Living Wisdom School
by parents and students

Conflict resolutionTwo school girls: testimonials from parents

Conflict and bullying is prevalent in schools today, and is accepted asnormal behavior for children. Without training at a young age, children grow into adults who are unable to work out their differences. Living Wisdom School takes a very active role in helping children face and work through conflict. The results are remarkable.

"The children are friends with all ages. They don’t segregate into cliques. It’s a positive, supportive environment. My children feel safe and protected and connected to the entire school."
"My daughter and her classmates are so supportive of each other. They root for one another and take joy in each other’s accomplishments."
"At my old school, they talked about being kind, but didn’t really care if you were or not. At Living Wisdom School, they really mean it!"
Kindergarten student after her first day
"The way they handle conflict resolution is so different from most schools. The teacher doesn’t just say, ‘You were right,’ and ’You were wrong,’ and then dish out a punishment because there was a problem. A punishing environment just makes children afraid. At Living Wisdom School, the teachers help the children figure out how to solve the problem themselves. Being able to resolve a problem you’re having with someone else is far more important than whatever you were fighting about in the first place. It builds everyone’s confidence. No one has been demeaned. Just think what a different world it would be, if we had all learned this as children!"
"People excuse all kinds of meanness by saying, ‘Kids will be kids.’ But at Living Wisdom School, they don’t accept the assumption that kids have to be unkind to each other. Rather, they have demonstrated that children can learn to be kind, and will be much happier for learning."
"One of my friends asked, ‘Do they teach the children at Living Wisdom School how to deal with aggression, or do they just pretend it doesn’t exist like they do at [another school]?’ I told him, of course they know it exists—these are just normal kids. The teachers work with them very attentively, and teach them how to be part of a group without feeling that everyone has to be and think and act exactly the same."
"Conflicts are handled so well. There is such trust between the teachers and the students. Teachers usually serve as mediators rather than problem-solvers, often staying in the background to make sure things stay in control but giving the children enough freedom and guidance to develop conflict-resolution skills of their own."
"My son is learning a wonderful way to be in the world, to relate to people and to himself with kindness and loving care. This skill will help him for the rest of his life, wherever he goes, whatever he does.
"The cooperative atmosphere carries over into the social arena as well. All the kids are included. No children feel left out. Or when something does happen and someone gets their feelings hurt, it is dealt with in a good way. In so many schools, these kinds of personal things are never even acknowledged, much less dealt with. And often they are the most important things going on as far as the kids are concerned."
"Teachers don’t view recess as break time for them. They recognize that what happens between the kids on the playground is as important as academics. It’s rare to find a school that understands this."
"My son is not a perfect child, but there is a kindness and gentleness he possesses that I don’t think would be there, had he gone to another school. He was in an indoor soccer league last year, unrelated to the Living Wisdom School, and there was a mentally handicapped child on his team. Some of the other children complained about the presence of this child on the team because he didn’t play very well. At one of the practices, the handicapped child came up behind my son and grabbed his shirttail just as my son was ready to streak across the room. I didn’t know what was going to happen, as my son is an avid, energetic player and one of the leading scorers on the team. I had visions of his slapping out at the hands that were slowing him down. Instead, he slowed his pace to match that of the slower child, and they ran off laughing together. At Living Wisdom School, my son has learned to appreciate that people have different needs and different abilities but kids are kids, and it’s possible to have fun without always having to win."

Academic excellence

The child’s academic excellence is important to many parents. The teachers and environment at Living Wisdom School support this important attribute.

"My son’s teachers have demanded—and received from him—a level of excellence far beyond even what I expected. And they’ve done it without ever making school into a pressure cooker. He’s had fun all the way—six years now. His self-esteem is so high. Recently I had to drop him off alone at the first day of baseball practice. There were dozens of people, adults and kids standing around, and he didn’t know a single one of them, but he just jumped out of the car and walked right into it without even glancing back at me."
"The academic material is presented in such a way that they really get the essential concepts rather than just regurgitating facts."
"My daughter loves the hands-on nature of the experience, the field trips, the way the science classes are done. It’s not just reading out of a book."
"It is such a rich experience. She is expanding not just her intellect, but her spirit and creative side as well."
"My son’s education has been so different from my own. He’s so involved, so active. It’s experiential and hands-on, and very meaningful to him. I think he will remember many of these lessons for the rest of his life. This is real education."
"In so many schools there is such over-stimulation, so much hype, such constant bombardment. I like that Living Wisdom School is calm. I like the choice of music and the more thoughtful kinds of activities."
"The whole curriculum, the whole program, including the play every year, all flows together. It’s not just bits and pieces all patched together."
"When you learn experientially, the learning sticks. It becomes part of who you are—different from just memorizing facts, then being tested on them. When my daughter was learning to write poetry, her teacher respected her ability, so much that it was like my daughter learned the essence of what it is to be a poet."

Personal responsibility and self-mastery

The children are taught personal responsibility and self-mastery through active participation in many activities that have been designed for such attributes.

"The children are held accountable for their actions, but in a very kind and positive way. The teachers direct the classroom by bringing out the positive in everything, even in difficult situations. It is very clear to the children what is expected of them."
"Children at Living Wisdom School have the greatest opportunity for learning about life and about themselves: how to have self-esteem, and a loving foundation that gives them the freedom to do whatever they want in their lives. They learn about life, not just about academics."
"When she comes home from school, my daughter is so peaceful, calm, and happy. The children at Living Wisdom School are very much like her—the same sensitivity, the same values at home. I feel great, too, just being around the school. There is good energy there. The Living Wisdom School feels like family in a way I haven’t seen at other schools."
"Look at the school rules. They reflect the entire basis of the school. ‘Practice kindness.’ ‘Choose happiness.’ To me, that says it all."
"Living Wisdom School instills values in children that are sorely lacking in today’s educational environments."
"I know most people in this area are extremely concerned about academics, but I consider the beautiful academic program as just a bonus on top of all the others things the Living Wisdom School gives my children."
"Children at Living Wisdom School develop an underlying sense of self-confidence, no matter what level of skill they operate on. Enthusiasm and self-confidence, this is what you need for your whole life. So often, when children go to school they lose these qualities. Living Wisdom School makes them stronger.”
"My daughter has learned at school that she has the power within herself to make herself feel better. When she gets upset now, all on her own, she goes to her room, puts on a tape of music she got from the Living Wisdom School, and stays in there for fifteen minutes or an hour—whatever it takes for her to calm herself down and get centered. Then she comes out again. This is very impressive for a child of six. When I tell other parents, whose kids don’t go to Living Wisdom School, they are amazed that there is a school that teaches children such valuable lessons."
"My daughter is learning at school to approach life with joy, love, kindness, and a positive attitude. We see the changes in her quite clearly. The love and joy she brings home seems to have an uplifting effect on us parents, too. If we ever have to move out of the area, we will only go to a place where there is another Living Wisdom School!"


The child is taught self-confidence through the theater program and other activities.

"My children are completely comfortable at school, they are not afraid at all. In fact, since going to Living Wisdom School, they have developed such self-confidence they are not afraid of any new situation."
"My child feels really secure. She knows no one is judging her, so she’s not afraid to try new things."
"The kindergarten put on an improvisational dance program. All the other kids in the school were in the audience with the kindergarten parents. Afterwards, there was an all-school circle on the stage, and everyone was singing. I looked at the children’s faces, and they were so happy and so content. Later, I tried to explain it to the people in my office, but I couldn’t find words for it. I just knew my kids were loved and cared for, that all the children there were loved and cared for, and that I could never find a better place for my children."
"The teachers are very positive. They see only the best in each child and endeavor to nourish that special part. Each Living Wisdom School teacher is on a spiritual path which includes meditation. The teachers have a wonderful clarity and joy which they infuse into our children daily."
"My daughter can be herself at Living Wisdom School. When she was at public school I felt she was trying so hard to find out who she was supposed to be that she missed noticing who she actually is."
"The children get so much love, they feel safe to be themselves. Then anything can happen: learning, growing, they are just wide open. They have so much self-assurance, so much confidence in their abilities, they can learn anything!"

Taking on challenges: theater program

Each year the entire school takes part in a play that depicts the lives of persons of great character. The child studies the historical character and learns his or her lines or dance.

"Theater is one of the things that makes this school unique. It’s an annual benchmark. Year by year, they can chart their progress from non-speaking parts, to having their first line, to having several lines, and so on. They feel so much satisfaction to see how far they’ve come, and to be part of such a big production together with all the different grade levels."
"The theater productions are really wonderful. The whole experience: how they learn to work as a group, how challenging it is for them, the excitement of it all. And how they rise to the occasion and show themselves how much they can do when they set their minds to it."
"The theater production really tells the whole story. I’ve seen other children’s plays, and usually the kids are squirming and looking at their parents. But the Living Wisdom School play is different. Even the youngest children stand in front of a room full of people and deliver their lines. They stay in character with poise, concentration, and self-confidence that is exceptional. They must feel very good about themselves, or else they wouldn’t be able to do it."
"When I first heard about the kind of plays they do, I thought it was way too much for the kids. I don’t just mean how elaborate it is; I’m talking about the plot: "The Story of St. Francis," "The Life of Buddha," "Krishna the Beloved." I mean, we’re talking elementary school! But as usual, the teachers know what they are doing. The kids are thrilled to be involved in something profound, rather than the kind of plays children often have to do. By acting it out, they really get the point of what makes a great person great: courage, dedication, selflessness, love. And they remember it. For years afterwards, I hear them talking about things they learned from the plays and using what they’ve learned as a standard for their own lives."