Skip links

The Art of Happiness in School!

As educators we know how important happiness is. Whilst academic goals and success are important,
happiness should be at the foundation of every vision, mission and curriculum plan. Developing happy
students needs to be a priority. This post will plan out, create strategies and goals to achieve
happiness in schools.

Spend Time Outdoors

Spending time outdoors, particularly in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve happiness
but also health too. It lowers stress levels, heat rate and blood pressure. Outdoors is our preferred
place for physical activities and we know that is improves both mood and mental well-being. Research
has shown that green spaces are associated with a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders and
therefore doctors are increasingly taking to such studies and making recommendations to patients,
beyond the standard medication use.
What is our school prescribed outdoor time and involved it int the curriculum and schedule? After all,
Royal International College has wonderful outdoor spaces for students to enjoy, unwind and play
Our school will understand the importance of outdoor time and will include time for recreation and
time for physical activity but also an open mindset when it comes to indoor and outdoor space and
what the borders of a classroom really mean


Exercise plays a critical role in the increase of happiness levels in students. Research shows that
people who are physically active have a much lower risk of mental disorder, anxiety and depression.
When we exercise frequently we release proteins and endorphins more often, therefore making us feel
better and indeed, happier.

In a study about adolescents it was found that there is a direct correlation between the number of
steps taken each day and a child’s mood. Therefore, knowing this means we should ensure that all
children have a minimum level of physical activity in their day.
Exercise builds confidence and as many of these activities can be done with others it allows for
positive social function that furthermore builds happy and healthy relationships with fellow students.
When we move with other people it creates a strong ‘togetherness and connection’, where we become
optimistic and empowered.
Happiness in schools can dramatically improve with the inclusion of regular outdoor exercise

Diet and Nutrition

A good and nutritious diet can have a significant impact on our mood. A well balanced diet of fresh,
unprocessed fruit, vegetables and proteins are our best choice while highly processed foods and
sugars can be quite damaging to our bodies and mental wellbeing. Many research papers point to a
strong link between diets high in sugar and depression.
In the short term, sugars make us feel good and even energetic, but that quick pickup is is short lived
and the term known as ‘sugar crash’ inevitably follows. This is particularly evident in children. Where as
a balanced diet fuels us nutritionally. Eating poultry, fish, milk and fruits like bananas secrete
dopamine, a chemical that we have already mentioned, which induces a positive mood and happiness.

Eat Less Unhappy Food
• Soda drinks
• Energy drinks
• Processed white flour products
• Processed foods
Eat More Happy Foods
• Seeds and Nuts
• Fish with High omega-3
• Berries
• Dark leafy vegetables
There is no doubt that a good diet will increase aptitude for success, increase concentration and lead
to greater happiness in our school

Sleep and Rest

Children require a lot of slept be happy. Unfortunately, studies show that children are getting
significantly less sleep per night than they have done in previous generations. Getting 8 hours of sleep
is invaluable for calming he mind and making sure that we feel calm and and composed of rite next
day. How much we sleep is directly related to our overall feeling of happiness, as well as our ability to
deal with challenges that can effect our mood. An unstable mood then effects our ability to sleep
soundly, thus creating a circle of poor sleep and bad mood.
In schools, bad behaviour can often be associated with a lack of sleep that makes children find it
difficult to control their impulses. Children need sleep to be happy!


We schools are focussed not eh learning journey of our students. In all aspects of their life we want
our students to develop and progress, improve and increase their ability to perform well. This must
include happiness and increases in this happiness do not often happen by accident.
Learned happiness is a phenomenon observed in both humans and animals when they have been
conditioned to expect pain suffering and discomfort without a way to escape from it. This is not a
natural behaviour, it is learnt. Due to environmental facts and influences, we become socially
conditioned and accepting that nothing we can do will change this state. This frequently happens with
depression and mood disorders, especially over a period of time.
So what if we can do the opposite of this? What happens when we create an environment and
atmosphere of happiness and optimism? A place where we resisted any idea that we can be anything
but happy. We can learn to be happy, optimistic, enthusiastic and determined as a default position
because the environment we spend most of our time in allows for it. A focus on positive elements and
behaviours that make children happy will naturally cultivate happy and healthier children. An
infectious culture within the school will create this learned happiness.

A Concrete Plan for Happiness in Schools

Teachers must be enthusiastic, motivated and optimistic. They should have a growth mindset and an
insatiable commitment to spreading happiness. How a teacher greets students and parents, how they
deal with student behaviour, how they respond to being challenged, their attitude on their worst day.
Their focus during interactions must always be positive and set with a purpose to achieve greater

Leadership must be open minded and focussed on the creation of a positive school climate. Teachers
will not be happy if they do not feel appreciated and valued. Happiness can spread and therefor it
needs to be displayed from the top down. Leadership sets the tone and the school climate will be
infectious based on the character, values and behaviours of the leadership team

Parent meetings, school events, newsletters and even report cards must embrace an uplifting focus on
positive mindset.
The school must live and breathe its mission and values. We refer to these
behaviours as signature experiences.

Celebrating success and achievement not only supports and encourages individuals but it creates a
culture of happiness. Every day, children need to feel in themselves and see in others the positive
possibilities that happen when we work hard and surround ourselves with other happy and healthy
people with growth mindsets.

More Blogs Here

Join Us?


Leave a comment