link syllabus

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The link syllabus is the practical application of our grounding philosophy to classroom instruction. We believe a subject should be presented to a student in a way that makes it interesting in itself, an object of mindfulness. A child is a natural scientist, constantly probing and questioning the physical world, finding and testing patterns and connections, so in the link syllabus we strive to transform a topic into a natural part of this investigation, to link every topic to each other via the immediate and local. In the practice of mindfulness we come to realize that our selves are porous, existing not isolated but always in relation, conditioned by our emotions and our environment. The same is true of anything; essence is conditional, and resides in relation. A tree at different times of day, in different patterns of light, in different seasons, gazed at when one is happy and when one is sad; each appearance is a unique phenomenon. To look at a thing alone is a deformation of the thing. The link syllabus is an attempt to present information as it actually lives; dynamic and impermanent.

This transformation from abstract and distant to relevant and close must begin in us, the teachers; we first take topics mandated by the government syllabus and look at them with fresh, naïve eyes, thinking beyond how we ourselves were taught the subject and understand it now. An innovation in teaching must be preceded by an innovation in our own understanding. To impart mindfulness, one must first learn to be mindful ourselves, and to teach children we must first think like children. So no matter how basic the topic, we ask: ‘What do we really know about it? How do we understand it ourselves? Do we understand it, or merely know it by rote?’ fc As teachers, we must approach a topic at first on this level, and maintain the connection to the real world as much as we can. That is the essence of the link syllabus; considering how to teach a topic so that a child sees it as a piece of the growing understanding that they are so naturally adept at cultivating; the mindfulness of themselves and their environment. In the link syllabus we try whenever possible to teach subjects through physical demonstration, drama, art, and environmental exposure. A child is inherently interested in the world and their place in it; the objective of the link syllabus is to fold the school topics organically into that interest.