Nubri Kindergarten Teacher Training Project
Name of Project: Nubri Kindergarten Teacher Training Project
Project Period: 2017 to 2021
Location: Samagaun Kindergarten, Sama; Pork Kindergarten, Prok Village, Nubri, Manaslu, Gorkha, Nepal
Nubri Kindergarten Teacher Training Project Concluding Report
Abiding Heart Education supported the Samagaun and Prok Kindergartens in Nubri from 2017 to 2021. A bespoke training programme was created for these kindergartens to meet the unique needs of teaching in Nubri and training young teachers with no teaching experience. The focus of the training was to build their capacity as individuals and, at the same time, train them as teachers. Abiding Heart trainers have decades of experience in training teachers in the Himalayan region and the Nubri teacher training project was a reflection of the knowledge and understanding required to train teachers in this region. In addition to our training courses, we provided ongoing mentoring, consultancy and curricular content throughout the project period to the Nubri teachers.
Another central component to the Abiding Heart’s Nubri teacher training project was to preserve the unique Nubri Tibetan culture and Buddhism, while introducing transformational and experiential Buddhiast education practices, as a foundation for kindergarten education in the Buddhist Himalayas.
The Abiding Heart Buddhist kindergarten curriculum integrates the principles of Waldorf Education, Montessori and other progressive education approaches with Tibetan Buddhism and as mentioned, is fully embedded in Buddhist Himalayan Tibetan culture. Due to the urgency to protect Himalayan culture, Abiding Heart Education has undertaken to translate all Abiding Heart kindergarten curriculum into the Tibetan and Nepalese languages. The Nubri Teachers had access to rich Abiding Heart curriculum materials in Tibetan and Nepalese created and translated to support children’s sense of self and cultural identity.
The Nubri teachers made wonderful progress in their training and by the time Abiding Heart concluded the project of training them, they gained the capacities and confidence required to teach. We are confident that with the long and intensive training the Nurbi teachers received from Abiding Heart they are able to run their kindergartens smoothly and even begin to offer basic practical training to new teachers in the region.
Training this wonderful group of young teachers was not only about providing wholesome Buddhist and culturally relevant education but also about providing a nurturing space for them to grow as young adults who are trying to find their place and purpose in the world. It is the hope and wish of all of us at Abiding Heart that with the knowledge, care and support the Nubri teachers received from us they will continue to run their classes to a high standard.
In this concluding report, we provide a brief history of the Nubri kindergarten teacher training project and then we share with you details of the training Abiding Heart gave to the Nubri teachers from 2017 to 2021.
Background to the Nubri Kindergarten teacher training project
In 2017, the Sama teachers travelled to Kathmandu and spent 19 months in-house training with Bina Gurung in her Montessori kindergarten.
Bina is one of Abiding Heart’s experienced kindergarten trainers. She focused on teaching the Nubri trainees the Montessori approach to kindergarten with a focus on literacy and numeracy and teaching additional languages. After almost two years of training, the Nubri teachers then returned to Samagaun and began teaching in the newly set up kindergarten school.
Our trainer Bia Gurung
Some of her Nubri's trainees in action
In August 2019 we welcomed new trainees who were destined to teach at the Prok Kindergarten. The Prok teacher trainees received an initial one-month training at Abiding Heart Education centre in Kathmandu with Chandra Tamang, Kripa Rana and Ramila Rai, and then spent two months in-house training at the Tashi Waldorf School with Chandra Tamang and Kripa Rana. In the meantime, Abiding Heart advised on setting up the Prok kindergarten school, which opened in October 2019, and also made donations for purchasing toys and educational resources.
In November 2019 Chandra Tamang travelled to Nubri and spent one-month training the Nubri teachers in the Samagaun and Prok kindergartens. The help of a dedicated and experienced trainer proved to be extremely valuable in supporting the trainee teachers to apply the knowledge they had gained in their classrooms. This in-school training greatly facilitated the smooth and successful setting up and running of the education programme in Nubri. Further in-school training was offered to these kindergartens in 2021.
The innovative and flexible nature of the Abiding Heart’s bespoke teacher training for the Nubri teachers meant that the trainees receive both training specifically designed for their situation and classroom needs, and they also attend courses forming part of Abiding Heart’s teacher training, allowing them to broaden their knowledge base of educational theory, psychology and practice. Abiding Heart has been involved in training the Sama teachers from the very beginning in 2017 and until the completion of the Abiding Heart Nubri teacher training project in the summer of 2021.
Training Nubri teachers received from Abiding Heart from 2017 - 2021
Implementation of the Abiding Heart Education curriculum:
a) The Abiding Heart Education Buddhist kindergarten curriculum:
The contemplative circle for kindergarten
Meditation exercises for young children
Buddhist rituals and prayers for kindergarten
The Buddhist Year: Celebrating auspicious Buddhist days (Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, first turning, and parinirvana)
b) Circle time
d) Rhythm of the day, week and year
e) Teaching numeracy and literacy
f) Learning to make class resources
g) Puppetry: making stand up puppets and practicing a puppet show
e) Toymaking: knitting and sewing soft toys
f) Arts and Crafts activities: Learning to teach watercolour painting and crafts activities
g) Literacy: beginning of writing and reading in Tibetan, Nepali and English languages
h) Nature studies
i) English as a second language: The Nubri teachers received training and attended several courses at Abiding Heart in how to teach English as a second language. This course was specifically tailored to the needs and their pupils in Nubri. The course began with an introduction to teaching in a bilingual and a tri-lingual classroom. In the course of the training the Nubri teachers were guided in reflecting on the challenges they experience in their classrooms in implementing such a programme, and on how they learnt various languages when they were growing up. They also explored the impact of poor language instruction on acquisition of language and how this affects the ability to have a strong command of one language by the time they reach adulthood.
The Nubri teachers received on-going training on teaching English as an additional language in kindergarten focusing on how to teach spoken English and also how to introduce basic English literacy skills (phonics, writing, and reading). It was heartening to get enthusiastic feedback from the Nubri teachers that they now feel their confidence is growing in knowing how to teach the children.
- Individual/small group learning with a focus on comprehension and speaking. This involved gradually building up a relevant range of vocabulary and learning to speak natural English in short sentences.
- Whole class learning includes using objects, visuals, prompts, body language, storytelling, puppetry, songs and verses to increase the children’s vocabulary and expose them to longer sentences.
- Key in teaching an additional language is showing the children how to learn with a partner and in groups by actively communicating in the language they are learning.
j) Numeracy: numbers, grouping, sorting, shapes and size
k) The arts and crafts of puppetry
l) Rhythm of the day, week, year; crafts activities with children;
m) Working with parents
n) Lesson planning and assessment (writing end-of-year reports)
o) Learning circle time in the kindergarten
Holistic Kindergarten design: Creating the kindergarten environment and designing a playground. The Abiding Heart team also traveled to Prok kindergarten, Nubri in 2021 and built a playground in their lovely outdoor space.
Consultancy and advisory for the Nubri Kindergartens: This is provided on demand and, as detailed above, can include a wide range of areas, from designing a playground to working with parents.
Monthly lesson-planning sessions which greatly helped the Nubri teachers to apply and implement step-by-step what they have been learning in the Abiding Heart training courses throughout the year.
Mentorship: Throughout the project, the Abiding Heart team mentored the Nubri teachers regularly in person and during the pandemic also through zoom, WhatsApp messages, and calls, as this was the most efficient way of communicating given the lack of stable internet coverage in the mountains. During the few years project period, Abiding Heart also provided consultancy on classroom design and the design and construction of the playground at Samagaun kindergarten. The Nubri teachers contacted the Abiding heart team to ask for support on specific issues, such as transitioning children to primary school, classroom management, teaching a specific subject, or generally on how to teach. The young teachers are good at staying in touch with us and they also send photos and videos of their activities. This ongoing contact meant that we were able to prepare specific training sessions relating to their requests. The Nubri teachers kept in touch with the Abiding Heart team while they were implementing the content of this training in their classrooms and together we continued to fine-tune the language programme. We are happy to report that the implementation has been successful and the children have been picking up English quite quickly to the delight of the teachers and the parents.
Educational theory and psychology: Attachment Theory and Child development: development of self
Child Development from Birth to Rebirth course formed part of the Nubri Kindergarten and primary teacher training project. This course was offered online and a one-off opportunity for the Nubri teachers to participate in a groundbreaking integration of Buddhist human development, Developmental science, and the Steinerian perspective of the nature of the human being. The child development course the Nurbi teacher attended included the following:
Module 1: The Intersection of Buddhism, Developmental Science and Holistic Perspectives on Human Development
Module 2: Early Childhood: Birth to Age 7
Module 3: Middle Childhood: Age 7 to 14
Module 4: Adolescence: Age 14 to 21
Module 5: Adult Development: Lifespan phases from 21 to old age
Module 6: From the Bardos of Death through Prenatal Development to the Moment of Birth
Module 7: Child Development, Biography Work and the Buddhist View
The Learning Theories course formed part of The Nubri teacher training project course.
This course presented Buddhist learning and teaching methodologies, Steinerian learning and teaching approaches, and contemporary learning theories thus providing the theoretical complement to the more practically focussed curriculum studies section of the training they received at Abiding Heart.
The trainees were led on the journey through the various contemporary learning theories from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to Pestalozzi, Froebel, John Dewey, and Krishna Murti, to name a few, followed by Steiner’s transformational learning approach and more recent theories, such as multiple intelligences. Bina Gurung introduced a fascinating overview of the Montessori approach to learning.
We were reminded that “the aim of education is to educate the child towards inner freedom, that is, liberation” while Khenpo Sonam Tsewang emphasized that inner freedom rests on the two principles of prajna, discriminating awareness, and karuna, a sense of concern for others, which is compassion.
We hope this report has provided you with some insight into the depth and reach of both the Nubri teacher training programme. If you or your organisation wish for Abiding Heart to design a custom-made teacher training project for your school or community please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently, we have partnered with Benchen Monastery School in Pharpin, Kathmandu to train their kindergarten and primary teachers in the Abiding Heart Education approach. For more information about this teacher training project, please see Benchen School.