Living Values - Reaching out to the Community
What the World Needs Now
An invitation and simple expression of hope
Boulevard - a prestigious shopping mall in Kuwait - kindly granted the Kuwait American School a large wall and floor space to display the student and family shoe/tissue boxes, and to invite shoppers to add one value to a tree expressing 'What the World Needs Now'.Hundreds of shoppers, including parents and students from school visited the exhibition that was 'manned' by members of the Student Council and the Living Values Team.Under the banner of 'World Values Day' (re-visited), 271 responses were shared by the participants, as per the photograph, to express Love as the top value with 103 responses followed by Happiness/Joy, Care/Caring. Respect, Peace and Kindness. In total, 64 values were referenced.
There were many touching moments with families lifting their children to add their value to the higher branches of the tree, families taking photographs next to their exhibited box, elders embracing the moment and the community simply sharing what matters to them from the heart.
One 5 year old child simply wrote: 'We need forgiving' and one adult wrote: 'Pay Forward - I'm ready to pass on my positive values, knowledge and learning skills to others to make the world better'. Perhaps the most touching response was: 'Love yourself'.
Adding to the values expressed from the 'World Values Day' shoe box and tissue box displays - (with the chosen value on top of the box, what it meant to them on one side, and how to show it/ live it on the three other sides) - the students and their families, together with the community at large, drew inspiration from the event sharing that we all seek:
- Peace in the World
- Happiness in the Heart
- Respect for All
- Honesty in all that we say and do
- Kindness for Each Other
- Care for our Natural World.
Living Values Education, we concluded, brings hope, that together we can each make a difference to help heal and create a better world.
World Values Day 2022 Activity
'Love in the Home and 'Peace in the World'
'Love in the Home and 'Peace in the World' were the top value choices for 223 families at the Kuwait American School during a 'Shoe Box/ Tissue Box' activity for World Values Day. The theme: 'Every Brick Counts' represented each family value contribution to be placed on a 'Wall of Values' for all to see.
How was this achieved?
The Celebration of Community Values began with each child being invited to find an old tissue box or shoe box and cover it with paper. After the boxes were painted in school during the Art class, the boxes went home for families to consider answers to 3 important questions:
1. What value is most important at home?
2. What does that value mean to you?
3. How can you show that value in a practical way?
After much sharing, often with extended families, the top value was written on top of the box, 'what it means to them' written on one side, and 'how to practically show it' written and/or illustrated on the remaining 3 sides. Finally, the boxes were decorated and brought to school where every child confidently and excitedly spoke about their box, their values and their choices.
The boxes, adorned with many values and forms of expression, were then placed on 'The Wall of Values' for all to see silently adding individual voices to what makes each one of us valuable, unique, worthy and full of innate universal values.
The Wall of Values
Parents gathered to see their 'brick' with their child and the children brought their parents to the wall, too! These were heart-felt moments where everyone's voice was heard, vision appreciated and understood.
The top 6 family values are: Love - 88, Joy/Happiness - 30, Respect - 27 followed by Peace, Honesty and Kindness.
The jewels of values expressed both individually and collectively eloquently reached the hearts of us all with two key findings:
1. We care about values in our lives as a foundation to all that we think, say and do.
2. We discovered that these values are our values with the priority of values meaning different things to different people over time.
The highlight of World Values Day was our Courtyard Assembly where one student elected representative from each KG1 to Grade 8 class shared their tissue/ shoebox values to include love, kindness, happiness, courage, freedom, respect and peace - what it meant to them, their family and community. Our Middle and High School students beautifully expressed their views on hope, humility, peace, humanity, integrity and honesty. During the day, our Grade 11 students collaborated in Language Arts and Social Studies to produce an excellent performance, for Middle and High School students, related to Slavery. The responses from the audience reflected a clear chord in us all -
'Learn from mistakes of the past,
move on and live your noblest values
by choosing to live in your values'.
All the students and staff wore especially printed white tee-shirts for the day and joined the senior staff who sang a newly created values song, adapted from 'I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes' that celebrated the values that we all hold deep inside and grow when we give them away.
The Tree of Values
In addition to the Tissue/ Shoe Box activity, parents were invited to answer one key question:
'What value does the world need now?'
212 responses were written by parents and senior students on apple shaped stick notes and added to the Tree of Values. In total, for both activities, 97 values were referenced from 496 responses.
The top 6 Parent/Senior School responses for 'What the World needs now' were Peace - 50, Love- 38, Respect - 31 followed by Kindness, Joy/ Happiness and Honesty.
The Next Steps
The whole occasion is still gathering momentum with an exhibition of the student's boxes being prepared at a local shopping mall with a 'new Tree of Values' awaiting for the wider community to add apples to the tree.
In Kuwait, the government's top agenda item, at the time of writing, is to nurture' virtuous values' to strengthen unity and community. We can each play our part, with one thing for sure - with thanks to Living Values Education - the sense of KAS family continues to grow stronger and stronger with every student simply being the best version of themselves in both character and learning.
And worldwide - a thought - if we can replicate these findings across the globe in all cultures - what are families and parents seeking?
'Love in the Home' and 'Peace in the World'.
Sunny greetings! We've just had an amazing International Week out here with a values-based Climate Change twist for the whole school. The event was essentially student led using LV materials and their own research. Community speakers came from local environmental groups, an oil company, and UNHCR. It was great for the students especially now that the school is getting back to normal... whatever that may be!
Addressing Climate Change through a values-based solutions approach
The students at the K-12 Living Values Based Kuwait American School brought their own solutions to climate change that affect us all by addressing a range of issues though teamwork, support from experts in the community, using the Living Values materials and in depth research with mountains of enthusiasm, passion, commitment and a student council led action plan.
Save Our Oceans
The KG students focused on the Oceans and what we can do practically to play our part. Their guest speaker from the 'Ocean Minded' youth initiative shared a story on Planet Earth, with the help of two able puppets who asked the students what we can do. The photo shows how their corridor was transformed into an ocean. The Living Values 3-7 materials on Caring for Our Oceans proved so valuable to help focus young minds and nurture responses.
KG1 Students and their Ocean Display
'Show you care. Don't throw rubbish.'
The Elementary students received a passport to visit each of the 10 classrooms where climate change issues were simply identified together with simple student generated solutions that we can all do to play our part. As you entered the room, the door was decorated with an issue and a solution tree as illustrated with the Grade 4 class on Amazon De-afforestation.
Grade 4 Door Amazon Tree
The younger Elementary students focused on animals and plants with, for example, the issues facing penguins. Solution: stop dropping trash that pollutes our waters. Why? What we do here in Kuwait affects penguins! So"¦.save penguins..
'Show Respect. Show Responsibility. Stop polluting water.'
The older Elementary students also received a presentation from Ocean Minded into the issues that affect us all including a significant focus on our carbon footprint and how to reduce it. A particular insight was the beginning of adding carbon footprint data onto restaurant menu choices to inform the customer of the carbon footprint data. The shift to less high carbon footprint meals towards more low carbon footprint vegetarian choices has become an informed option. KAS is a vegetarian school.
Amazon Natural Nature v's Human Impact
Amongst other issues addressed with solutions generated by the students in a personal, collective and practical way included: the consequences and solutions to de-forestation, soil erosion, the emergence of global forest fires, the increase in desert land mass, rising temperatures, and the effect of pesticides on our planet and ourselves.
(Note: Temperatures in Kuwait regularly exceed 50c in summer. In 2021, the maximum recorded desert temperature was 67c. - BBC documentary 'Life above 50'.
'Think of Mother Nature and your impact on it before you choose what to do.'
The Senior School students deep dived into their own chosen issues with easy to understand research information illustrated with practical solutions expressed through displays and dialogue to all their peers.
The issues addressed included: the pros and cons of nuclear energy, the sinking of lands creating flooding, the rising of ocean water levels placing islands at risk of submerging, the loss of coral reefs, the melting of glaciers, food security, electric cars, solar panels, the effect of wars on food security and pollution, planting trees, smart houses, carbon footprints and national, cultural and ocean life.
Solutions included raising awareness, being the example, making ethical choices, working together, supporting each other, planning together across cultures, making commitments, sticking to them and having the 'willpower' to make a difference.
'Be Ethical. Be Leaders by Example.'
Living as a Fish - a visual and tactile experience
One particular visual and tactile experience was 'What would it be like to live as a fish?' The classroom floor was colored blue. As you entered the room, fine strands of paper were hung from the ceiling catching your head.
The question as you walked in the room:
'What would it feel like to be a fish swimming in these waters?'
A little further, empty plastic bottles were hung from the ceiling to head height. Then the question:
'What would it feel like to be a fish swimming these waters full of plastic bottles?'
And finally, the last question as you walk through the bottles:
'Would you swim in these waters?'
The message was simple:
Many models adorned the student displays with many simply showing a before and after scenario.
- The effect of petrol fumes on the environment v's electric cars.
- The tidiness inside your house v's the untidiness outside your house.
- Land and lifestyle before flooding v's land and lifestyle after flooding.
The Role of UNHCR
Representatives on the United Nations High Commission for Refugees provided an exhibition and informed the students that climate migration is an issue with one person per second, on average, being displaced due to weather. All the students were invited to write what they would like refugees to receive on a giving tree.
UNHCR Tree of Wishes
Love, Hope, Commitment and Good News
We can each play our part with love and respect.
Living Values - LVRUS and the importance of living in your values - resonated with everyone. Ocean Minded's simple slogan: 'Love, Respect and Protect' added to the heart of everyone. A guest speaker from the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation give a heart-felt talk with the Middle School students on how the oil industry is cleaning the way it processes waste.
- Did you know that excess gas is only released when cleaned?
- Did you know that excess gas is recycled by pressuring it back into the ground to pump the oil upwards?
Guests from the community 'Green Hands Environmental Team' illustrated the great strides that Kuwait has made to 'green' the country with conservation areas and nature reserves, amongst many other initiatives.
One Day was dedicated to 'Carbon Footprint Day' where events included bringing unwanted items to re-use and donate to good causes.
What values emerged during the 4 day 'in depth' dive that culminated in the myriad of student presentations?
With the support of excellent materials from the Living Values Education books, the key words included:
Care, Love, Awareness, Consideration, Respect, Protect, Cooperation, Simplicity, Teamwork, Commitment, Listening, Creativity, Hope and Vision to mention a few.
The Value of Simplicity
Perhaps the most effective value was simplicity - something easily understandable with a simple message and simple solution to which we can all play our part?
'Aim for Simple Living, Honest Thinking and Living in Your Values'
School Wide Commitment
In support of UNESCO's Sustainable Goals, the program ended, as it began, with the Student Council and Senior Students who were the driving force and ambassadors for the Climate Change week.
The suggested solutions from the Living Values Education Young Adults book pages 281 to 282 generated much discussion, not only with a heart-felt personal commitment, but with a class by class vote of which one, or more than one commitment, the school will adopt.
Use less water. Don't buy unnecessary things. Avoid single use plastics.
Adopt a Reuse, Reduce and Recycle mindset.
Choose one thing to do.
'Creating green areas for planting' and 'Promoting diets with a low carbon footprint'
The week was full of passion, learning, sharing, awareness, gratitude and creativity. Together, we appreciated that can each make a difference through values-based solution approaches with optimism, commitment and youthful enterprise.
Save the Environment
Addressing Climate Change through a values-based solutions approaches is something for us all.
Living Values Education at Kuwait American School
Ioanna Vasileiadou shares her experience with LVE, and its positive effects on students and the staff, while teaching at the innovative Kuwait American School in Kuwait. A highly experienced educator, trainer and mentor for Living Values Education, she worked at this kindergarten through 12th grade school for 18 years.
Watch the video here and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Living Values Festival "” Be the Change
It was a joy to watch the smiles and feel the happiness in the hearts of children, parents and friends at the very first Living Values Festival in Kuwait as they came to live and rediscover their values. The many enthralling activities were creatively conceived and designed by Ioanna Vasileiadou and lovingly crafted through the teamwork of the Student Council, parents, colleagues and members of the wider community at the Kuwait American School. The purpose of the six hour event was simple: 'Be the Change'.
The many interwoven values-based themes placed a strong emphasis on choosing to 'Live Your Values in Ethical Ways' through, amongst others, valuing the collection and re-using of recycling materials, creative artwork, fun filled games, healthy eating, physical activities and especially awakening the inner world of values.
The pictures show that many of the activities were especially designed and hand crafted to add authenticity to the occasion. Friends of Living Values Education who read this are warmly invited to consider adopting some of the activities in their own contexts.
1. Creating the Atmosphere
Great care and time was taken to create a loving, colorful, attractive and safe environment welcoming everyone to the Festival. Soft pastel shades of fine cotton drapes were carefully selected and adorned the courtyard overhead together with painted umbrellas around the fencing. A stage for performances was constructed, and cleverly painted old car tyres with specially designed cushions were set around tables made from recycled pallets. Little touches of authenticity included values statements on tables, values-based blessing cards, flowers, simple quotations, values-based banners designed by the children and cheerfully played soft music to uplift the spirit.
One of the many highlights was the creation of a values-based garden. These wooden boxes, each painted with a different value, for example, joy, happiness, respect, etc "” are now around the school with 'Peace and Love' adorning the entrance. The children's comments, with pure pride: 'This is the flower I planted'.
Highlighted in the following photographs are many examples that brought much joy for children and their mums and dads.
2, Creativity and Design using Recycling Materials
Look out for:
Canvas Art and the painting of used CD's. The completed canvas is now in the school's Etiquette Room.
Lantern Making using recycled jam jars.
Art Decorations using recycled materials and feathers.
3D Recycling Creativity using larger materials.
Angel Photography against a much-loved angel picture kindly created by community artist Michelle Pfeiffer.
Other activities included:
Dream Catcher Making to catch the best dreams.
Designing Jewelry "” the winner of which would have their design professionally made and marketed by Sula's Shop.
Design a Values-Based Banner and peg it on a washing line.
3. Values-Based Games
Look out for:
The Jenga Game hand made from wooden blocks with different values written on the side. A very popular game.
Floor Chess with pieces made from recycled plastic bottles and card.
Treasure Hunting "” a fun filled exploration game where plastic diamonds of different sizes and colors were hidden in the play area for young and old to discover.
Everyone was a winner and received a mini heart and values card on ring.
Other activities included:
Archery "” very popular "” can you hit the target?
Bowling "” can you hit the target?
Matching Game "” participants were invited to answer questions with multiple choice answers.
4. Inner World Values-Based Activities
Look out for:
The Virtues Wheel fun filled activity where children spun the handmade wheel to discover the deeper meaning of their chosen values.
The Virtue Scope Activity that was very popular with older children and parents.
The Wishing Tree where everyone was invited to write a wish on prepared blank cards and then put the card on the tree for all to see.
This tree is now at the welcoming entrance to the school along with the Garden Boxes.
Signs and Quotes added to the atmosphere and the interest.
Other activities included:
The Worries Free Pot where children and adults privately sat in a comfortable area behind beautiful drapes to listen to soft music on headphones and write down their worries and give them away to the 'Swan Pot'.
It was touching to note that most worries were about relationships and the future of the world.
5. During the Day
Non-stop entertainment took place during the day including: musical performances from children, children with teachers and guests who gave freely of their time.
One particular highlight was the sharing of a play from the Kindergarten Teaching team about a young child who took comfort from her ever listening grandmother while her parents and teachers were always engaged with social media. All was well in the end when the family came together to listen, to read and talk with one another.
Healthy Eating and Healthy Lifestyle
Special emphasis was also placed on healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle. The day started with a yoga session, followed by a hoola-hoop demonstration and a child hoola-hoop session that captivated us all.
'Non-junk food' by way of only vegetarian and vegan options from, amongst others BE and Ginger, were well attended and thoroughly enjoyed. A healthy vegetarian food competition for mums and dads was also enjoyed by all as everyone tasted their lovingly made creations.
Towards the end of the day, an especially prepared sweet kindly donated by Harmony House and a values card were offered to everyone.
The Promise of Tomorrow
All in all "” a lot of hard work went into the preparation with long lasting memories that matched the joys of a values filled day with full hearts and happiness for all.
Living Values Education, Kuwait, is grateful to everyone who gave from their heart and made the day a significant success.
Submitted by Peter Williams
Live your Life: A skit about the effects of social media
This skit, "Live your Life", was presented at the Living Values Festival in Kuwait.
It was a beautiful Spring Day "” a perfect day to enjoy the simple outdoors. Nada was very excited and anxious to go out and play.
She ran to her mum who was sitting on the park bench.
'Mum, mum"¦..Look at my picture', she said.
Mum was too busy looking at her mobile phone and ignored her daughter.
'Mum. Mum', continued Nada, 'But you're right here!'
Mum replied: 'Send me an email'.
Nada continued speaking to herself: 'Oh-ho!! I just knew it! Never time for me"¦"¦.always on the phone!'
Poor Nada was so disappointed and tired with her teacher who was sitting next to her mum.
'Hello Ms Maria', she said to her teacher, but there was no response.
It's not surprising. She had one eye on her laptop and one on her i-pad and was checking her phone in-between time!
Nada tugged at her teacher to get her attention, but this only caused her teacher to get angry!
Nada knew it was no use. She just sat down in the grass.
It wasn't but a few minutes later when along came her dad. All his concentration was on his phone as he by-passed his daughter without even a glance and sat on the bench.
Nada was so happy to see her dad. She immediately jumped up and ran to him. His face was just blank as he stared into his phone. He couldn't be bothered.
Well, she knew exactly what to do. She went to her Grandma.
As soon as Nada asked her grandmother to look at her picture, there was no hesitation. Grandma praised her and they talked about all the details of the lovely picture.
'Let's see what else we can do today? said Grandma, 'Play bubbles, ball, read a story?'
And that's exactly what they did!
'Hey, Granny, come and look at these ants"¦..aren't they amazing?'
Grandma never hesitated to do anything Nada wanted to do, or look at anything Nada wanted to do, or look at anything Nada wanted her to see.
'Yes, they sure are amazing, dear!' said Grandma.
It wasn't long before laughter came roaring from Nada and her grandmother. It actually got her mother's attention who joined them and also began to laugh, which had a domino effect on her teacher and father who also joined in.
It wasn't long before they all joined in, in a game of catch. Afterwards they read a story together.
Keep this in mind!
You can't upload love "” You can't download time
You can't Google all of life's answers!!
You must actually live some of your life!
The play finished with everyone singing 'It's a Wonderful World'.
Nada - Nada Al-Karmi
Mum - Hadeel Jarrar
Father - Nadia Al-Jallad
Teacher - Maria Toll
Grandma - Alaa Abdullah
2017 Current Status
Bringing LVE's Theoretical Model to Life in a Practical Way
Peter Williams, the former president of ALIVE and the Head Teacher of the Kuwait American School, shared a wonderful experience: "Today was the first day of the new academic year at the K-12 Living Values-Based Kuwait American School for all 70 staff. We began by sharing Living Values Education's theoretical model in a living way by way of the World Cake activity from "Living Values Activities for Children Ages 8-14".
Members of the KG staff began to make the cake by stepped forth to represent a huge circular baking tin that could turn at varying speeds to mix the ingredients. Putting the ingredients into the cake began by them inviting 2 colleagues to bring a value ingredient of their choice into the cake to be baked. They, in turn, invited 2 more colleagues who in turn invited 2 more colleagues. So there was 8, then 16, then all. Imagine the staff speaking their value as they entered the cake mix "” and then bouncing up and down or waving their arms as they cooked their values "” amazingly all different values with the tin spinning!
Then the bad guy came "” me "” to take out one ingredient "” the appreciation ingredient. You can imagine how the caring staff shouted 'no' and clung on to the educator who brought appreciation to the cake.
Living Values is for all in our KAS cake "” students, parents and faculty. We cooperate and learn together in an atmosphere of LVRUS "” Love, Values, Respect, Understanding and Safety where there is no place for put downs.
What did we learn?
The educators come from 33 different countries/ cultures, each with their own gifts, learning and teaching approaches "¦ and own set of personal and shared values. We were amazed to discover that there were so many different values that we all understood. The same will, of course, apply to our students.
The Life Skills Approach that Matters
We all have values and beautiful qualities inside of us "” yet do we take time to understand what really matters to each and every child to discover their innate gifts, approaches to learning and individual set of personal and shared values? That's why the school educates for values, resilience and life skills. Looking at the world today, there are many youngsters waiting to be listened to and some who are bullied or stigmatized for having values-based issues "” sometimes defined as personal or mental or well-being issues.
Perhaps a growing awareness of a 4 step practical living values-based approach will help to add voices to what really matters to us all:
a. What are your values?
b. What are your shared study place/workplace values? Are they understood and in alignment with your own?
c. How can we come together so that our shared values blend to help students and one another?
d. How can we genuinely add to what matters for us all?
The next step will be to share the same with our students as they learn to navigate their lives with hope, resilience, identity and a belief in what really matters."
Kuwait: World Values Day
World Values Day was for everyone at the Kuwait American School as we joined hands with children around the world to take part and celebrate in our Festival of Values.
The day began with a very special assembly where the teachers acted out how to live in your values and invited all children to model the same. Each child, wearing their own specially designed values tee-shirt, joined in the heart-felt occasion with songs, dance and especially a quiet reflection upon the language of values and how to give them away.
The first pictures show the theme of our World Values Day and our youngest children wearing their tee shirts with a diamond necklace that represented the beauty of their values. The second picture captures the expression of one child symbolically reaching out to help others.
In the courtyard was a Values Tree upon which the youngest children added the names of their favorite values. The older children added values statements as leaves upon the tree.
At 11am, the whole school of 650 students, ages 2 to 18 years, educators, administrators and the ladies who assist around the school came together in the courtyard for two minutes of Peace Time. It was a very special moment for us all as we gave our love and feelings of peace to our one world. The silence was filled with 'something' and no-one wanted to leave.
In a world of values, we reminded ourselves that we all have much to give that only we can give. And, as one child shared: 'That was my best day ever'. We all agreed and the mums and dads at home who shared in the day did too!
Educators Take Time Out for Themselves
In December,33 participants from schools across Kuwait gave up their Saturday to attend a seminar on Living Values Education. We shared many practicalities that can be used in the everyday classroom - yet one activity stood out. It was Peace Time - Time for Me - a time to stop during the day to be quiet, to reflect and to be still. We discovered that what the students needed to help create a positive learning environment, we, as educators need too!
How was this achieved? We switched the lights off and everyone was invited to close their eyes. A guided commentary by way of a story, first for the ears of children accompanied by very soft music, was led by Dina Eidan, followed by a 'personal reflection' guided commentary on the qualities of an educator from Ioanna Vasileiadou for the educators. Silence and stillness filled the room. No-one wanted to leave the moment with educators feeling loved, valued, respected, understood and safe.
How often do we, as educators, take 'Time Out for ourselves?' to live the very moments we seek to bring to our students?
As an outcome of the day, the introduction of Peace Time and 'Stilling' activities in the everyday classroom is continuing to grow in this turbulent, yet hopeful part of the world, helping to uplift the hearts, minds and spirit of children of all ages - including ourselves.
Kuwait: Living Values Goes Green in Kuwait
"This April we put together a few concepts and activities to celebrate and help spread awareness to Recycling, Reducing and Reusing," reported Duaa Mansour, the Focal Point for LVE in Kuwait. "On Earth week we had a Recycling Fashion Show Event that took place at the Kuwait American School. It was an evening in which the students created a wardrobe of outfits using Recycled materials. Also, during this week the elementary department managed to put together an assembly showcasing sculptures and 3D models of recycled materials they brought from home and created in Art class. During Art and Science classes the students talked about the importance of recycling, reducing and reusing materials usually thrown out.
There is a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have a limited amount of resources available and more and more people using them up. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard of living we've experienced, we need to take action.
Don't you want to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices into your classroom, home and office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect our ecosystems.
In order to conserve a clean beautiful earth to live in it is how we begin teaching students at a young age the importance of recycling. Students are like sponges and observe information well if they learn about it starting with early childhood education and continuing throughout their school years. They should be aware of the importance of recycling, and therefore I strongly believe each school should implement into their lesson plans a lesson of recycling in order for the students to begin recycling themselves. Students should learn about the causes and effects of recycling and from there teach their families of the importance of it if their families don't contribute to recycling themselves. They need to know why recycling will conserve a better earth to live in.
First of all we need to educate on why we need to recycle. It is very important to help our earth by recycling and letting our children know there are several reasons why we should recycle versus why we should not recycle. One reason to recycle would be different products that we use take years to decompose when we just simply throw them away in our trash cans. We can help our world by recycling and sorting the items out properly which will result in us re-using it instead of waiting years for it to decompose in a landfill. The more we recycle the more we help out. By recycling we can reduce the prices of products because it lowers the cost of making new products each time they are wasted. Recycling reduces our dependence of landfills.
The more we recycle the less we have to use the landfills to decompose materials or products. The less land we are harming results in the more land we are conserving by recycling products. Another reason to recycle would be it protects our earth and our own health. We might ask ourselves how recycling protects our health but indeed it does. Harmful substances are decomposed and we inhale all of their remains. It is not healthy to inhale these dangerous substances and by recycling such products we can prevent this from occurring. Recycling also conserves our natural resources. It decreases the need for raw substances. Many have thought that if we don't recycle we will run out of room to put all of our trash. Just imagine how many people there are on earth and how much trash each citizen produces. Eventually if we continue to not recycle we will indeed run out of spaces to put all of our trash. One of the main reasons we should teach our students to recycle is to reduce global warming. Reducing global warming will help us conserve our precious earth. Schools can help us teach our students about recycling. Students can learn about recycling by actually taking part of it both at school and at home.
From a rapidly greening Kuwait, we invite you to join hands to help our Earth. Go Green!"
What LVE Has Meant to the High School Graduating Class at KAS
The Kuwait American School (KAS) was founded on the Living Values Education Program in 1999. Many of the graduating students from Grade 12 have benefited from the school's Living Values Education program for 15 years - from their early childhood days to young adult maturity. They are now entering the world as global citizens.
Rawan Koujah spoke on behalf of her classmates during her Graduation with Honors acceptance speech in June 2014. Rawan is now studying Medicine at the University of Dublin.
An excerpt from her Acceptance Speech:
"With doors opening of various beginnings - rich with fascinating opportunities - we are gathered here to celebrate the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one with pure independence, responsibility and courage.
Our school has the dream of influencing and awakening the utmost capabilities of a person's positive powers and to educate and enlighten its students and staff through its core base: living values. The vision is to graduate you all - not only with high academic knowledge - but of high moral standards that depends on a person's ethics, values, goodness and attitude towards life itself.
For us all, the process was not easy to carry out. Expecting responses to these teachings required patience and a strong source of belief. Sometimes we did not understand for in the end we are human.
As time went by, we began to unravel the secrets behind such values: respect, tolerance, honesty and other values. The walls around us were disassembling - slowly fading away - creating a family of our own, a family of students and teachers. What others called school, we called family. And travelling deep into the family, lied our class; a family within a family.
Many of you may ponder as to what makes our bond so special? No, our relationships were not flawless. As a class we had our ups and downs. However, with faith and determination, and acceptance, we managed to overcome various obstacles. When our paths seemed to diverge, the paths always managed to meet again. We traveled together, as a pack, never leaving a person behind, constantly encouraging the next step to be taken. When others feared, the rest would assure. When some fell, the rest lifted. Together we grew. Together we flourished. We saw through the flaws of each and every classmate and discovered the beauty within. We had many unforgettable moments.
However, now ends this phase and begins a journey to test our endurance and individuality. A journey built on the foundation of our childhood, our values and time together. Now, we stand before various paths, at the end of an intersection. Soon we will part our ways, choosing the path which suits our individual interest. However, none will be forgotten, for each one us here will travel, holding onto a piece of the soul of the others.
LVE Grows and Teachers Create Toolkits - What the children need, we need
Character and values-based education is steadily growing in Kuwait through the development, sharing and living of a universality of values that are adapted to culture and context.
Parents, in particular, are requesting more values-based learning as witnessed by the opening of the Living Values-based Toddler's Town Q8 School for children aged 2 to 5 years. Their Director, Haya Alsenafi and Educational Specialist, Rashaa Al-Abdulghafar, are very enthusiastic about Living Values Education and have trained all their staff into the Living Values Education approach with Duaa Mansour, as shown by the enclosed photographs.
The Kuwait American School continues to be a model school for Living Values Education attracting visitors from near and far to witness the effectiveness of its 15 years of experience.
Helen Sayers, the Focal Point for Oman, conducted a two day training on 'Modeling Values' to all 60 staff members in August 2014. Two particular highlights were the development of 'Quiet Time' and the development of practicalities to help 'Empower and Sustain yourself in the classroom'. Quiet time included a number of reflection activities including visualization, commentary and especially 'quietly being' - the latter which is very important in the Middle East where children of all ages are disturbed by current events.
With regard to empowering and sustaining yourself in the classroom, the photograph shows one of 9 groups sharing their 'tool kit' creativity. Using everyday items as a metaphor, all groups were invited to create a number of tools to help sustain themselves in their demanding professional role. The illustrated example, from six colleagues representing six countries follows:
- A Clock - for time management
- An Infinity Sign - for patience
- Food - for healthy body
- Hot Drink - for refreshing the mind
- A Sofa - for relaxing
- A Book - for giving and receiving knowledge
- Two People - to share together and cooperate
- A Mirror - for reflection
- Two Pillars - for support in all you do
- Alone Time - for Quietly Being
- Love - to keep us going
Many other metaphors were created by the other groups including: Roots of trees leading to happiness, Nature for calm and peace, peace of mind, positive energy and clouds of happiness, A Cuddly bear for security, A Chocolate bar to keep things sweet, A Key to 'open their hearts', A Calendar for organization, Sticky plasters for healing, and the image of a Swan - to see the best in all and not only the ugly duckling.
Together, everyone shared the same sustainability issues in a light hearted way though with a deep meaning. It showed that we all have the same issues to manage each day whatever role we play as educators and that what the students need, we need too!
Living Values Education, we felt, is for all. Adding values to internationalism is our next step. It's a vision to which Living Values Education in Kuwait is happy to continue to contribute, to share and to learn.
Evidence That Modeling Our Values Creates a Better World
The State of Kuwait, guided by the exceptional leadership of the country, has been awarded 'International Humanitarian Centre' status by the United Nations and its leader the honor as 'Humanitarian Leader'. The award to this small, yet big-hearted, desert nation reflects values in action. For example, the natural giving and sharing by the many nationalities that inhabitant these lands, the reaching out with practical care for those in other countries, and the care for the environment including the blooming of the desert. Billboards and hoardings speak of honesty, trust, choice, freedom, innovation and peace; sponsored family walks raise thousands for good causes, individuals have established happiness ventures, and, amongst others, schools and universities have embraced ethical values and character development in their curriculum.
Our children are our leaders of tomorrow and exemplify hope for a better world. For example, a recent visit by the Kuwait American School to the children's cancer ward at a national hospital invited in love for the unwell children and also an opportunity to appreciate that values are everywhere - as shown by the nurse's values board in the photograph.
Recently, I was also touched by a very large invitational poster, designed by a child, at the well frequented Scientific Center. Children were invited to write their comments upon the theme 'Stop animal cruelty'. Out of the hundreds in many languages, one particularly caught my eye. She stated: 'Just like us, animals have feelings, a soul and a heart. Let's stop killing them and start loving them'.
Values from the heart embrace change for good and one of the leading institutions in the field continues to be the Kuwait American School who are to be congratulated upon its full accreditation, at their first attempt, by the Council for International Schools. The school started its Living Values Education journey in September 1999 and, as the first Living Values Education-based school to grow from the root in the Middle East, it has grown to be the first K-12 fully accredited Living Values Education international school in the world with a family of over 30+ nationalities and 500+ students. Their model and their way have been shared with so many.
What did the visiting team of august educators highlight that echoed the atmosphere and learning qualities that radiate throughout so many Living Values Education schools around the world? Their comments commended:
- The teaching staff for their dedication to the spirit of the Living Values and the warm, supportive relationship between staff and students.
- The Living Values ethos which promotes the characteristics of fairness, trust and mutual respect.
- The students for embracing the Living Values Education approach and demonstrating it in their day-to-day life.
- The Student Council which offers so many leadership opportunities for students and promotes global citizenship.
- The positive impression of the school in terms of its feel and open culture providing honest, considered dialogue.
- The warm classroom environment where the needs of the students are met with respect,
- And perhaps the most touching: 'What is it about the feel in this school? You can almost touch it. Everyone is happy - students, parents and teachers - and learning and living together so well".
The poster picture, designed by a member of staff at KAS, with the words 'Let us feel the divine energy of light bringing newness of life!' carries a message of one example of how we can live our values with newness and hope.
There is an intuitive knowing in these lands that words are not enough - you have to live and model them. Many individuals, schools, universities and institutions are quietly becoming examples of a 'better way' - a values-based way.
Living Values Education is blossoming into many forms. The true evidence is in ourselves and the way we model our goodness. Kuwait is an example to learn from - and so, too, the children of all ages who are a living model of the world of their values.
Healing and Happiness through Art
There is a growing amount of evidence in Kuwait that Art is a very powerful healing and happiness medium for expressing and sharing our inner world through non-verbal expressions that bypass verbal defences. Within this international community, and supported by the facilitation of Living Values trainer Dua'a Mansour and visual arts experts here in Kuwait, youngsters and adults have been strengthening their skills and understanding of their inner world of values through Art in many ways. For example, painting 'Umbrellas for Peace' as part of the global Matt Lamb initiative has graced schools and universities, and the 'Recycled Art' initiative has empowered youth to re-use materials to exhibit their work in public places.
The pursuit of happiness and health in life is a foundation we often forget in the rush to be created 'to be someone' rather than, as youth would wish, to create a life of health and happiness 'from the heart'. Key to Art Therapy's success are the youth, who, through their wishing to reach out and heal our world, set creative living examples of what can be achieved with regard to healing ourselves with self-respect, helping to heal others with listening, understanding and practical help, and healing the environment by caring for and protecting our natural habitats.
To assist in this process, Living Values Education has been reaching out to assist the living values foundation for newly opened schools, embarking on 'hands on' environmental programs, assisting the development of Living Values Education in neighboring countries especially in the field of reflective practices, and continuing to train educators into the LVE methodologies and assisting educators to explore the virtues of Art. The photo reflects one image from the Art Therapy program at an international school. Experience is indicating that words have different meanings in different contexts, and so, too, has Art. Art is for everyone and so, too, are our shared values.
Students Respond: What does it mean to be in a Living Values School?
Two high school students wrote the following together when asked the question: What does it mean to be a Living Values School? They have been enrolled at the Kuwait American School, a LVE Model School, since they were young children. "In our eyes, it's a school that values the lives of each and every single student. It's not a school that forces a student to abide by one rule saying it's our way or the highway, but a school that wants students to be themselves; a school that doesn't close doors in your face, but keeps them open long enough for you to walk through. It's a school that says yes to your hopes, yes to your dreams, and gives you whatever you need to achieve your goals. They are telling you to shoot for the moon, and even if you miss, you will land among the stars, rather than get burnt by the sun th