The Modality of the Abiding Heart Education™️ Approach
The Pillars of the Abiding Heart Education Approach
Worldview of Interdependence Abiding Heart Education rests on the view of interdependence. Reality is understood as made of many parts that are in relation to one another and are in constant motion and change. This philosophical understanding is explored through experiential meditative and contemplative practices and their application in everyday life. The Abiding Heart’s pedagogy, curriculum, teacher education/training, understanding human development and child development, learning approach rest on the view of interdependence. Our worldview draws from Buddhist philosophy, Steiner's worldview of nature of reality and human development, and contemplative science.
Abiding Heart’s Human Development view includes the time from birth to rebirth. We interweave and integrate the following disciples: contemplative psychology, developmental science, neuroscience, contemplative science, developmental psychology and holistic transformative pedagogies of Steiner and other contemporary philosophies of education. This unique understanding of Human development forms an essential foundation on which the Abiding Heart Education approach curriculum, methodology, practices, tools and application rest on. This includes contemplative child observation, and compassionate child study. For more information, click here.
Inner Development of the Teacher
The inner development of the teacher rests on the Buddhist path to freedom and includes: • Awareness and mindfulness meditation • Insight meditation • Analytical meditation • Contemplative practices • Loving kindness and compassion practices • Retreats • Steiner's biography work.
Our unique approach is a fusion of experiential contemplative learning methodology (understanding, meditating, applying), Steiner transformative pedagogy and aspects of integrated, inquiry based, and experiential, learning. The Abiding Heart's learning and teaching approach includes integrating and translating contemplative pedagogy into children’s transformative, and experiential education methodologies and practices, that are framed within Waldorf pedagogy and other contemporary frameworks. The primary purpose of the Abiding Heart's Learning Approach is to (re)connect to our innate goodness according to each individuals’ capabilities. We are guided by the Conetmlpative path of learning and inner development; a process that is both experiential and transformative. In this approach, we learn to apply our insights, or heart understanding, in everyday life, gradually forming new habits that are motivated by all encompassing compassion. This style of learning also embraces Dr Steiner’s children’s pedagogy that engages the head, heart and doing, and teaches us to learn about life from life, in a process towards spiritual awakening. We do this through the content of the children’s curriculum, the teacher training courses and the method or skilful means. By immersing ourselves in this way of being and process of learning, teachers and children alike, discover a space within themselves that is open, soft and radiant. The essence of this openness is love, which is at the core of all true spiritual endeavour and ultimately transcends desire and concern for oneself. It is the very heart of enlightened wisdom. The Abiding Heart’s Learning Approach goes beyond transmitting knowledge and facts. It is grounded in process with less focus on outcomes. Abiding Heart’s aim is on nurturing the learners’ changing consciousness through meditative and other experiences. In this approach, all aspects of learning and experiential knowing are interrelated. In this way, a shift towards integration in the way we think, feel and act is more likely to occur. This type of learning includes internal and external changes in consciousness in their connections to selfhood, others and nature. To carry out such a shift our unique approach nurtures learners as their awareness grows, widens and deepens in the development of wisdom and compassion. The aim of our approach is to have a learning journey that is intuitive, involving the heart/mind. As Contemplative Education and Steiner’s ideas of learning are transformational in nature, the emphasis of our approach is on developing wisdom and compassion in order to live a meaningful life. Our approach is holistic, giving equal weight to engaging head, heart, doing and being in the process of learning and teaching. It is centred on emotional literacy, and a multi-sensory experiential approach to learning. By integrating a range of learning approaches into the cohesive Abiding Heart’s Experiential Contemplative Learning Approach, (for children and adults) we are able to deeply engage in inner exploration and offer a range of skills to apply in everyday life. Through our learning approach and curriculum content we help nurture and develop resilience in our children and their teachers. We researched and examined how the Contemplative learning and teaching styles can be “translated” through Steiner pedagogy to form the Abiding Heart’s Learning Approach and our Experiential Contemplative Learning for children. In addition, we studied the intersection, or meeting points, between these learning methodologies and contemporary learning systems and developed our own unique learning approach. The Abiding Heart’s Learning Approach is a fusion of: Contemplative learning approach Steiner-Waldorf pedagogy Aspects of contemporary learning methods and practices: Experiential - learning through doing and experiencing Integrated Project based Inquiry based Contemplative, experiential - meditative Co-constructive Peer learning Central to our approach is nurturing the development of imagination and perceiving each child as a unique individual that has this wonderful ultimate nature that is all encompassing goodness. For example, in the Contemplative view, to be aware of suffering is the beginning of healing. Our suffering, such as mental afflictions and obscurations are not innate. They are temporary and therefore, they can be removed. In our learning approach, in line with Contemplative practices and Steiner-Waldorf pedagogy, we use our capacity of imagination to develop positive mental dispositions. We imagine having all encompassing compassion and wisdom. We do this through imagining having enlightened, wholesome qualities of mind, speech and body or in the way we think, speak, feel and act and use our will. In our learning approach, we embrace the Waldorf approach of nurturing the development of imagination in children, making mental images or learning to visualise. Following the Steiner’s method of using stories to aid in developing imagination and the Contemplative use of imagination to visualise all goodness qualities which we all posses at the core of our being. We use concepts to go beyond concept. The children are able to experience such qualities in body, speech and mind, and imagine how their own luminous qualities can manifest in body speech and mind or in actions, speech, feelings and thinking. By having such daily positive affirmations, we are helping children develop an inner disposition towards reconnecting with and manifesting our own innate goodness or awakened nature. It is possible for the children (and us) to imagine this and with that sense our true nature, because in our essence, we already are full of this wisdom and compassion or unconditional essence love. In the Abiding Heart's Learning Approach, teachers perceive each child as a unique individual. This manifests through the child’s temperament or personality type, specific body constitution, their individual past experiences they bring with them and the experiences of the group/culture/race they belong to 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 innate wisdom and goodness. This uniqueness manifests in the child's character, experiences, temperament, personality type, body constitution and all-round make up. The essence of our pproach is that it rests on the understanding that spiritual development means the spirit of enlightenment motivated by love and compassion for the individual (for oneself and others), or by the power of goodness. This way of learning through engaging the head (understanding/knowing) and the heart (experiential/meditation), promotes and nurtures resilience and healthy ways of being in 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. “Receive the child in reverence, educate them in Love, and send them forth in freedom.” Rudolf Steiner
The Abiding Heart’s Experiential Contemplative Curriculum is divided into three sections: Kindergarten, Primary (class 1-8) and High School (class 9-12). We spent two decades designing our developmentally appropriate curriculum. Contemplative education, philosophy, universal ethics, and meditative experiential practices are integrated in all subjects and into every lesson and throughout the daily, weekly and monthly rhythms of the school year. Our aim is to nurture in children the development of wisdom and compassion through the content of our curriculum. The curriculum includes an array of subjects taught in kindergartens and primary, in class 1-8. All our subjects are immersed directly and indirectly in the contemplative traditions' view, meditation and how to apply in everyday life. The Abiding Heart's curriculum is rich, purposefully wholesome and true to Steiner’s ideal of educating the head, heart and hand. Our curriculum content and learning approach has been carefully designed to nurture healing and wholeness in children. The Abiding Heart's curriculum includes the following array of subjects: • Contemplative education • Literacy • Creative writing • Numeracy • Algebra • Geometry • Humanities: History, Geography • Earth sciences: Mineralogy, geology, astronomy • Life sciences: Zoology, botany, biology, anatomy • Natural science: Physics, Chemistry • Social studies • Celebrating festivals • Cultural studies • Heritage learning • Horticulture science • Home economics • Life skills • Nature-based education • Outdoor education • Environmental studies • Sustainability education • Performing arts: Drama and theatre, contemplative dance, music, singing, speech • Visual arts: Painting, drawing, clay modelling, sculpture • Textile crafts • Woodwork • Metalwork • Stone carving • Contemplative movement • Yoga • Games/Sports • IT • Design and Technology We integrated into every subject we teach, in each year group, developmentally appropriate compassionate and healing experiences for the children. These include: Developmentally and age appropriate awareness and mindfulness meditations; Loving kindness and compassion contemplative practices; Contemplative arts and Heritage art and craft; • Just Being- Nature Retreats; These are our nature based outdoor experiences of being. Currently we offer our curriculum through our full-time two-year kindergarten and primary teachers training courses together with on-going in-school mentorship programme during and after completing our training course. For more information about Abiding Heart's Experiential Contemplative Curriculum, click here.
Healing Contemplative Practices
Integrated into the Abiding Heart Education approach are contemplative practices from several traditions that nurture a process towards self healing. Our meditative and contemplative exercises are aimed at grounding mind in body. We bring awareness to the subtle body to support regulating the nerves system and aid children who experience learning, emotional or behaviour difficulties.
Abiding Heart's teacher training courses have been developed to encompass each of the Abiding Heart's pillars or components. Currently we offer two full time teacher training routes: • Kindergarten Teacher Training in Abiding Heart Education • Primary Teacher Training in Abiding Heart Education
Resting on the Pillars of Abiding Heart Education each of the above full time training programme includes the following content:
Experiential Contemplative Foundation Studies
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Human Development Studies
Contemplative Psychologies and developmental science-based Human Development and Child Development from Birth to Rebirth. For more information, click here
Learning Theories and Methodologies
Contemplative learning methodology, Steiner pedagogy and other contemporary learning theories and approaches leading to the Abiding Heart’s learning and teaching approach. For more information, click here
Understanding Children with Additional Needs
Understanding Children with Special Needs from Contemplative psychologies perspectives, Stenerian theraputic and remedial education, developmental neuroscience, neurodiversity and applying neuroscience in supporting children with additional needs. For more information, click here
Abiding Heart's Kindergarten Curriculum Preparation Studies Abiding Heart's Primary (class 1-8) Curriculum Preparation Studies
School Organisation and Management
Community Building and Working with Parents
The Well-Being of the Child
Child study and Assessment
Meeting Government Requirements
Bespoke Experiential Contemplative Education
Reconnecting with our healthy sense of self and awakening to our innate goodness or true nature.