Educación Universal in Argentina
Educación Universal
Educación Universal

By Ceci Buzón and Ale Almada

After running a 10-week Building on the Basics course several months ago, we asked the participants: how could Educación Universal Argentina best provide support in implementing Universal Education tools in your field of employment? Most of the participants said that what they would like most is to get ideas on how to best integrate mindfulness, the 16G and Transformative Mindfulness Methods (TMM) tools into their classrooms, as well as being able to get together with others connected to Universal Education. 

As a result this feedback we begun to research how we could set up Educación Universal in Argentina as a legal entity to provide that support. Among other topics, we discussed budget, organisational structure and what and how we, every one of us, wanted to be committed to the development of Educación Universal in Argentina.  

At the same time, we recognised the need to give ourselves enough time to be more realistic and pace ourselves. We want to balance the need to keep the momentum going with considering our ‘to do’ list more objectively. Keeping our strengths in mind, education was chosen as our main focus as an organisation. 

First step: a gathering of educators that took place in April 2015

So the first natural step seemed to organise a get together of educators were we would both share tools and excercises as well as exchange ideas on how to support each other to implement them in our respective fields of work. 

Ceci Buzón, based on her knowledge and experience of education, developed the activities programme for the gathering. The aim was to make the programme as consistent and easy to understand for the different teachers as possible. 

The gathering took place in a beautiful lake setting on April 10, 11 and 12 in Villa la Angostura, a small town in Patagonia, Argentina. It’s the middle point for the different towns where there are now Universal Education practitioners.  

During the gathering, with a focus on the wisdom themes, the following tools were used in different ways: the 16G playing cards, pre- and re-framing, and self- and group-inquiry. Support activities involved songs, videos and outdoor activities in the natural surroundings. A key factor was the introduction of the mandala as a personal reflection tool for participants, and as a visual reminder of their interconnection with others. As a main tool for all the teachers, a simplified version of Creating Compassionate Cultures´ planning format was introduced. Mindfulness, motivation, group planning, wisdom gathering and dedication were also practiced also through the event, and TMM´s Enhancing Positive Qualities exercise was introduced as part of working with our strengths in action. 

By the end of the weekend we felt that a seed for a Universal Education community had been planted in a nourished field.

TMM Support Group projects

As a result of the first UE gathering described above, the mindfulness workshop in March and the TMM 

Support Group, the following projects are being developed:

•  Gabi Mansilla has now started creating a communal space for the physically and emotionally challenged people who fall through the cracks of the health and educational systems. The mayor of their town has given her support and the choice of two different places to start the project.

A three-session weekend workshop with TMM tools has been offered to the community. The workshop will apply the Transforming Problems exercise to address feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, perfectionism and so on. It will use self-compassion as an enhancing quality. 

•  Mariana Chaves, founder of Casa Lihuen Antu, a multidisciplinary space for early childhood based on the Waldorf system, has introduced the 16G as images (using Denise Flora´s posters of the 16G). Additionally, another home,  Casa Amanecer will now also expand and share its space once a week with people with mental health issues who have struggled to find other healing or educational spaces in this small community. 

•  Monica Funes, organiser of the introductory talk on Mindfulness and Neuroscience delivered by Ceci Buzón last March, runs a School of English with over 450 students. The 16G workshop in May was to be held for mostly for the teachers in her school but has now been postponed as the area was affected by the recent volcanic eruption in the area. Workshops will be now held in the second part of the year.

We are very happy with all these developments and will keep you posted on how they evolve.