Who We Are

WHO WE ARE

Our mission is to offer the timeless wisdom of the dharma to children in creative, age-appropriate ways with high-quality, scoped and sequenced materials and theoretical frameworks. Our model is ecumenical, open source, and is informed and inspired by educators, neuroscientists, and practitioners and lineage holders from across the Buddhist world.

Advisory Committee

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Bhikkhu Bodhi
Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche
Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Gaylon Ferguson, PhD
Gaylon Ferguson, PhD
Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche
Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche
Shugen Roshi
Shugen Roshi

Board of Directors

Anja Hartmann
Anja Hartmann
Brandon A Lee
Brandon A Lee
Chagdud Khadro
Kuhn Sucharitakul
Manwai Annie Ng
Pema Abrahams
Michael Macioce
Noa Jones

Creating pathways for Buddhist wisdom
to enhance modern education.

History

Founded in 2017, Middle Way Education (MWE) offers the timeless wisdom of the dharma to children in creative, age-appropriate ways by investing in the research, development and distribution of high-quality, scoped and sequenced materials and supporting theoretical frameworks. Our model is ecumenical and is informed and inspired by educators, neuroscientists, and practitioners and lineage holders from across the Buddhist world. MWE has begun offering advisory services to school leaders to help establish schools or enhance existing schools and programs relying on our experience and materials.

MWE also supports Buddhist parents and teachers through its open source website, a platform to freely access and share resources including frameworks, lesson plans, articles, book reviews and other materials as well as a directory of Buddhist education programs worldwide.

Our Laboratory

After incorporating in 2017, MWE invested all of its time and resources in launching The Middle Way School (MWS), which opened in September 2018 and is now an independent pre-k to 6th grade Buddhist school for children in Upstate New York. Offering a constructivist, inquiry-based, progressive academic program for students ages 3-12, MWS is recognized by the New York State Department of Education. It is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and meets common core standards. The purpose of MWS is to serve as a laboratory to research and develop a complete model of Buddhist education. It is an exemplar, a living model of what is possible when the dharma is introduced to children in a thoroughly modern environment. It has been very successful and was voted “Best Elementary School in the Hudson Valley” by a local poll. In 2022 the school will welcome 90+ students and more than 20 teachers and staff.

Research and Development

MWE researches, develops, sources, and collects resources for MWS and other partner schools. MWS relies on MWE teacher training, thematic units, and its “three spheres” structure while providing a feedback loop through action research. The teachers develop and document how the various MWE materials take hold and provide expert inputs to refine and build the model. Thus far, MWE’s emerging curriculum framework has been embraced by MWS teachers and meaningful outcomes for the students are being documented. We invite you to explore the dharma components here.

We are actively engaged in the process of codifying our materials with a developmental framework, benchmarks, standards, and indicators, and are taking inspiration from our friends at The Cloud Institute for Sustainability in Education. As we continue working with education professionals, our benchmarks and standards will be made available on the Atlas Rubicon platform.

Findings

MWE has learned much through this process. One of our initial assumptions has been continually reinforced: The most important factor in successfully transmitting the dharma to children is the teacher. Teachers need theoretical and practical resources to help develop their appreciation and understanding of dharma so that they can bring it into the classroom. They need the time and space to connect with their own practice so that they can bring authentic presence and connection to the classroom. Other examples of our findings: the guidance or blessings of lineage holders is essential; children learn best through stories, ritual and song; the physical atmosphere of the learning environment has an enormous impact on the children; and children are naturally drawn to the dharma, it is not difficult to introduce to them, but it’s very important to do begin with inquiry rather than dogma.

Next Steps

MWE is ready to start expanding its impact in four quadrants: non-formal (such as camps and after school programs) and formal educational settings in the east and in the west. We currently have partner organizations and programs in Nepal, Thailand, and Brazil who are prepared to collaborate with us in expanding our model through participatory action research. At this point, we are working with the organizations that are reaching out to us. Once we have gone through the process with these varied institutions, we will be prepared to expand our advisory services on a fee for service basis. We are currently seeking partners in high performance secondary schools to help us develop the curriculum into the upper grades.

Gratitude

MWE is supported by a grant from Khyentse Foundation and its generous donors. Thank you!

Contact

If you have any questions or ideas about our resources or network, please email web@middlewayeducation.org.
If you have any questions or ideas about models or advisory services, please email info@middlewayeducation.org