Nubri Kindergartens Teacher Training Project
Abiding Heart Education Teacher Training Sponsorship Programme
“Abiding Heart Education is an experiential Buddhist approach to learning in the process of discovering our inner well-being. The path to this discovery begins with understanding and deepens through direct experience. We then learn to apply our insights in everyday life. This style of learning thus engages the head and the heart and is expressed by building healthy habits that inform every aspect of our lives. True transformation occurs when our innate qualities of wisdom and compassion are fully expressed, enabling us to care deeply for ourselves, for each other, and for the world. Abiding Heart Education developed and embodies this approach, bringing together contemporary transformational approaches to learning and ancient contemplative principles.” – Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Abiding Heart education is currently training teachers from kindergartens in the Prok and Samagaun villages in Nubri, in the Gorkha District in Nepal. The Nubri Kindergarten Teacher Training project aims to continue to support teachers through this training while working to increase and broaden the intake of trainee teachers across Nubri for sustained social, economic and environmental change and to preserve the unique Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Our work involves:
Training kindergarten teachers in Abiding Heart’s experiential Buddhist education
Developing a bespoke curriculum for the Nubri region
Consulting with kindergartens on classroom design and resources (e.g. natural playgrounds) and enabling trainees to make toys and other resources to support learning and child wellbeing
Translating the kindergarten curriculum content and resources into Tibetan
Consulting on the management of kindergartens and the importance of implementing a continual professional development programme
Providing a mentor programme for trainee teachers
About the Region
The Nubri valley (which includes Samagaun and Prok villages), is in the Nepalese High Himalayas within the Manaslu Conservation Area, close to the Tibetan border. This conservation area is divided into the Nubri and Tsum valleys. Sama village is based at 3,850m above sea level. Prok is a two day walk away from Sama. These villages are part of ten villages of Nubri with Samagaum being located at the foot of Mount Manaslu, the world‘s eighth highest mountain. Along with these villages, the inhabitants of a further three villages have expressed interest in establishing kindergartens. In addition, Mingyur Rinpoche has proposed the development of an Abiding Heart kindergarten training centre in Flim village which will help to promote collaborative learning and practice in Nubri, thereby sustaining what is taught and experienced during the teacher training.
The people of Nubri are Buddhists of Tibetan ancestry. Sama has several sacred Buddhist sites and is the home of many renowned Buddhist masters such as Mingyur Rinpoche, Tsokneyi Rinpoche and recently the reincarnation of Tenga Rinpoche. Due to the remote location of the Nubri Valley, the villagers, mostly subsistence farmers and weavers, have increasingly struggled to sustain their livelihoods. More recently, increased tourism to the Manaslu Conservation Area has brought some economic opportunities, particularly in the trekking industry. However, due to the remoteness of these villages, development projects
have been slow to arrive. The physical characteristics of this remoteness (e.g. the absence of roads and difficult terrain and distance from other villages), remains a barrier to development. Subsequently, there are few economic and educational opportunities, with the average household income being US$340 per year. Compounded by the lack of health care facilities, there is also a high rate of infant mortality.
About the Training Course
The Nubri kindergarten teacher training course has been specifically designed for kindergarten teachers who are currently teaching in villages in this area. The course aims to preserve the unique Tibetan culture and Buddhism, while introducing transformational and experiential education practices, as a foundation for kindergarten education in the Buddhist Himalayas.
The Nubri kindergarten curriculum integrates the principles of Waldorf Education with Tibetan Buddhism and as mentioned, is fully embedded in Buddhist Himalayan Tibetan culture. Due to the urgency to protect Nubri’s local’s culture, Abiding Heart Education (AHE) has undertaken to translate all Abiding Heart kindergarten curriculum into the Tibetan language. Teachers will have access to rich materials in Tibetan to support children’s sense of self and cultural identity.
Another core objective of the kindergarten teacher training course is to invest in and support local women to bring about sustained long-term social, economic, and environmental change. Due to the central role of women as carers and support workers, education and training are powerful factors in improving areas such as health outcomes for women and children, educational opportunities for children and the income potential of households.
The part-time Nubri kindergarten teacher training course is designed to be completed over four years and provides some flexibility for trainee teachers, who can, to some extent, determine the shape of the learning programme each year at a pace that suits them, while continuing to gain kindergarten school experience. The course involves two main blocks of teaching:
An 8-week winter residency on the Abiding Heart campus
A 10-week online training course over the summer
The Abiding Heart trainers travel to Nubri three to four times a year in the spring and autumn to continue to train the trainee teachers. In addition, these trainee teachers are accessing our mentorship programme for regular support and guidance from the Abiding Heart training team.
Siblings on the way to Sama kindergarten
From 2021, students on the Abiding Heart full time Diploma course will also work alongside the Nubri teacher trainees in the kindergartens in Nubri twice a year. This will provide a unique opportunity for both groups of students to exchange knowledge and offer mutual hands-on support.
The Nurbi trainee teachers receive a theoretical and practical understanding of early childhood education based on Abiding Heart’s experiential Buddhist learning approach and the cultural heritage of the High Himalayas. The course content includes:
A foundation in Experiential Buddhist studies
Abiding Heart’s holistic child development from birth to rebirth and learning theories
Abiding Heart kindergarten curriculum studies
Curriculum and lesson planning
Artistic activities such as drawing, painting, and crafts
Practical techniques such as circles, games, stories, puppetry, finger plays and songs
Successful graduates will receive an Abiding Heart Education Kindergarten Teaching Certificate.
About our Team of Teacher Trainers
Our international team of highly qualified teacher trainers have an intimate knowledge of the Tibetan language and the socio-cultural context as well as the skills to support both teacher and child wellbeing and development. Our team provides a unique opportunity for trainee teachers, who are taught by teacher trainers that have many years of experience in Nepalese Waldorf education and experience of Abiding Heart Education that forms the foundation of the kindergarten curriculum.
The Teacher Sponsorship Programme
The teacher sponsorship programme provides financial support to broaden the reach of the kindergarten teacher training course across Nubri and to increase the recruitment of new trainee teachers. Sponsorship supports the delivery of the course, from providing trainers’ salaries, trainers accommodation and travel expenses, to enabling trainee teachers to access resources and materials for their kindergartens as well as supporting them with food and accommodation costs when attending training at the Abiding Heart campus in Kathmandu. The sponsorship programme also supports our continued work to translate the curriculum into Tibetan and the creation of rich resources for local Buddhist Himalayan kindergarten schools.
The Nubri kindergarten teacher training sponsorship programme lays the foundation for early childhood education in the Nubri region, providing high quality education, nurture, and care for its children.
The course empowers kindergarten teachers with the knowledge, skills and understanding to create a nurturing and stimulating learning environment in early years education to support child development. Evidence shows that early experiences of such positive learning
environments supports the development of self-esteem and confidence and increases the likelihood of children continuing in education.
The proposed development of a training and Dharma centre in Flim village, which is in the heart of Nubri valley, will widen the reach of the sponsorship programme, by enabling peer teaching and learning. It is our aspiration that this will sustain the approach of Abiding Heart Education across kindergartens in the region to the benefit of children and their communities and contribute towards improved social and economic opportunities as well as greater independence for women.