Schools+Children’s Dharma

This page primarily offers resources for those organising visits by schoolchildren to Buddhist Centres. Resources for ‘Young People’ are in a separate section under ‘Growth’. Legal considerations can be found on the Legal and organisational page.

Ask a Buddhist, Clearvision’s new and brilliant website with one-minute video-clip answers to schoolchildren’s 20 most-asked questions. The answers are by Buddhists from a range of traditions, not just Triratna.

The Bristol Centre’s Vitarka project has prepared the following three resource lists for teachers – each is a list of Buddhist books, CDs, posters etc suitable for teaching children. They are arranged by Key Stage, mostly with ordering details.

* list of factual Buddhist teaching books
* Buddhist children’s story books
* complete list of educational materials

School Visits to your Buddhist Centre: Munisha from Clear Vision in Manchester, UK, has kindly provided these materials they use for school visits. There’s…

* the leaflet they send out with information about what they provide for a visiting school: cv_school_visit_teachers_intro
* a handout for teachers for key stage 2 (8 to 11 years) before they visit: ks2info.pdf and one for after they visit: ks2-followup.pdf
* a handout for teachers for key stage 3 (12 to 14 years) before they visit: ks3info.pdf and one for after they visit: ks3followup.pdf
* a example of a risk assessment form that you could adapt for your centre. Teachers will have to do one of these if they are organising a visit somewhere and Munisha says, “teachers’ jaws drop open with amazement when they see it and it saves them loads of time and paperwork”: cv_school_visit_risk_assessment1

And the Bristol Centre’s Vitarka project has made available the following resources, beautifully produced:

* introducing_buddhist_practice_for_primary_schoolteachers
* introduction_to_buddhist_festivals
* introducing_buddhist_shrines
* simple_stilling_exercise_for_children
* follow_up_work_sheet_for_primary_school_teachers

Activities for parents and small children
Susie from Buddhafield offers these reflections on teaching meditation to parents with very small children – experience gained on their long-running Dharma Parents retreat. She says –

This year a parent (who has previously been on the team) did walking meditation in the morning where people were welcome to bring babes in arms. This worked really well.

On the retreat we’ve taken the approach of trying to offer lots of opportunities for people to practice meditation and awareness amidst activity. Most retreatants can’t manage to make all of the programme and some can only get to very few things, so by providing lots of opportunities the idea is that everybody manages to get to something, even if they still have young ones totally glued to them.

We’ve prioritised the daily dharma discussion groups and daily morning community meetings, encouraging everyone to come to these if possible. We had a puppet show during the discussion groups to make it easier for parents to come. Sometimes parents brought their babies or children to the discussion groups. This often meant they had to come and go, sometimes abruptly; it’s felt important to be really flexible so people can make it work to come to the groups.

Each group started with about 15 mins of sitting meditation; so if people don’t get to any other meditation activities, at least they had this time.

One year I did a meditation session for parents together with their babies or toddlers. It was for the parents and the toddlers could wander round and play, we didn’t try to determine what they did, but did have a minder supporting us to ensure they kept safe. We did pure awareness meditation with eyes open, bringing awareness to each sense in turn, then bringing it all together. The idea was to try and bring meditative awareness into a more every-day kind of situation where your kids are around you, maybe making lots of noise. Some of the time it was very noisy and sometimes quite still. The first year it worked well. It was chaotic and challenging but fruitful”.

Other Resources
Amaravati have a very active children’s group, which publishes a magazine called Rainbows. To see lots of songs, games, meditations etc, go to: http://www.family.amaravati.org/home.htm

German language
Materials on Ritual for Children: Jnanacandra from Essen Centre has provided the following materials for children: rezitationstexte-fur-kinder.doc

Other good ideas and materials are very welcome, for posting up here, for others to make use of. For instance, advice on running retreats for parents and children…

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