SCHOOL OF HEROES PROJECT
The School of Heroes is a project carried out since 2017 by the Spiritist youth with children who frequent the Maria de Nazareth Spiritist Center, located in São Bernardo do Campo, SP. The project takes place after the standard meetings and consists of telling stories and performing playful activities with the children so that they are actively engaged. The stories are about historical characters that can serve as an example to the children.
The project met a specific need of our Spiritist Center, to keep the children busy during the period when the parents were still involved in other activities. We also identified that the School of Heroes assists in solving central issues which go beyond the need to keep children behaved. Therefore, our intention is to share this initiative with others who may have further insights and also find this material useful.
“What makes someone a hero?”
Heroes are those who help people, do good deeds and overcome evil, wherever they are.
Heroes don’t need superpowers like super strength, super speed, or knowing how to fly. The world is full of examples of people who have helped a lot and saved others, either by the way they acted, by the principles they taught, or by the good actions they performed. For this, they used other superpowers such as courage, kindness, piety, discipline, humility, selflessness, and love.
By bringing a new understanding that virtues are what make people heroes, we conclude that the greatest hero that has passed through the Earth is Jesus, and that we can be heroes too, if we work hard to practice our virtues.
For us to become heroes, there is nothing better than getting to know the stories of those who have achieved this status, always emphasizing what good they have done and what “superpower” (virtue) they have or developed.
Thus, by seeking inspiration from these special people who passed through the Earth, we organized the meetings of the School of Heroes.
PRIMARY OBJECTIVE OF THE SCHOOL OF HEROES:
For the children: Encourage the moral development of children by setting good examples.
For the youth: Engage the youth with the Spiritist Center and Spiritism through work.
- Keep children busy with useful activities while other tasks are still taking place.
- Encourage the moral development of children by sharing good examples of people who had led a life of virtue (always emphasizing that Jesus is our guide and model, but that He sent spirits to Earth who experienced His teachings and inspire us to be better).
- Strengthening the engagement of young people with the Spiritist Center.
- Create a bond among young people.
- Create a bond between young people and children.
- Engaging the youth with Spiritist work.
- Setting an example for the children.
- Prepare the youth to be future evangelists and Spiritist workers.
- Youth participation
- Evangelists/Evangelization Coordinators
Children between 3 and 11 years old who are idle in the spiritist center, if their parents are still performing other tasks.
Follow-up of evangelists
The evangelism team monitors the work by holding evaluation meetings with the Hero School team and through the cyclical participation of evangelists in the weekly meetings of the project, giving support as well as helping in teaching the group.
The meetings are planned by focusing on interactive activities and storytelling in an engaging and playful way, where the child participates actively.
The meetings follow a simplified structure, such as:
- Musical moment (optional)
- Practical/dynamic activity
Planning of meetings
The youth team that makes up the Hero School will plan the meetings every semester, listing the heroes that will be included and scheduling the meetings. For these meetings, each young person is in charge of studying and presenting to the group a brief biography of a hero, allowing the group to highlight the main points of the story and the main virtues that hero presented. Finally, the heroes and the themes that each meeting will portray are selected.
There are also weekly plans in which the team prepares for the next meeting, carries out a more in-depth study of that week’s hero’s life story
Choice of heroes
Considering that the project takes place in a Spiritist center, all ideas propagated must have Spiritism as their essence. For this, it is necessary to establish criteria for choosing the characters to be studied, so the classes are in line with Spiritist doctrine. To establish a parameter for the selection of heroes to be worked on, we bring the figure of Christ, as the greatest of all heroes, the one who possesses all the virtues, showcasing the idea of Jesus as Governor of the Earth (which is revealed to us in the Doctrine in several works, such as “The Path of Light”, by Francisco Cândido Xavier), Jesus is then also responsible for sending to Earth the heroes who would help humanity. We emphasize that only Christ is our guide and model, but the Spirits He sent, who fulfilled His mission on Earth, gives us inspiration and encouragement in our own journey.
Thus, we seek to choose characters who showed great virtue and whose lives do not contradict the principles and values taught by Christ.
There is also greater caution when it comes to heroes whose lives are marked by conduct that set a bad example for children. In these cases, either we choose not to tell the story of this character to the children, or we emphasize the change/transformation that hero went through, when it is pertinent to our learning (as in the case of St. Augustine, who was a mischievous child, but when he grew up he became a virtuous man, which demonstrates that we can all change).
Another important point is the idea that many heroes got no recognition from the world or society while alive. Being a hero has nothing to do with the merits of this world. Often the virtue of the hero is to do good, even when nobody’s watching, exercising simplicity, humility, renunciation and resignation.
Resources and activities used during the meetings
- Slide Show
- Skype call to the hero
- Shadow play
- Children’s experiences:
- Theater that retells the story
- Heroes’ clothesline (with the image of all the heroes who will be studied covered with paper, and in the meetings the hero of the day will unravel)
- Construction of models
This project was developed with the specific experience and needs of the people in our Spiritist center. Therefore, it is natural that not everything we do will apply to other centers. Nonetheless, we hope that with this presentation we can contribute to the multiplication of good initiatives in the evangelization of souls by and for our brothers in all possible places.
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org – Monique Etes