Happiness Lessons

Should mindfulness and happiness take their place on the school curriculum alongside maths and literacy?

Thomas Dixon asks whether 200-year-old ideas about love, emotions, and primary education are still relevant today. He visits three schools with different approaches to emotions, and meets experts on mental health and wellbeing – asking whether there is a crisis in young people’s mental health today, whether schools should be part of the solution, and if so what that solution might look like. Katharine Birbalsingh talks to Thomas about the “tough love” approach at Michaela Community School, and discusses whether it is harsh, or loving, to try to instil an ethos of Stoicism and individual resilience: “You say it’s mean, I say it’s love.”

Adrian Bethune is a primary school teacher, the author of “Wellbeing in the Primary Classroom” and founder of “Teachappy”, an organisation committed to putting wellbeing and happiness at the heart of education. @AdrianBethune

Dr Lucy Foulkes is a Senior Research Fellow at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and an honorary lecturer in psychology at UCL. She is the author of “What Mental Illness Really Is… (and what it isn’t)”. @lfoulkesy

Dr Alex Turner is Applied Research Lead at The Children’s Society @DrAlexLTurner

Louis Weinstock  is a psychotherapist and the author of “How the World is Making Our Children Mad and What to Do About It”

Michael Eggleton is Headteacher of the Charles Dickens Primary School and Nursery, a research school in Southwark, where he leads their wellbeing curriculum @Michael_cdps

Katharine Birbalsingh is Headmistress of Michaela Community School, Wembley, and Chair of the government’s Social Mobility Commisssion. @Miss_Snuffy

“Living With Feeling” is produced by Natalie Steed for Rhubarb Rhubarb, and supported by the Wellcome Trust.

The Emotions Lab