Reported by – Kithsiri Senadeera, Photography by – RoyGrafix
The Book Launch & Symposium of “Developing Mindfulness in Young Children” written by Mrs. Shanti Senadeera took place before a large gathering at the Thornleigh Community Centre, Sydney on Sunday the 28th November 2021 at 2:30pm. While there are many books written about mindfulness and even more on children, a book specially written about developing mindfulness in young children is rare and valuable. With almost 35 years of extensive knowledge and experience in early childhood education and good understanding of mindfulness meditation, Shanti is well-positioned to write this book.
The book launch and symposium was open to well-wishers who registered to participate in the event. This enabled the organisers to put in place best practices to adhere to all COVID 19 rules and regulations.
The proceedings started with opening remarks by Miss Tamarie Senadeera, the MC for the day who conducted the entire session in a professional manner. She gave a brief, but very informative introduction to the proceedings. This was followed by an eloquent welcome address by Mrs. Sahdana Weerawardane, with a brief introduction of the dignitaries.
Keeping to the Sri Lankan tradition, the chief guest and the VIP’s were called to light the traditional oil lamp along with the author of the book. The book “Developing Mindfulness in young children” was then presented to all the dignitaries by its author Mrs Shanti Senadeera
The keynote address delivered by Dr. Ubayersiri Wickrama a well-known literary critic, writer, educationist, and lawyer, commended the author for her efforts. The popular Doctor and poet Seneviratne Banda – who could not attend the launch – shared his valuable insights about the book through a remote audio link. Dr. Cicil Fonseka an author, IT consultant, cinema & stage play director and musician, emphasised the importance of putting the information in the book into the day-to-day life of all. The former Consul General of NSW & QLD Mr. Lal Wickramatunge sent a video message from Sri Lanka which profoundly praised the multi-talented Shanti’s valuable effort.
The author, in her speech explained how she was motivated to write this book. She narrated an interesting story of how she introduced breathing exercises to children with great success, while working at the Concord Hospital Staff School as an Early Childhood Teacher. She also explained the extensive three years of research she carried out to produce a book of international standard. By quoting from the book she emphasised the importance of mindfulness in today’s life, especially for the younger generation. She mentioned that her intention is to educate and share knowledge on mindfulness so that, it can be understood by teachers, parents, guardians, and other interested parties irrespective of any religious beliefs and to integrate mindfulness into the lives of our children. She gratefully acknowledged the encouragement given to her by the Rev. Dr Punnaji Thero in Taiwan and also thanked everybody who supported her to complete the book.
The Chief Guest Professor Gawaine Powell Davies, the Chairman of the Buddhist Council of NSW, emphasised the effectiveness of this book for children as well as adults. Professor Gawaine who has written a review of the book was thankful to Shanti for writing this very practical book. He said that he intends to use the book in Buddhist Council activities.
Mrs. Nalika Padmasena the immediate past president of Sri Lanka Association of NSW gave an account of Shanti’s contribution to the Association and to the Sri Lankan community at large.
What made this book launch stand out was the mindfulness activities conducted by the author herself with the assistance of Miss Tamarie Senadeera. The audience enthusiastically participated in these mindfulness activities which gave them an understanding of the contents of the book even before they had a chance to read it.
Mr. Kithsiri Senadeera, the organizer of the event in his closing remarks said that he is delighted and proud to see an audience with diverse ethnic and religious denominations, as well as the attendance of many prominent leaders of the Sri Lankan community. He also mentioned that there has been a steady demand for the book and several other countries have already ordered the book directly from the publisher in Taiwan. Finally, he thanked all those who helped to organize the event.
After the book was officially launched, free copies of the book were made available to all the participants.
The event came to a close with plenty of delicious sweet & savoury food and beverages served to the guests.
The book Launch & symposium was a great success and memorable one for all who participated in the event, as they have taken home something useful to their life.
To request for copies of the Book (free) contact: Kithsiri Senadeera – Ph. 0419 403 224