Abiding Heart's Experiential Buddhist Kindergarten Curriculum
The Abiding Heart’s Experiential Buddhist Kindergarten Curriculum is designed primarily for Buddhist communities of different Buddhist traditions and heritage from around the world. At the heart of our kindergarten curriculum is the recognition that we all have innate goodness or Buddha Nature ready to be re-discovered. This curriculum rests on both Waldorf pedagogy and the Buddhist view, meditation, virtues, rituals, loving kindness and compassion practices. We immerse and anchor our curriculum in the universal understanding of interdependence and virtues. The aim of our kindergarten curriculum is to lay a foundation for wholesome early childhood experiences and protect childhood. We also, through our curriculum, keep children connected to sense of place and heritage, their own tradition. Our curriculum is a fusion of Waldorf early childhood education, Buddhism and local heritage. The curriculum uses the principles of Waldorf Education that are integrated with Buddhism and local culture to customise an early childhood curriculum specifically for community it is intended for. Our focus in our experiential Buddhist kindergarten curriculum is to provide children with a safe, positive, nurturing and joyful environment in their early years. The curriculum reflects our commitment to protecting childhood where children are embraced with love and warmth. Young children, in Abiding Heart, learn through play. Play is the "work" of early childhood. We create a purposeful and beautiful indoor and outdoor space that is a joyful and happy place for children to be. The mood we nurture through our kindergarten curriculum is true to Dr Steiner's indications of gratitude, reverence and wonder. When children, in their formative years, encounter a positive and encouraging environment, they naturally gain self-confidence and self-esteem. All this equates with fostering resilience in children Our curriculum is available through our kindergarten teacher training course where trainees are introduced to the fundamental and philosophical basis of early childhood education; contemplations on gratitude, reverence and wonder; wisdom and compassion; curriculum and lesson planning; artistic activities such as drawing, painting, puppets and dolls and crafts; practical techniques such as circles, games, stories, puppetry, finger plays and songs; early childhood education theory; child development; how children learn from birth to age 6; and meeting local government requirements. Our trainees receive a foundation in Experiential Buddhist studies engaging in meditation and understanding and Buddhist philosophy throughout their training.
Experiential Buddhist Kindergarten Curriculum
Our curriculum content is a fusion of: • The kindergarten teacher's depth of understand of the Buddhist view and meditation and their commitment to their own personal development. • A bespoke curriculum content that brings together both an inclusive generic Buddhism together with a specific Buddhist tradition, such as, Theravada, Zen, Tibetan/Himalayan Buddhism. • Sense of place and local heritage brought through a Buddhist worldview and the Waldorf learning approach • The Waldorf Transformative pedagogy and wholesome understanding of early childhood
The Buddhist Year
At the heart of our Buddhist Year curriculum is Experiential Buddhist Learning. Teachers provide young children with experiences of the Buddhist Year using the Waldorf methodology: • Daily Buddhist offerings and rituals • Monthly Buddhist auspicious ceremonies and rituals • Yearly Buddhist auspicious ceremonies and rituals • Buddhist festival throughout the year
Rhythms is experience we wish to offer young children through our curriculum. Our daily rhythm is designed to offer children a natural in-breath and out-breath inner experiences. This include a balance of child directed and teacher directed activities; Being, going in, quiet activities and expansive, learning through doing and imitation activities. The children experience, through our carefully designed curriculum, a sense of interconnectedness and rhythms of nature and the Buddhist year. Our curriculum interweave daily, weekly monthly and yearly Buddhist rhythms together with nature, the rhythm of the seasons, wilderness and farming year. We also integrate local heritage and cultural celebrations as an important part of our kindergarten content. In this way, we construct a physical, emotional and social environment for young children to flourish and learn in a way that respects and honours their developmental phase. We do this through our play based curriculum where children learn through imitation and having caring adults who serve as role models to nurture gratitude, reverence, love, kindness and compassion in children. Naturally, our pedagogical approach to learning in kindergarten is different than the one we have for primary. We designed a curriculum where teaching and learning happens indirectly with a strong focus on children learning through play, imagination and being.
Awe Wonder and Reverence
• Treading lightly on the earth: Buddhist ecology and nature filled experiences that follow the seasons, weather, rhythms of nature, be it wilderness or the farming year. • Heritage experiences, for example, Himalayan Buddhist and other cultural festivals from other traditions to nurture in children that diversity is part of a human experience • Celebrating children’s birthday using our own unique Experiential Buddhist style • Celebrating auspicious Buddhist days and auspicious Buddhist events in a developmentally appropriate way • Buddhist offerings and rituals: daily, monthly and yearly developmentally appropriately designed experiences • Meditation with young children: Developmentally appropriate awareness and mindfulness experiences for kindergarten children • Experiencing Buddhist ethics and view through storytelling, puppetry and the teacher being a role model worthy of imitation. • The teachers are committed to their own personal development as part of their teaching practice to engage in regular meditation and contemplation practices relating to Buddha nature and innate goodness, impermanence, karma, interdependence, loving kindness and compassion, non violence, Buddha nature, and the four immeasurable • Stories and puppetry relating to Shakyamuni Buddha’s life • Storytelling: Folk tales and fairy tales from around the world; Nature; storiesBuddhist circles • People at work and heritage learning: i.e., salt traders, trade caravans; mule men, farmer, weaver, monk, lama, omze, shrine master for kindergarten of Himalayan Buddhist communities • Language teaching and learning (native language and additional languages): the bilingual/trilingual classroom • Arts and crafts with young children • Buddhist related craft • Heritage arts and crafts • Cooking with young children • Gardening with young children
A Day in an Abiding Heart Kindergarten
Educating the Will: Forming Positive Habits and Inner experiences.
Mindful compassionate care: nurturing the child's sense of warmth, touch, smell and life: washing for children’s face and hands using essential oils and warm water. We foster in the children a feeling of trust that the world is good • Daily rituals, mantras, chants and meditation experiences throughout the day. Beginning and ending the day with aspiration, reverence, rituals and dedication • Free play (child directed): • Dramatic play/home corner • Construction corner • Quiet corner (reading corner; pre-literacy and pre- numeracy corners) • Choices (with some guidance from teacher): • Baking and cooking • Crafts • Arts • Outdoor play • Gardening • Nature based experiences: nature walks; forest activities; farming activities on the farm • Celebrating Festivals • Circle time • Storytelling (nurturing oral tradition) • Story time (reading to the child) • Puppet shows • Dressing up stories • Songs, and playing musical instruments • Verses and Poems recitations • Care for the environment: Tidy up time • Body care: Toilet/washing time • Rest and quiet time • Sharing meals and snacks and learning the art of conversation and being together • Individual group learnings activities (pre-literacy and pre-numeracy) - optional (teacher directed)Learning • Languages learning • Building a strong foundation for native language • Introducing a second language • A bilingual classroom • Additional language in small groups - optional (teacher directed) • Whole class additional language learning
Teacher as a Role Model
Following the Waldorf education approach and the Buddhist view, meditation and practicing virtues, our kindergarten teachers cultivate the following qualities and practices, essential to deliver our curriculum: • The teacher is committed to their own inner development and meditative practice • The teacher holds the view of Buddha Nature, Bodhicitta, interdependence, karma and reincarnation • Begin their day by setting motivation/intention and making aspirations. • End the day by dedicating the merit of educating their pupils for the benefit of all children and all beings • The teacher is committed to morning and evening mediation practices for the children • The teacher continues to develop insight into the Buddhist understanding of nature of reality and human development. They aim to teach the children with the understanding that our education aim to: • Sow seeds of re- connecting with our innate basic goodness, our Buddha nature • Nurture healing: from unhealthy self towards a healthy sense of self • Guide children to work through their karma • Respect that the child has come to us bringing with them great deal of potential they brought with them into this birth • Contemplate the preciousness of human life • Strive to understand and meditate informally on nature of reality being impermanent, multiple and interdependent • The teacher is committed to a life long learning and continues to deepen with their pedagocigal understanding • The teacher sees each child is a unique individual and that all children have the same innate goodness, Buddha Nature. • The teacher is able to practice what they understand as a path of inner development towards freedom and how that can be put into practice when teaching young children • The teacher creates a harmonious sense of community with colleagues and parents where there is respect for individual and group needs and processes. • The teacher takes deep interest and learn to understand their pupils' background heritage culture The teacher engages in daily reflective and contemplative practice relating to their pupils, compassion and insight • The teacher engages meaningful work and artistic activities for the children to imitate • The teacher is committed to the protection of childhood • The teachers cultivates attitudes of reverence, gratitude, joy, wonder, positivity and generosity • The teacher ensures to develop a healthy rhythm in their lives and leads a balance healthy lifestyle in body and mind • The teacher remains in awareness throughout the kindergarten day and holds her class in awareness • The teacher practices classroom management with equanimity, gentleness and kindness
The Abiding Heart's Experiential Buddhist Curriculum is holistic and localised, taking into consideration diversity and inclusivity and social justice in the design of the whole approach. Our curriculum is designed to be flexible to slot bespoke content that meets the specific needs of the community it is intended for. The following areas in our curriculum are designed to be bespoke and includes: • The specific geo-socio-cultural, climate, environment of the region our curriculum is implemented at. This includes traditional cultural knowledge processed through Buddhist ecology-based sustainability paradigm • The specific Buddhist tradition, lineage, master/guru, specific prayers, rituals and practices our curriculum is implemented for. Within Tibetan Buddhism there are four main lineages, the Kagyu, as an example Within the Kagyu lineage there are several lineages, such as Karma Kagyu, Drukpa Kagyu, etc. Within that there are different masters and their own specific practices. We take all of this into consideration when designing and implementing our Experiential Buddhist Curriculum. In our kindergarten teacher training course, the trainees learn to use our pedagogical approach and curriculum and design specific content for the specific tradition, lineage and master they belong to. In addition, our curriculum includes the foundational Buddhist content that is in common with and practiced by all Buddhist traditions. • The specific language of instruction that the curriculum be taught. The content of our curriculum and resources are translated into that language. We believe that children should learn using their native language. Additional languages are also introduced as a second language to create a bilingual class. • The Abiding Heart Education Approach is designed to create bespoke curriculum to all faith based traditions by resting on contemplative traditions' worldview of interdependence and on contemplative science and the specific community's heritage,faith, cultural and traditional knowledge processed through the Waldorf methodology. For more information, please visit Abiding Heart's Experiential Contemplative Education: www.abidinghearteducatio.nnet
Bespoke Kindergarten Curriculum
Experiential Buddhist Kindergarten Curriculum for the Karma Kagyu Tradition
The Abiding Heart Education Buddhist Kindergarten Yearly Curriculum: From Losar to Gutor: In this yearly plan we zoomed in on the Karma Kagyu lineage and Nepalese high himalayan culture and way of life. This is to demonstrate how the curriculum is designed to include specifics such as a Buddhist lineage within a specific tradition, a teacher, a culture. The curriculum also includes generic aspects of Buddhism that form the foundation and the frame for the kindergarten curriculum. It does have the flexibility to design and create specific aspects of the curriculum to meet unique, cultural, geographical and specific Buddhist traditions and practices. Celebrating the Buddhist Year • Losar • Sutra Resounding • Chotrul Duchen • Sagadawa • The Buddha’s birth • The Buddha’s enlightenment • The Buddha’s Paranirvana • Choker Duchen • Purnima • Gampopa’s birthday • Guru Rinpoche’s birthday • Celebrating the living masters’ birthdays according to one's own tradition • Yarne-Rainy season retreat • Nilog • Nagkso Drubchen • Monlam • Drubchens/Drubchu • Guru Rinpoche Tsechu Karcham (Guru Rinpoche lama dance day) • Monthly pujas: Shakyamuni day, Guru Rinpoche day, Dakini day • Daily developmentally appropriate sadhanas (Tara, Shakyamuni, or Avalokiteshvara) • Celebrating Tsongkhapa day • Celebrating Milarepa day • Celebrating Sakyapa day • Lhabab Duchen
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