Activities

Bahá’í Education in Schools

Bahá’í education in schools

Introduction

Bahá’í Special Religious Education (Bahá’í SRE) is a moral and spiritual education programme held in over 30 primary schools in WA with over 1500 children attending. Students of all religious or cultural backgrounds are welcome to attend.

The program develops in children an understanding of the oneness of humanity. Children view themselves as world citizens who have the desire to develop virtues, or spiritual qualities, as foundations of peacemaking.

The Curriculum

Bahá’í education in schools curriculum

Bahá’í Special Religious Education currently uses two curriculums. One is developed by the Ruhi Institute, an educational institution whose purpose is to develop human resources dedicated to the spiritual, social and cultural progress of the communities that use its materials. Their course titled ‘Teaching Children’s Classes’ forms the basis of a curriculum for which multiple grades have been developed. These materials are widely used in schools across Australia and around the world.

It is important to mention that even though the children in Bahá’í Special Religious Education are instructed in the principles, teachings and basic beliefs of the Bahá’í Faith, the emphasis is on learning to think, to reflect and to apply spiritual laws to the life of the individual and society. Especially during the early years of childhood, great attention is given to the development of spiritual qualities and to those beliefs, habits and behaviors that constitute the essential attributes of a spiritual being.

The other curriculum is called ‘The Peace Pack’, which was developed in Western Australia and is also widely used in schools across Australia and has been translated into four different languages for use in countries around the world. Its themes are based on the Writings of the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh, whose teachings centre on unity and peace.

The Peace Pack is a spiritual education programme. Its themes are deeply rooted in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. It consists of four books of over 100 teaching sessions and a CD called Children Sing Songs from the Peace Pack. It caters for ages 6 – 12 years.

The abolition of war is not simply a matter of signing treaties and protocols; it is a complex task requiring a new level of commitment to resolving issues not customarily associated with the pursuit of peace
Bahá’í Writings, The Promise of World Peace

The Peace Pack was inspired by and grew out of The Promise of World Peace, a statement released in 1985 by the world governing body of the Bahá’í Faith, on the occasion of the United Nations International Year of Peace. This document explores issues relating to the peace process while providing the vision and steps necessary for its achievement. The Peace Pack explores these issues with the conviction that a lasting peace is not only possible, but inevitable.

Student Outcomes

As the students move through the programme, they will see themselves as peacemakers, developing spiritual qualities or virtues as well as skills and attitudes which are the foundations of peacemaking. In addition, they will see themselves as world citizens as they embrace the concept of the oneness of humankind in all its diversity. They will understand that peace happens gradually, and each student will feel empowered to play a part in its establishment.

  • The Development of Character: The children learn about virtues such as kindness, honesty, love, service and courtesy. Bahá’ís believe that every child is a storehouse of virtues waiting to be developed. The development of virtues in individuals is the foundation of a peaceful world.
  • The Unity of Faiths: The students learn that the world’s faiths are like chapters of one book – the chapter title is different but the story continues. From a Bahá’í perspective, the students become familiar with the major faiths of the world, such as indigenous spirituality, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith and understand how they connect with each other.
  • A Peaceful World: The children learn how to help make a peaceful world. They learn that we are all one human family no matter our colour, race, education, or nationality, unity but valuing diversity, the equality of women and men, the need for the elimination of all forms of prejudice, caring for our environment and the skills of peaceful problem solving.
  • Inner Peace: The students learn that peace in the world begins with inner peace and that prayer and service to humanity will help them along this path.
  • Independent Thinking: Bahá’í education does not seek to convert or indoctrinate. Students are encouraged to question and explore.

The Classes

The methodology of Bahá’í children’s classes combines different activities, all focused on the principle goal of motivating the development of attitudes and spiritual qualities. Classes are based on joy in learning and the lessons incorporate the following elements to enhance the children’s understanding of the topic:

  • Memorization of prayers and quotations
  • Songs
  • Stories
  • Drama and Games
  • Art or Craft

Teachers are fully trained by the Bahá’í Regional Institute Board and are registered according to the Department of Education and Training policy which includes the Working with Children Check.

Purchasing the Curriculum

To purchase the Ruhi materials or the boxed set of the Peace Pack please contact the Australian Bahá’í bookstore or visit the Bahá’í bookshop at the Bahá’í Centre of Learning in Myaree.

Contacts

Bahá’í Centre of Learning
9330-6999
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