Here in Beijing we’re lucky enough to have some superb schools with extraordinary facilities, where our kids can learn almost anything, from languages to robotics to entrepreneurship. One thing though is not on the curriculum: how to be happy.
Local dad and serial entrepreneur Sam Goodman is out to change that. He is the founder of Fulfillment Source Code (FSC), a course which teaches kids to understand how their brains and bodies work, and what science tells us about happiness. Following a successful pilot at a Beijing school, he has now launched a Kickstarter to fund the further development of the program.
“FSC is what I wish I was taught when I was 10,” he says. He is also motivated by the desire to make sure “that my daughter will be better equipped than I was.” And that’s why he piloted it with his daughter’s class at the International Montessori School of Beijing (MSB). Class teacher Elaine Kinlough was certainly impressed by the course.
“Much of the content covered in FSC may seem to be above the level of the children,” she says. “But it is in fact presented in a format that is both understandable and challenging for the students, and brings them to a higher order of thinking.”
She describes it as “the program that teachers have been waiting for”.
“As teachers we have hopes and aspirations for our students, and beyond the academics, we want them to live a long, happy and successful life. FSC is a program which allows you as a teacher to guide students towards this life while also challenging them academically.”
Goodman doesn’t take all the credit for the ideas behind the course.
“Nearly 100 percent of FSC course content is from recognized experts,” he says. “All I did was bring it together, weave it into an adventure, and made it fun for kids.”
And he sees it as an essential corrective to an excessive emphasis on academic success.
“The traditional ‘education’ culture in China (and everywhere else, for that matter) is mostly about taking tests, to get into good schools. It has virtually nothing to do with teaching useful life skills. The idea of teaching something that is going to be meaningful to THAT student is rarely part of the teachers’ thought process – due to the school’s system and the parental pressure.”
The Kickstarter ends on December 14, so there’s still time to join in the adventure. Find out more at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1471307710/educating-kids-to-lead-a-life-fulfilled.
Photos: courtesy of Sam Goodman