The Sagol Center for Brain and Mind, Reichman University

The Sagol Purple School Initiative

Helping schools nurture development and foster flourishing

Research-based

Based on the current scientific knowledge from education, psychology and neuroscience research

Whole school approach

Engaging the entire school community and implementing at all school levels and activities

Mindfulness-based SEL

Nurturing mindfulness and social-emotional skills using contemplative pedagogies

Who we are

The Sagol Purple Schools Initiative is part of the disseminative activity of the Sagol Center for Brain and Mind, a contemplative neuroscience research center at Reichman University (Israel).

The Initiative aims to create a supportive and transformative environment for students and staff in educational settings. The basic assumption is that through acknowledging the embodied mind and heart of all individuals in school, and providing them with state-of-the-art transformative tools, they will have the capabilities, motivation and resources to engage in fostering systemic well-being and development at all levels – from the individual to the whole school, and beyond. By cultivating contemplative skills such as mindfulness, compassion and self-inquiry, individuals enhance their emotional literacy, self-awareness, and system-thinking and -sensing capabilities. These capabilities, coupled with practical tools, help create supportive and generative social environments within schools and foster an organizational culture of continuous learning, adaptation, and improvement.

The Sagol Purple Schools Initiative has been working in schools since 2009, and as a whole-school program since 2019. It is continuously being developed by the Purple [email protected] Center, which consists of experts from fields such as neuroscience, education and organizational change, as well as contemplative practitioners. This interdisciplinary team is currently developing applications to support the recent Initiative’s expansion to educational districts, municipalities and the Israeli Ministry of Education.

 

Testimonials

Attention and awareness can contribute to our ability to choose how we react to what we experience. This ability to choose supports our well-being. However, in my view, well-being is not our sole purpose in life. Well-being is a state in which we are more connected to ourselves. It refers to an inner space that enables us to contain an inner conflict between acceptance and rejection. A wide inner space gives us strength and allows us to realize our responsibility for ourselves, for society, for the world. Caring for ourselves is not the end goal, rather the end goal is how we widen this caring towards other people and other social circles, how I realize my moral responsibility towards what is happening around me.

During my participation in the program, I discovered a new and rich world of up to date knowledge about neuroscience and how mindfulness can enhance my quality of life. I started practicing what I learned and the results soon followed. The combination of theoretical knowledge and practical tools made the process effective, experiential and fascinating. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn, to experience and to pass this knowledge on to other people. Today I understand how important it is to make this knowledge accessible to the entire school community and to give teachers and pupils the means to deal with everyday challenges, stress, social media etc. These tools give us an alternative and teach us to choose a different way of dealing with things. The program gives the kids a chance to get to know themselves, to connect to a whole range of emotions, to understand what compassion is, to deal with hardship and success and to build a better society.

We feel that the language, the mindset and the approach of mindfulness are present in the way we educate. The skills that we acquired give us the ability to freely choose our actions. The ability to be non-judgmental as well as more emphatic broaden our behavioral repertoire. Teachers are implementing the tools they learned in staff meetings and in classrooms. We feel that out pupils crave for skills such as the ability to stop, to manage their attention and focus as well as other similar skills. I believe that mindfulness is relevant to any educational system nowadays, in this age of an overload of stimuli, of reactivity, of absent-mindedness. It is a must!