Delivering the Abiding Heart’s Primary Curriculum
Thematic Based Main Lesson Blocks
The children are immersed for 3-6 weeks in one of the following theme based integrated and immersive learning. Subject lessons echo the content of the main lessons: • World history • Cultural studies • Experiential Contemplative studies • Nature studies • Literacy • Numeracy • Geometry • Algebra • Sciences • Sustainability education • The Contemplative view and experience • Nature retreats and compassionate weeks • Literature
Beyond using Integrated STEM education, which combines two or more subjects into one learning experience, we use Steiner's integrated learning that includes: Head Learning: Knowledge-based, intellectual learning. Heart Learning: Affective, emotional literacy, meditation, and the arts related learning Hand Learning: Practical skills- hands on learning through doing. Apply head and heart learning in everyday life. Throughout the school day and year in various lessons and learning themes in main lessons and subject lessons we integrate: • Meditation with children on a daily basis • Experiential Contemplation • Contemplative view (such as, all encompassing compassion, interdependence, love, joy, compassions and equanimity, motivation, precious human life, impermanence, the law of causality, • Reverence and wonder • Contemplative education • Practice lessons relating to the main theme learning 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 past experiences they bring with them; into this the collective 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 goodness or awaken nature. This uniqueness manifests in the child's character, past experiences, 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 Contemplative 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 Contemplative 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 Contemplative tradition's 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.
Morning Circles (Contemplative Experiential Learning)
Abiding Heart's Morning Circle is divided into: Contemplative Circle: Meditation and Understanding, reflecting and meditating on Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. Learning Circle: Contemplative movement • Poetry • Music • Speech • Mental maths • Brain gymnastics activities.
Subject lessons are integrated with main lesson blocks. These are ongoing weekly lesson and integrated with main lessons themes: • Landcraft and gardening (horticulture studies) • Outdoor education • Games (including cooperative and team games) • Yoga • Contemplative movement • Drama and class-plays • Cooking • Heritage (i.e., Scotland): crafts: i.e., basketry, handmade paper, incense • Handwork: knitting, sewing, crocheting, embroidery • Green woodwork • Metal work • Additional languages and learning in a bilingual and a trilingual class • Music: playing musical instruments and singing • Arts: painting, drawings, modelling and sculpture; • Newar Paubha (cl 4-8) • Stone carving (cl 4-8) • Wood carving (cl 4-8) • Metal work (cl 7-8)
These skills are part of on going daily lessons throughout the year: • Numeracy • Literacy (native language) • Second language • Additional language
Just Being: Nature Retreats & Compassionate Weeks
Just Being: Nature retreats and compassionate weeks are immersive nature based outdoor experiences and learning to be, using hermitage/wilderness and householder ways of being. Contemplative and healing considerations to compassionate weeks also include getting in touch with the processes and constant changes occuring in nature, such as, the seasons and their effects on harmonising the mind and instilling confidence of one’s place in the world. The children experience, through doing and being, the earth as a living organism and its relationship to the moon, sun, and stars. In this way we foster in children a sense of place and security. We help ground the pupils in the view of interdependence by relating at every stage of their development as interconnected with nature. In this way, we support children to build resilience and self-confidence.
A Daily Rhythm in an Abiding Heart's Primary Class
Abiding Heart's daily morning circles bring together: Contemplative circle: • Awareness and mindfulness meditation & loving kindness and compassion reflective practices. • News/sharing Learning Circle: • Movement • Singing • Music • Poetry • Brain gym exercises • Mental maths • Speech practice • Language practice
Main Lesson: Thematic
Beginning of main lesson: • Setting motivation and morning poem • Main/New learning (head, heart and hand learning) • Recall and new main learning. For more, please see main lesson block themes and Abiding Heart's curriculum content. End of Main Lesson: • End of lesson dedication and poem
A time for a snack and to run around in nature, playing with friends and enjoying the natural playground.
Literacy Numeracy Second language Additional Languages
These are weekly, ongoing lessons throughout the school year: • Visual arts • Drama • Crafts • Woodwork • Stone carving • Handwork • Music • Singing • Additional languages • Home economics • Form drawing • Landcraft ans gardening • Nature walks and hikes • Outdoor education • Games • Contemplative dance • Yoga • Clay modelling
A leisurely time of sharing a meal and playing in the playground.
Subject Lessons Continues
Subject Lessons continue
End of School Day Circle
Meditation Dedication Closing the day