A state school in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, has implemented the daily practice of Falun Dafa with the aim of preventing violence and improving school performance and better cooperation among students.
Falun Dafa is an integrated discipline of meditation and gentle exercises that stresses the values of Truthfulness, Benevolence, and Forbearance to improve both body and mind. Originally from China, it is currently practiced in more than 100 countries.
Since March 2016, this state primary school in Montevideo has implemented a project to build a culture of peaceful coexistence. Each teacher contributed to the project, bringing something to put into practice in each classroom.
Yennyfer Quartino, who teaches sixth grade, learned Falun Dafa in January this year. After experiencing its profound mental and physical benefits, she decided that her contribution to the school’s project would be to teach Falun Dafa to her students and eventually the whole school joined in.
Mrs. Quartino teaches a section of the sixth grade, with students between 11 and 14 years old. For years, these students have been having serious problems with violence, fatigue, and lack of concentration, stifling their academic progress.
“The school day is long,” she explained. “Many students were tired, had no energy, and couldn’t focus on their classwork.”
She has been in charge of this same group since their 5th grade year. She tried other disciplines and kinesthetic activities with them, and they started to show some improvement.
“This year we decided to try something different, which is Falun Dafa, and the results have been wonderful,” said Mrs. Quartino.
The headmistress said, “They benefited not only physically, but spiritually. They breathe and relax and come to the classroom focused and with a good attitude.”
Entire School Joins Falun Dafa Practice
Mrs. Quartino’s students started doing the exercises daily in the school courtyard after lunch and right before the afternoon subjects. After a few weeks, all the other students in the school wanted to join in, so now, almost the entire school does the exercises daily.
The positive effects in the children are starting to show. “I feel relaxed, I like it. And afterward, when we go to the classroom, I feel as if all the stress I had before practicing Falun Dafa is gone,” said Josefina, a sixth-grade student who is very enthusiastic about this practice.
“I feel more relaxed and free,” said a third-grade girl. A fourth-grade boy added, “I feel a lot of energy.” Two third-grade girls, Nicole and Belén, said in unison that the practice gives them, “Strength!”
Global Peace Starts Within
Mrs. Quartino also designed a project that focuses on human rights as a way of establishing a culture of peace. Children learn about different military conflicts and human rights abuses that have occurred and are still happening all over the world, and they work together to re-think peaceful settlements for those conflicts.
A special case that they study is the persecution of Falun Dafa in China. This peaceful discipline that has brought wellbeing to millions of people in China, has been persecuted there for the last 17 years.
As Mrs. Quartino wrote for her project, “Peace in society cannot exist where there is violence, and that the place to start a transformation is within us.” So this project aims at developing peaceful coexistence “where respect, communication, listening, and fair treatment can be achieved.”
Fostering a Healthy, Kind Environment
“These kids had serious concentration problems and were violent in the classroom. The changes they’ve made are soul-stirring,” marveled the school inspector.
The students say that now they settle conflicts by “talking” and “discussing,” because, as they put it, “they understand each other better, and no one gets hurt anymore.”
Joaquín, a sixth-grader said, “Before, everyone was bad tempered, but now we are calmer.” Another student, Leandro, reflected, “If he misbehaves, I must tolerate it.”
Falun Dafa and its principles of Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance has helped promote a healthy atmosphere of tolerance and participation in the school. This in turn, has fostered the students’ learning and development. It has also opened up a door for the children to experience peace, self-control, and confidence.