UNIVERSAL MANDALA EDUCATIONAL CENTER
Universal Mandala CURRICULUM PROGRAM
PRINCIPLES AND PEDAGOGICAL STRATEGIES
Educating the Mind and the Heart
Universal Mandala.- All interactions, experiences and relationships count
The Educational Center as an example of Mandala.-interconnected approach between the internal and external environment
Accompanying the child being guides and role models.- It is very important that the guides constantly review the philosophical threads that are spread throughout the curriculum. The atmosphere generated during the day depends on the ability of the guide to manage and guide the group, as well as to get the best from each participant. The guides have the responsibility to make their companions receive the sincere message that they are beings with great abilities. As we all know, children can lose their self-confidence at a very young age, and once they create an image of themselves and believe that they are not good enough or skillful enough, this negative image is very difficult to change. Positive reinforcement is crucial as a basis for a happy, healthy and successful life. However, this does not mean that it is good to exaggerate or praise too much.
Attitude Namasté.- A wonderful method to connect with children and transmit positive messages is the "namasté" approach. This method helps us focus on the pure innate qualities of the person we are addressing rather than on their ordinary external manifestation. To do this effectively, it is necessary for the teacher/guide to maintain a conscious and focused view of himself in order to see the same internal qualities in the student. This respectful approach will automatically influence the energy and communication between the guide and the child. When we connect with children in this way we create an environment of mutual respect, trust and affection. However, to maintain this safe environment, the guide must provide clear boundaries and guide children firmly, but always respectful, kind and loving.
Essential Values.- To ensure that Guides, Methodology and Content are in accordance with our objectives, we use the following core values:
• Develop a deeper understanding of our unlimited potential
• Develop awareness of the effects of our actions on oneself, others and the environment
• Understanding our emotions in order to exercise the freedom to make skillful, compassionate and helpful choices.
2. Authentic Speech
• Speaking words that are helpful, kind, encouraging and complimentary.
• Refraining from speaking words with ill intent i.e ., divisive speech, lying, gossip, harsh speech, name-calling, belittling, and exclusion .
• As a pioneer program and understanding the potential of language as a creator of our realit, we try to keep awareness of how we use language and words.
• Taking responsibility for helping others whenever possible .
• Be mindful and careful not to harm or kill others.
• Showing respect and compassion for all living beings (creatures great and small).
• Practicing generosity and sharing our possessions, our knowledge, our time and our resources with others.
• Not taking that which has not been offered or does not belong to you.
5. Tolerance. Acceptance
• Practice patience, respect, acceptance and forgiveness of differences
• Not responding with anger, jealousy, pride or resentment.
THE PEDAGOGICAL AXEL. OUR ESSENTIAL UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES AND LAWS
Basic and Essential Universal Principles and Laws are the philosophical threads that interweave the educational curriculum and are present in everything we do. WE DO NOT NAMED THEM, WE LIVE THEM INVESTIGATING AND EXPERIENCING THROUGH THEM.
INTENTION /MOTIVATION. CONECTING WITH OUR INNER VALUES.
What Do we really Want? Mindful intention. By exploring this important question, we become aware of the innate driving force behind all we think and do.
INTERDEPENDENCE AND INTERCONNECTION. Cause and Effect
(a) Interdependence (Everything Comes from Something),
(b) Interconnection (Everything is Connected). Things (a) do not arise randomly but instead do so in dependence upon causes. Furthermore, (b) all things are interconnected and nothing exists independently of everything else.
IMPERMANENCE AND CHANGE.
Everything Changes. Everything is in a constant process of transition.
PERCEPCTION MECHANISM AND THE NATURE OF OUR MIND
Our Mind Creates our Reality. Our ever-changing mind shapes your experience of reality. If we improve the quality of your mind, we ´ll therefore automatically improve the quality of your life.
UNDERSTANDING AND TRANSFORMIN OUR INNER WORLD. Dealing and transforming thoughts and emotions.
Emotions are also transitory, and everyone has the capacity to affect them and improve the quality of our state of mind.
EMPATHY. CONNECTING WITH ONENESS. Extending our Understanding to Others.
Through understanding our own experience and the universality of the wish for happiness, we can cultivate greater empathy for the experience of others.
UNIVERSAL RESPONSABILITY AND COMPASSION INTO ACTION
. Putting our Compassion into Action. With greater empathy for others, our determination to engage in those activities that benefit them will naturally increase, thereby making our life truly meaningful.
1. The Four Elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire
2. The Colors
3. The R´s and Conflict Resolutions
4. Daily Rituals:
Opening and Closing Circle and Debates
Mindfulnes. Centering and introspección. Self Regulation and Concentration.
Reflection and understanding
Sending good wishes
Aprecciation and Gratefulnes
Cristal Colors of gratefulnes and appreciation
Shell of deep listening,
Cristal Heart of kind speech
Riding the Dragón: Transforming fear and reaching goals
Celebration and Dedication
5. Design of environment:
Wishing Garden and Sound Garden
6. Music and Drama
Yoga and Mindful Movement
Music and Songs
Teather and expresional games
7. Physical Education and Coopeative games
8. Social Action
9. Evaluation through Six facets of Understanding:
Developed by McTighe and Wiggins provide a useful framework for the collection of evaluation data. It can be said that the understanding has been acquired or has been learned when:
1. Can explain by providing justified evidence of the phenomena, facts and data.
2. Can interpret by telling meaningful stories; providing historical or personal dimensions that reveal ideas and events; and making the subjects accessible through images, anecdotes, analogies and models.
3. You can apply, use and effectively adapt what you know to different contexts.
4. Has the perception of seeing and hearing different points of view through critical eyes and ears, and is able to capture the whole picture.
5. You can empathize by finding a value in something that others might find strange, foreign, or implausible, sensitively perceiving the bases of prior indirect experience.
6. Have the self-awareness that allows you to perceive the personal style, prejudices, projections, and habits of the mind that shapes and influences their understanding. Be aware of what you do not understand, and why it is difficult to understand.
THE TEACHER AS GUIDE AND ROLE MODEL
Our guides are constantly reviewing the various philosophical threads that run through the curriculum. The climate of the space depends upon the teacher’s ability to orchestrate and guide the group and bring out the very best in each of the children. Guides have the responsibility of giving the sincere message to their students that they are indeed capable beings. As we know only too well, children are in danger of losing their self-confidence at a very early age. And once they form a view of themselves as being “not good enough” or “incapable,” it is very difficult to change that negative self-image. Positive reinforcement is crucial as a foundation for a happy, healthy and successful life. However, this does not mean that it is healthy to exaggerate and over praise.
A wonderful method for connecting with the students and giving positive messages is the “namaste” approach. In this approach we concentrate upon the pure inner qualities of the person we are addressing rather than his or her ordinary outer manifestation. To do this effectively re-quires that the teacher practice maintaining a mindful and centered perspective within him- or herself in order to then focus on the same inner qualities of the student. This respectful approach will automatically affect the energy and the communication between teacher and student. Con- necting with students in this way creates an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust and caring. However, in order to maintain this safe environment, the teacher needs to provide clear boundaries and guide the children with a firm but loving hand.
CITIZENSHIP AND SOCIAL SERVICES
This is the practice of reaching out to others in whatever ways are practical and helpful. This kind of service empowers children by offering them the practical experience of benefiting others. Children experience that they can make a positive difference in world. Time needs to be given to engage the students in brainstorming, planning and implementing these service activities. Helping others skillfully is an on-going process that requires practice. Once again, the challenge is not only to ignite a wish to benefit others, but also to develop ways to implement personal engagement and meaningful social change.
Universal Mandala has always had a strong ‘service’ program. Children participate in various fundraising activities to raise money to benefit others. The children help to decide what projects they wish to help and support. Some programs helps to raise money or efforts for social service projects and periodically we have very active art programs where the children’s art is sold to raise money for special projects, program for elderly accompaniment, beaches cleaning.... For children it is amazing to see how their collaboration can help in all aspects of this.
16 ATTITUDES FOR ETHICAL LIVING
The 16 guidelines for ethical living is based on the advice of a benevolent king, Songsen Gampo. It was written in the form of a moral code or constitution for the Tibetan race five hundred years ago. Here we have adapted it to suit the times and refer to it as ‘ancient wisdom for modern life’. These points offer us a guideline for daily conduct and for the practical manifestation of knowledge, strength and compassion.
How we think
Thoughts lie at the root of every word we speak and every action we perform. Just as an athlete trains her body, we can train and transform our minds, and in doing so shift our habitual patterns and explore new ways of living: Humility,Patience, Contentment and Delight
How we act
Human lives are composed of billions of actions which take place every minute of the day. How you choose to act, therefore, defines and colours the quality of your experiences: Kindness,Honesty, Generosity and Right Speech
How we relate to others
It does not take much effort to see that the happiest people we know are those who acknowledge their interdependence, and who nurture warm and appreciative relationships withwith the people around them: Respect, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Loyalty
How we find meaning
Your search for meaning will depend on your ability and willingness to explore new and unfamiliar territory. It is a challenge to venture deep into yourself and find out how to create a happy and fulfilling life: Aspiration, Principles,Service and Courage
Our philosophy has been to research those various methodologies that have shown themselves to be most effective in preparing children to live the kind of life that enables both them and others to experience genuine happiness and fulfillment. We have chosen to use the Montessori approach and supplement it with various other methodologies proven to be effective in preparing children mentally, physically and spiritually for the many challenges life presents, always introducing our Universal Essential Principles in so everything can always be approached from a perspective of wisdom and compassion at every step ...
Our philosophy is to enrich the environment with materials that stimulate learning across all the spheres of wonder and discovery. This accords with the multiple intelligence philosophy that understands and respects that people have various talents and learning styles. Following the basic Montessori methodology, the surrounding is arranged with manipulatives and materials that provide for a foundation of concrete and experiential learning. As children progress through the various levels and stages of understanding and development, they become less dependent upon those concrete manipulatives and move into more abstract and complex understanding and computation. Respect is given to the students for their individual strengths and weaknesses and so, when necessary, guide give instructions to the individual child as well as providing group lessons. Children are thus able to discover and integrante at their own pace.
Our UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES methodology approach can be implemented across the curriculum. Thematic program enables children make the natural connections that reveal the interdependent nature of all things. No matter the age, rather than fragmented knowledge, thematic learning creates a wonderful, natural an integrated network of interconnected subjects: Votex based math, language (including foreign languages), reading, literature, writing, poetry, grammar, computer skills, science, nature study, biology, multicultural studies, geography, social studies, psychology, mindfullnes and contemplative education, self-awareness, life skills, wood work, cooking, gardening, art, movement, drama, music, team work, games, social values, ethics.
We introduce children as young as three years to old to variations of all these subjects, depending on their level of readiness. We provide children with a rich, prepared environment and the freedom to move about within that environment. Children explore to their hearts’ content. However, we do provide boundaries that promote respect for the materials, the environment, oneself and one’s fellows.
PREPARING THE ENVIRONMENT
With the aim of offering an environment in which the members of the community can awaken their potential for understanding (wisdom), their strength (confidence) and their compassion (universal responsibility), and for them to understand that everything is a transformation of energy, we use the ancient scientific practice of Feng Shui and Bio-Geometry to prepare our leaerning environment. We consult expert advisors on these approaches to create a space that improves not only the aesthetic and peaceful quality of the environment, but also helps to harmonize the energy for optimal discovery and learning.
THE CONCEPT OF THE EDUCATIONAL CENTER
The concept of the educational center or what we can also call the Research and Discovery Community, includes parents, staff, children and the community; all collaborating to create together an environment of discovery and effective learning, inspiring, harmonious and healthy.