urgent to develop effective programs for integration.
Although 'ToGether' was carried out on a small scale – due to limited funding and challenging logistics – we have great confidence that it will have a follow up on a wider scale and affect the way we think about integration in Holland. Integration programs linked to value-based learning or education are equally important to children with foreign roots as to native children and youngsters; that integration is not a one-way street but a joint effort which brings happiness and understanding to all.
Marlies Ludding van Loon, LVE The Netherlands
Marjo Linssen, OneMelodie
LVE News from the Netherlands
The UNESCO office in the Netherlands invited teachers from the 100 UNESCO schools throughout the country to several workshops, lectures and activities on the subject of “World Citizenship and Peace”. As Marlies Luddding van Loon, the President of the LVE Foundation in the Netherlands reports, “As LVE has been closely connected to UNESCO in the Netherlands since one year we were asked to give a LVE workshop to teachers of mostly secondary schools. A joyful and relaxed workshop took place in April 2014. We all learned a lot, with special thanks to the teachers of Vrije Ruimte, the LVE School in the Hague, who shared from their own experience how pupils love working on values and how this has brought about a lot of joy and awareness of peace and other values in their school. Some teachers wanted more information and we offered to visit them at their schools at a later date for further exchange.”
Immigrant and Dutch Children Cooperate – Expect a DVD of Values Songs in December!
The Foundation Onemelodie and a Living Values School in the Netherlands have begun a special DVD project on Values Songs in Dutch. Immigrant children who began LVE activities for children at risk this month, will be singing the soon-to-be created songs with Dutch children. Both sets of children will be engaged in values activities about happiness and cooperation until December. To be composed by two songwriters and planned and organised around the values of happiness and cooperation, the organizers are hoping for happy, cooperative and serious commitment from all involved!
The First LVE Model School in Holland – De Vrije Ruimte
“De Vrije Ruimte, the Free Space, is the first school in the Netherlands to commit itself as a whole school to the Living Values Education Concept,” reported Marlies Ludding van Loon, the President of the Foundation for LVE in the Netherlands. LVE activities began on September 1, 2013. This benchmark has followed a wonderful year of LVE workshops for educators and children for the educators and board of this school in the Hague, as well as LVE workshops to other organizations.
21st February 2013 workshop Board Primary School De Vrije Ruimte,
28th March 2013 workshop Teachers Primary School de Vrije Ruimte,
2012 November – June 2013
Workshops Living Values Education the Netherlands
21st November 2012
workshop Teachers - Primary School de Vrije Ruimte, The Hague
8th & 13rd December 2012
workshop Parents & Children - LVE & Foundation OneMelody, Utrecht
5th February 2013
workshops Bachelorstudents businessmanagement, logistics & accountancy, Oost-Malle, Belgium
8th February 2013
workshop Parents Primary School De Vrije Ruimte, The Hague
21st February 2013
workshop Board Primary School De Vrije Ruimte, The Hague
28th March 2013
workshop Teachers Primary School de Vrije Ruimte, The Hague
10th June 2013 workshop Children 4 – 7
17th June 2013 Children 8 – 13
24th June 2013 Young adults 13 – 17 yrs, The Hague
This year we had several LVE Educator Workshops. There was one in April and another in May for teachers at a secondary school. In May and June, Neil Hawkes did values education workshop with BZN in Antwerpen, Belgium. Ten teachers from Holland, from both primary and secondary schools attended. In June, there was an LVE Educator Workshop for teachers at a primary school at the Hague.
On July 10, the information LVE association became formally incorporated as the Foundation of Living Values Education.
In August, Marlies van Loon attended the general Assembly of ALIVE at Crêt Bérard, Switzerland, and assumed the position of LVE Coordinator/Focal Point for LVE in the Netherlands.
In November, a new group of LVE trainers held their first LVEP workshop for teachers of nursery schools and primary schools in the Netherlands
On December 13, there was a formal launching of the Living Values Activities books in Dutch in cooperation with BZN in Belgium. On December 14, there was a formal launching of the books in the Netherlands, at the Vrijzinnig Christelijk Lyceum (a secondary school) in the Hague. Dr. Neil Hawks gave a "beautiful and convincing presentation about Living Values Education. He made teachers and pupils laugh about themselves, he let them love themselves, he showed how to take students seriously without losing authority; it was simply great!"
In 2005, there was a search for a translator and editor for the process of translating the Living Values Education series of five books into Dutch. A meeting was held between Marlies van Loon and Marleen de Jonckheere with BZN (Bond Zonder Naam) in Antwerpen Belgium. They made a decision to cooperate closely. Marleen found funds for the translation of the LVEP books into Flemish/Dutch.
From 2000 to 2004, the LVE working group met at the Hague three or four times a year under the leadership of then LVE Coordinator Karen Derks, with Marie-Lisette Derks, Nanette with the Design Academy Eindhoven, Marlies van Loon and people from a variety of faith groups interested in values education.