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Abiding Heart's Experiential Buddhist Primary Curriculum

Being, Cognitive, Affective, and Applying Learning

Educating the Head, Heart and Hand to Be

Abiding Heart's Experiential Buddhist Curriculum for Primary (class 1-8) is based on meeting the child's  spiritual, physical, socio-emotional, linguistic and cognitive developmental needs in each grade or year group. We follow closely developmental science and neuroscience's understanding of child development and Dr Steiner's holistic indications of the child's changing consciousness. We applied this knowledge in great depth when designing our curriculum content and delivery. 

Abiding Heart's Learning Approach

In our approach, teachers perceive each child as a unique individual. This manifests through the child’s temperament or personality type, specific body constitution, their individual karma they bring with them into this incarnation and the karma of the group/culture/race they were as well as the time in history they were born into. Each child is treated as a unique individual but not as special. This is because in essence we all have this primordial wisdom or enlightened nature. This uniqueness manifests in the child's character, karma, temperament, personality type, body constitution and all-round make up. Body, speech and mind styles of learning: In the Abiding Heart’s approach we bring together a fusion of the Buddhist and Steiner’s views of seeing each child as a unique individual having their own unique qualities and temperaments. Some children are more in their feeling and artistic realm when learning; They are more inclined to be a speech temperament type. Some children are more of a mind temperament type; they are more inclined to conceptual abstract or intellectually learning style. Some children are more of a body or visual and kinesthetic type temperament; they are more inclined to learning through observing and doing/experiencing Steiner’s approach to teaching children according to their temperaments: Abiding Heart teachers learn to understand the four temperaments and the body, speech and mind tendencies in each student’s personality. They learn to observe this in each child and learn how to use and apply this knowledge in teaching their pupils. Our teachers learn to teach their pupils according to the children’s temperament and development. Each developmental phase also affects the development of personality type or temperament. Teaching the children according to their temperament is central to Waldorf primary and high school education. Teaching according to the students’ body, speech or mind personality type is an important tool in the Buddhist learning methodology. We, at Abiding Heart, spend a great deal of time understanding each personality type/ temperament and through that use a multi-sensory learning and teaching modality that uses body (doing, will activity, kinesthetic), speech (feeling/heart/artistic) or mind (thinking/ abstract/conceptual/intellectual) related learning styles. A central teaching tool in our learning approach is delivering our lessons to the children through stories and storytelling. We add profound learning aid to storytelling by appealing to or engaging the interest of the four temperaments at different parts of the lesson. In this way, each child’s temperament will be nourished in each lesson. We are trying to develop the positive aspect of each child‘s temperament so that they can self manage their challenges that come with some aspects of their temperament. The content of our lessons, therefore, is structured to give positive images for each temperament. The Steiner learning approach uses the knowledge of the temperaments to structure lessons with variety that will appeal to the different temperaments of their pupils. All learning geared towards the choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic temperaments are exercised in each lesson to appeal to each child’s personality type: The Buddhist three style of learning personalities: Body personality learning style involves observing teachers and adults in action and learning through doing. Barbara Rogoff calls it ‘Observing and Pitching In’. In Steiner’s pedagogy this refers to educating the will by learning through doing and imitation. (phlegmatic, melancholic) Speech personality learning style involves engaging with rhythmic activities, the arts, music, and speech. These activities relate to speaking/singing/chanting and active listening, developing the art of speech and listening that engages and nourishes the heart or feeling realm (sanguine) Mind personality involves building mental images and building live concepts in building concepts and processing the lessons content. (choleric, melancholic) Through our teacher training our teacher trainees develop special observation skills and learn to understand body, speech and mind tendencies in each child's personality and temperament. Through child observation and child study the teacher learns to understand each child’s learning style and use this knowledge to prepare their lessons and teach their class according to each child’s personality type and temperament. It is important to note that rarely is anyone just one personality type or temperament. We are likely to express a bif of all temperaments and personality type in different situations, with one may be particularly stronger than the others.

Abiding Heart's Primary Curriculum

The Primary (class 1-8) subjects and themes below are taught in an integrated way during main lesson thematic learning blocks, subject lessons, practice lessons and nature retreats. Language Arts: • Writing: Handwriting; Spelling; Grammar; Composition; Creative writing; Writing to purpose. In addition to developing a good cursive handwriting style, we also use form drawing. We encourage the use of colour in the children's work and the use of word processing when developmentally appropriate. • Speaking and Listening: Understanding; speech and presentations • Reading and comprehension Our Language Arts curriculum encompasses the following languages: • Native Language: Literacy is taught in an integrated way within the main lesson and is practised in practice lessons. • Second Language: Second language is taught daily with the intention that, as the pupils gain proficiency in speaking, understanding, writing and reading in this language, it will then be used to teach content and be part of the bilingual classroom. • Towards a Bilingual and Trilingual Class: Second language (i.e., English), starting with an intensive colloquial programme followed by writing and reading. • Additional Language: This is taught as a foreign language and lessons run several times a week. In some instances, the additional language may be a language the children are familiar with and so the focus of this lesson would be to teach writing and reading skills. This language may not be used as the main language of instructions. • Buddha Dharma Language Mathematics, Buddhist ethics and mindfulness: • Numeracy • Arithmetic • Algebra • Form drawing: Grounding and awakening • Geometry: Grounding and awakening Humanities, the Buddhist view and ethics: • Buddhist history • World history • Cultural studies • Celebrating festivals • Geography and sense of place Heritage learning: • Heritage arts & crafts and the paramitas Science and the Buddhist view and ethics: In lower primary (class 1-5), we lay the Buddhist foundation for teaching middle school science curriculum by introducing to the children basic concepts of cause and effect, interdependence and impermanence. For example, we link in our class 3 Nature Science and Farming and our class 5 Botany with Abhidharma’s understanding of cause and effect - karma. We also teach these subjects from the view of interdependence and impermanence (subtle momentary continuous changes and gross change). Observing various phenomena that are related to causes and conditions for something to happen, not to happen or for certain changes to occur. Earth sciences and the Buddhist view: • Mineralogy • Geology • Astronomy Life sciences and the Buddhist view and ethics: • Zoology • Botany • Biology • Anatomy Natural science and the Buddhist view and meditation: • Physics • Chemistry ​ Landcraft, horticultural science and applied Buddhism: Horticultural science is an applied science that brings together plant science and aesthetics of plants. It is the science and art of producing edible fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and ornamental plants. Working on the land can help build or rebuild in children a sense of self- worth and confidence, an antidote to the feeling of alienation in the world. It also aims to minimise internal and external imbalances by strengthening and harmonising the children's body and mind. We use this also to help students work communally and as a team and to lay the foundation for responsibility, patience, reverence of nature, gratitude, self- reliance, endurance and wonder. Learning gardening skills helps our pupils understand interdependence and interconnection leading to respect of the different people and occupations/skills. We aim to develop confidence and self- understanding in our pupils and to help their body sense by sharpening their sense of balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. Home economics and the Buddhist view Nature-based education sustainability studies: Relates nature studies to the social, economic and environmental areas. The social aspects focus on activities of human beings that are affecting the environment; The economic aspects focus on sustainable and unsustainable human economic activities. The environmental protection and conservation aspects focus on caring for the planet, such as recycling; litter awareness; waste minimisation. • Outdoor education, nature retreats and experiential Buddhism • Environmental studies and Buddhist ecology • Sustainability studies and Buddhist ethics Buddhist art: • Paubha painting • Thangkha painting • Charya Nritya Buddhist craft: • Mani stones carving • Rituals craft Performing arts and the healthy sangha: • Drama and theatre • Contemplative dance • Speech • Music and the Four Foundations of Mindfulness: learning to play musical instruments, singing and chanting, and reading music Contemplative visual arts and mindfulness: • Painting • Drawing • Clay modelling • Sculpture Crafts: • Textile crafts and mindfulness • Woodwork, the six paramitas and mindfulness • Metalwork the six paramitas and mindfulness • Stone carving and awareness and mindfulness meditation • Pottery Movement: Healing movement forms and Buddhist Education In the movement curriculum we link movement with: Innate goodness; Awareness meditation; Rituals and chants; Buddhist ethics; and Basic concepts of Buddhist view, such as, karma, interdependence, non- violence, loving kindness and compassion. • Contemplative movement • Yoga and mindfulness • Games/Sports and Buddhist ethics Technology and ethics: • IT • Design and technology​​​​ • Warm technology ​​ • Media Life skills, mind and Buddhist ethics: • Learning life skills and practising the six paramitas, ethics and skillful means • Self-Care Self-Management • Home Economics • Reproduction personal and health education with loving kindness and compassion We integrated into every subject we teach, in each year group, a developmentally appropriate compassionate and healing experience for the children. These include developmentally and age-appropriate: • Reconnecting with our innate goodness our Buddha nature; • Awareness and mindfulness meditations; • Loving kindness and compassion contemplative practices; • Heritage art and craft; Nature retreats, our nature based outdoor experiences of being.​ ​​ The Abiding Heart's curriculum brings together the following learnings: • Experiential Buddhism • Awareness and mindfulness meditation practices • Contemplative reflective practices • Just Being: Nature retreats and compassionate weeks. These are immersive nature based outdoor experiences using yogi and householder ways of being • Buddhist ecology • The Buddhist view, meditation and application  • Buddhist history and geography • Dharma language and vocabulary • Rituals and sadhana practices (daily, monthly and yearly) • Language arts • Mother language • Literacy and creative writing • Second Language • Towards a bilingual classroom • Additional Language • Dharma Language • Mathematics • Geometry • Humanities, the Buddhist view and ethics • Sustainability studies and • Buddhist ecology • Social science  • Crafts and the paramitas • Handwork and mindfulness • Movement and mindfulness • Science and the Buddhist view and ethics • Earth sciences • Life sciences • Natural science • Visual arts and shamata meditation • Performing Arts and • Buddhism • Life skills and self-care Our experiential Buddhist curriculum content and learning approach has been carefully designed to nurture healing and wholeness in children and with that sow seeds of rediscovering their innate goodness or buddha nature. Our curriculum takes into consideration meeting the local government education requirements. Currently, we offer our curriculum through our full- time two-year kindergarten and primary teachers training courses together with on-going in-school mentorship programmes during and after completing our training course.

Being & Cognitive, Affective and Doing/Applying Learning

Our Curriculum is Delivered through: 

Thematic Based Main Lesson Blocks

Integrated Learning

Morning Circles 

Subject Lessons 

Practice Lessons

Just Being: Nature Retreats &

Compassionate Weeks

A Daily Rhythm in Abiding Heart's Primary Class

Morning Circle

Main Lesson- Thematic

Morning Break

Practice Lessons 

Subject Lessons

Lunch Break: A leisurely 

Subject Lessons Continues  

End of School Day Circle

© Meyrav Mor 2016-2020. USA & Nepal PAT.PEND. HK Patent Registered (32023074459.3)

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© Meyrav Mor 2016-2020. USA & Nepal PAT.PEND. HK Patent Registered (32023074459.3)

Examples of Abiding Heart Education's Primary Curriculum Content 

The 12 Deeds of the Buddha: The Fifteen Days of Miracles
Dr Meyrav Mor and Ms Sonam Choden Thakuri 

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In Abiding Heart's Experiential Buddhism course for primary (class 1-8) our teacher trainees learn, among many, many other things, how to celebrate the auspicious Buddhist events, particularly the 12 deeds of the Buddha. Throughout the training we have been spending a wonderful time with our trainees contemplating the 12 deeds of the Buddha. The 15 miracles the Buddha performed is one of the 12 deeds. 

The focus of our understanding, contemplating  and meditating during Chotrul Duchen is the 15 Days of Miracles the Buddha performed in Sravasti. Read more

Once There was a Tree

Written by Natalia Romanova

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Once there was a tree.....In main lesson, the children listened to the story 'Once There Was a Tree', followed by a reflection about impermanence, interdependence, no harming, kindness and compassion to all beings.

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The Story of Bodhi and Chitta:

A Taster of Abiding Heart’s Primary Curriculum

Dr. Meyrav Mor

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I would like to share with you a taster of the Abiding Heart’s primary curriculum content. This section is from

 Just Being: Compassionate Weeks curriculum for Class 6-8 (age 12-15). The following story and activities are an example of an immersive week exploring socio-emotional themes using the contemplative traditions' pedagogy of listening, contemplating, and meditating.

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The Naughty Spirit that Wanted to be Green Tara:

A Taster of Abiding Heart’s Primary Curriculum

 

Dr. Meyrav Mor

The following contemplative story aims to provide support for children who experience jealousy and struggle to manage it. The story is told to the whole class as a way to awaken self-reflection, taking responsibility for one’s actions and the courage to accept what we can't have.

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