MWE researches and develops materials that support teachers, parents, and school leaders to bring dharma into the classroom. We are currently codifying our developmental framework, benchmarks, standards, indicators, taking inspiration from our friends at the Cloud Institute and working with education professionals.
The Middle Way model of education harnesses the timeless wisdom and methods of the dharma to support children’s awakening with five main framework components. In this model, dharma is not dogmatic, sectarian, or moralistic, we focus on frameworks and techniques that uncover pre-existing, naturally arising wisdom. This view aligns in remarkable ways with the current scientific understandings of human development, which play a large part in how we approach education. Within the container these structures create, the joy of learning abounds. This is an overview of how the Middle Way curriculum is organized. In-depth explanations of each of these components are available in separate documents. Please email us to request.
The primary way teaching and learning is organized across the curriculum is through multi-week thematic units. Not every unit needs to be covered in each year and each can be implemented as a stand alone camp or program. Currently MWE has developed eight themes with the help of the teachers at the Middle Way School of the Hudson Valley and other curriculum specialists: Taking Your Seat, Lineage, Refuge, Bodhicitta, Cause and Effect, Interconnection, Impermanence, and Harmony. Each unit includes big ideas, essential questions, benchmarks, outcomes and indicators across the five domains. The themes can be coupled with secular/scientific companion units or areas of inquiry. Read More
Three Areas of Engagement
In order to function in a variety of cultural, geographical, and educational environments, the Middle Way curriculum is designed to be modified. It can be adapted to meet the specific needs of a community based on three primary spheres of learning, or focus areas. The spheres accommodate traditional academic areas, Buddhist teachings, and localized themes or study areas. The three areas exist separately and overlap to create an integrated whole that unifies the school program.
At the Middle Way School of the Hudson Valley, three areas of focus are: Academics, Living Sciences, and Dharma. Dharma is the sphere that must be present for a school to adopt the Middle Way Model. Read More
The Five Domains of Learning
On a surface level, the Five Domains of Learning are areas of study that ensure a well-rounded education: Sciences; Humanities; Arts; Embodiment; and Contemplation. Teachers use the Five Domains of Learning to plan curricula so that children experience a balance of disciplines throughout the week. On a deeper level, the domains are aligned with the five elements (water, earth, fire, air, and space which are reflected in longer inquiries that students undertake at different points in their education. On a subtle level, the Domains draw from the wisdom energies of the Buddhist mandala which echo through multiple facets of the curriculum and campus. Read More
The key that unlocks the MWE model is the teacher’s ability to connect with each child with insight and compassion. Being attuned to the evolving state of each child’s body, speech, and mind is essential to the practice of teaching in a meaningful way. MWE teacher enrichment programs are tailored to the environment and culture of the school. In particular, teachers are supported in their own self-knowledge and awareness practices to help hone their teaching practice. Middle Way relies on the latest in neuroscience to understand children’s chronological ages and developmental stages.
The Noble Eightfold Path—eight practices that cultivate wisdom, compassion, and discipline—provide the framework that shapes school culture and teaching methodology. These classic principles offer timeless guidance on how to create harmony through our point of view; intention; speech; action; livelihood; effort; mindfulness; and concentration. These are further explored through the lens of prajna, samadhi and shila—wisdom, mental discipline, and conduct. We begin with conduct, creating an atmosphere for concentration and wisdom to arise, where children and staff feel safe and inspired.
“We are trying to prepare and train some of the next generation of human beings through Buddhist values and Buddha’s teaching of love, compassion, and wisdom. We are also hoping that through training the next generation of Buddhists, the authentic Buddhadharma can continue to flourish and that knowledgeable practitioners of the dharma will carry on the lineage through their love and support, and study and practice of the teachings. So we are developing a model of education.” — Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche