What are you leading?
I am one of the co-founders and CEO of “Neyün, educación en armonía”. Neyün is a program that offers a whole school, holistic approach to personal development for students, teachers and the school community, to provide a solid foundation for learning.
Our curriculum has three key pillars; (i) Mindfulness which provides the space to breathe, to focus our minds and develop a better relationship with the self. (ii) Neuroscience – understanding how the brain works and how important it is in our happiness, and (iii) Integral Development. We focus on 4 areas: self-knowledge, self-regulation, improving relationships and compassion with our students.
This mix of mindfulness, neuroscience and integral development in our program is a powerful way to create the foundational emotional state and brain predispositions for learning.
We deliver our program with students during dedicated curriculum time at school. We also offer an optional program for students who wish to go deeper and into the practice of Mindfulness. We also run workshops with teachers and principals so they can benefit from this methodology too. During our workshops, we discuss, practice and create different ways to bring to their classes room for personal growth and a harmonious learning environment. In addition, we offer a voluntary program for parents who want to get tools to help their child’s development at home.
How did your experiences as a fellow inspire or prepare you for what you’re doing now?
My experience as a teacher showed me that the current education system needs a more complete or holistic focus supporting the whole individual to learn and grow. I lost hours trying to teach academic content to my students because I wasn’t able to get to them, because there was something missing in the way the system is set up for us to teach. What I came to discover is that any person, including me when I was in school, resents not being treated as a whole but being treated only as a cognitive/academic learner, without all the other parts of me; my emotions, my relationships, my spirituality, my body being involved in the learning process. Especially in the schools where many kids have a lot of extra emotional burdens, meaning they come to school with a bunch of concerns in their minds.
When I tried to have a more global approach with my students, giving them the space to talk about what they were dealing with, was when I started to see some real progress. With this, I mean not only having more success in academia, because they were more motivated and focused, but in the way that they related to each other and with themselves and the way they were dealing with their emotions. As a teacher, this made me feel better too, because I felt a deeper meaning in my role; trying to consider all the areas of my student’s development, enabled me to blossom too.
Now I have a new understanding in what education really means: Trying to let everyone reach their fullest potential in every area of their human existence (including cognitive of course) and making the school a place where they feel safe and cared for.
Being part of this experience with the Enseña Chile program allowed me to realize that this diagnosis was not only from my colleagues and me, but of many others who were teaching in different parts of Chile. Over time, through working with the network of educators I have access to through Enseña Chile, I came to realize that the challenge is how to bring a concrete, simple and effective tool to schools, that teachers can use for them and for their students to enhance wellbeing and personal development.
That’s how Neyün became a project founded by a group of alumni (including me) with different expertise and experience, but all with the firm belief in the need for a new perspective on the educational system in Chile.
Neyün´s ambition is to raise awareness on the importance of creating a holistic education system that focuses on the emotional and conscious development of kids, alongside a rigorous focus on cognitive development and academic success. This will not just impact on their happiness, but also on their way to face the school, breaking barriers, fears and insecurities.
On a medium-term, Neyün seeks to reach every region of Chile and then launch a contextualized version of our program and learnings for different countries of Latin America, co-constructed with alumni of the Teach For All network.
Once we validate our programs and make the necessary changes to improve them, we will work tirelessly to transform this educational perspective on a public policy and to integrate it into the national curriculum and teaching programs, so that it becomes a mandatory part of the education system, so that every kid can develop to their fullest potential.