ReThink has partnered with Project Happiness, a US non-governmental organisation, to bring the Project Happiness curriculum to Trinidad and Tobago. This curriculum focuses primarily on teaching children how to find happiness and how to cultivate one’s own authentic happiness. It covers topics such as gratitude, empathy, tolerance and embracing your strengths. These “soft” skills are often overlooked in schools under the assumption that children learn them innately or at home. By teaching children these skills from an early age, they are better equipped, emotionally and socially, to handle life’s challenges as they mature.
The Project Happiness curriculum has been implemented worldwide in schools and community groups in over eighty countries. However it is the first of its kind to have been implemented in Trinidad and Tobago and has been adapted to suit the local education system.
The Project Happiness curriculum is a teacher-friendly programme that offers step-by-step lessons to facilitate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and resilience-building exercises in the classroom. SEL is a process for helping children develop the fundamental skills necessary to navigate effectively through life. These skills include:
Real and lasting happiness, the kind that remains regardless of any change in external circumstances, can be achieved by anyone. Both ReThink and Project Happiness believe in providing the means to help spread happiness and overall well-being. For children especially, there is the need to help build a foundation for happy, successful and meaningful lives. We both understand the importance of investing in a child’s development and this Project Happiness curriculum is one major step in providing the lifelong tools and techniques needed to cultivate happiness in our nation’s children.
Real and lasting happiness, the kind that remains regardless of any change in external circumstances, can be achieved by anyone.
Our Progress to Date:
For the period September 2014 to June 2015 the Project Happiness programme has been implemented in ten schools across the nation to a total of 431 students. Project Happiness has been implemented in the following schools:
- Happy Hill Hindu School: One of two of the first schools to introduce Project Happiness to their curriculum, Happy Hill Hindu enrolled 16 Standard 3 students in the programme. It was very well received by both teachers, students, and parents alike and ReThink continues to work with the faculty and students through initiatives like our International Day of Happiness drive and our Enlightenment Intervention for educators.
- Morvant Epiphany Anglican School: An earlier adopter of Project Happiness, Morvant Epiphany saw 74 students from 3 classes complete the course. The school community embraced the teachings and the students in particular demonstrated a more positive outlook by the end of the term.
- Don Miguel Hindu School: Forty-eight Standard 3 students eagerly participated in Project Happiness at Don Miguel Hindu School. Their enthusiasm was mirrored by the faculty, who fully bought into the programme. In fact, several teacher’s interest in ReThink’s initiatives extended beyond the classroom with some of them volunteering at several of our events, including, The Gift.
- Reform Hindu School: The reception at Reform Hindu school was overwhelming with all 29 Standard 3 and 4 students embracing the programme fully. The small groups made it even easier to engage the pupils who completed their assignments with enthusiasm.
- San Fernando SDA Primary School: The largest group to date, the San Fernando SDA has already graduated 93 students from the programme and they have signed on for another term with the school’s Standard 3 classes, along with special program follow-up programme the for Standard 4 and 5 pupils who have already completed the course. ReThink is also working closely with the school’s principal to develop a workshop for parents and teachers to involve everyone in the process. San Fernando SDA remains a shining example of the positive effects Project Happiness is having in the nation’s classrooms.
- Cipero RC School: The youngest group of students to participate in the course thus far, Cipero RC enrolled Standard 3, as well as Standard 2 pupils. The students were always very enthusiastic about the work and receptive to the new ideas presented to them.
- Anstey Memorial Girls Anglican School: The principal and teachers were very involved in the programme and the 48 Standard 3 students took great pride in their work. It is likely that Project Happiness will return to the school this term to conduct reinforcement sessions with the girls as they enter Standard 4. The Principal is also exploring the possibility of expanding the programme to encompass the entire school.
- South Oropouche RC School: Project Happiness brought significant benefits to the 22 Standard 2 pupils, as well as the school’s faculty and staff. One teacher in particular noted the change that she observed in the students as a result of the consideration and attention paid to the students for the duration of the class. Others have expressed an interest in having their classes enrolled in Project Happiness as well.
- Holy Faith Prepatory St. Bernadette’s: The 35 Standard 3 students, their teacher and principal fully immersed themselves in the experience. All classes were approached with enthusiasm and the students demonstrated their ingenuity in all assignments.