Student well-being has always taken centre stage in the holistic education milieu that is provided at Gateway College.
The schools consider that well-being is a critical precondition for learning and as such, all aspects of well-being: psychological, social, cognitive and physical are addressed through a variety of activities that include the daily mindfulness programme and religious observances, clubs/societies, the etiquette programme, soft skills programmes, vocational programmes, the improved PE curriculum and sports. The school counsellors in every Gateway School also play a decisive role.
Furthering these efforts, Gateway recently adopted the renowned wellbeing curriculum, MindUP. MindUP is an evidence-based social and emotional learning programme grounded in Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Mindful Awareness and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). The aim of MindUP is to help students focus their attention, improve self-regulation skills, build resilience to stress, and develop a positive mindset in school and in life. It also creates a positive classroom environment in helping build these qualities as well as compassion in students, enabling them to better regulate emotions in the face of social and academic challenges. Further, the programme covers teaching about the brain and the understanding of its structure and how it functions, giving them a sense of control and empowerment.
At Gateway, the programme has been introduced to students from Kindergarten to Year 9. Both students and teachers have embraced the programme with much enthusiasm and are already reaping the benefits, even at this early stage. In response to the programme’s success, in a recent statement on their social media pages, Goldie Hawn Foundation USA, the founder organization of MindUP said, “We can’t even begin to tell you how proud we are to have MindUP implemented at Gateway Colleges in Sri
Lanka, thanks to our partnership through Microsoft Showcase Schools!” Gateway believes that MindUP will add value to the already existing mindfulness programme that has
been in place for the last four years, where students observe five minutes of mindfulness practice in the secondary and three minutes of mindfulness practice in the primary, before the start of lessons.
Through this programme, students engage in activities, such as mindful listening, mindful breathing, mindful body scanning, and mindful gratitude. Through the daily religious observances, students not only have the opportunity to practice the teachings of their own religion but also develop an insight into the teachings of other religions. Gateway believes that all these programmes facilitate emotional stability, better behaviour, greater empathy, improved social skills and reduce examination anxiety.