Programs and Classes

Developing self awareness and broader community awareness.

A key differentiator between Dharma School and state school curriculum are our programs focused on awareness and Compassionate Citizenship. These are additional to standard curriculum offerings, and have been designed to guide our students through personal discovery, self awareness and broader community awareness. We believe instilling our students with compassion, kindness, courage and generosity will equip them for a content life.
Our Clases

Awareness Program

A whole-school Awareness Programme based on Buddhist principles is integrated into the daily curriculum.

Our term themes underpin our yearly curriculum and are maintained each year in the same sequence to ensure student familiarity and a sense of continuity. We use these themes to guide our classes and focus on learning outcomes.

  •  Term one: Wellbeing
  • Term two: Social Harmony
  • Term three: Cultural Diversity
  • Term four: Environmental Balance

Throughout the year subjects include:

Interdependence, Gratitude, Respect, Non-Harm, Honesty & Intent (Motivation), Mindfulness, Aspiration, Courage, Generosity, Positive/Thoughtful Speech, Universal Responsibility, Difference, Humility, Patience, Contentment, Delight, Forgiveness, Loyalty, Kindness, Deep Listening and Loving Speech, Reverence for Life, Loving Thoughts towards Self and Others.

Our Awareness Programme Activities include: Meditation, discussion, reading and writing stories, drawing, art and craft, model-making, music, song and dance, construction, and role play.

Meditation

As a Dharma school, meditation is foundational on our pathway to developing wisdom and compassion.

Research has shown many benefits to meditation practice for children. Some of these benefits include:

  • Meditation helps students to become more focused, calm, quiet, settled and rested, by providing them with opportunities to learn to relax and reflect.
  • Ten to 12 minutes of mediation also enhances positivity and creativity among students, by reducing restlessness, nervousness and irritation.
  • The largest effects of meditation are experienced by those areas of the brain which are responsible for happiness and positive feelings.

We practice a range of meditation techniques including breath awareness, body-scan, loving-kindness, walking and chanting.

Noble Silence

Noble silence is an intentional voluntary silence and solitude.

We restrain our senses and release ourselves from communication, to allow a quiet inner depth of awareness to emerge.

Not directly looking or unnecessary eye contact, no hand gestures or body language, no phone or internet connections, nor reading.

It familiarises our mind with simple awareness and an open-hearted way of being.

Karma Yoga

The intention to perform a selfless action for the good of others. The aim is to give unattached service, with humility and with a connection to the bigger picture.

For 15 minutes of each day, each class performs specific cleaning and maintenance tasks. This encourages collective responsibility for caring for our spaces,  practical skills development, and a co-operative spirit.

Compassionate Citizenship

Compassionate Citizenship provides an opportunity for students to work in cross age groups to engage in learning projects that aim to bring benefit to the wider community.

Bush School

The Daylesford Dharma School introduced Bush School as a regular part of its curriculum in 2022 which reflects the intent of the School’s mission which is to contribute to the growth of a more mindful and sustainable world.  More specifically, the Dharma school values and supports children learning about and connecting with the natural environment.
Bush School is designed to provide regular one day immersions in nature within the local Hepburn Region. The learning that occurs is via experiential, place-based experiences that embed the environmental, cultural, social and historical aspects of local places. In these settings, it also provides a meaningful extension to the Awareness programme and our inquiries into Buddhist precepts and principles.
Research indicates there are many benefits for children taking part in nature based learning which include (adapted from Hughes, Elliot, Anderson & Chandler (2022)):

  •       The importance and value of connecting children with nature
  •       First Nations Peoples’ perspectives
  •       Advocacy for addressing climate change and sustainability
  •       Children’s agency
  •       Alignment with curriculum frameworks and learning outcomes across key learning areas
  •       Health and wellbeing aspect

Hughes, Elliot, Anderson & Chandler (2022), Early Years Learning in Australian Natural Environments

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“I consider education to be an instrument. Whether that instrument is used rightly or wrongly depends on our basic human motivation…”
– His Holiness The Dalai Lama-

Classes

Explorers, Discovery & Noble Guides.

Discoverers

Discoverers is the name given to our Prep and Grade One class as the new Preps join our little
school community. Children in this class are given the space and a range of provocations to
immerse and discover the world around them and get to know each other through play and
collaboration.

Through our inquiry program they journey into our community to discover more
about the people who help us, learn about the things that make our community special and are
introduced to special local places, indigenous ways of knowing, the wonders of diversity and
the importance of our environment.

Explorers

In the Explorers classroom, our Grade 2 and Grade 3 students begin to explore their world in a
much deeper way through their inquiry learning journeys.

Noble Guides

Our Noble Guides class is indicative of the role our 4/5/6 students play in our school and the
way in which they are supported to develop leadership skills and become invaluable mentors in
our community.