- Baha’is abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset for 19 days. While this abstention from food and drink is a test of one’s will and discipline, the Fast is not just about abstaining from food. The Fast is, primarily, a spiritual practice.
For Baha’is, education is a sacred duty, a fundamental right, and something which needs to be approached holistically. The unique approach that Baha’is take to education is perhaps best summed up in the oft-quoted passage that each of us is a “mine rich in gems of inestimable value” which education alone can cause to be revealed. Rather than a “push” mindset to teaching, this “pull” conception has profound implications seeing each individual as unique and noble, possessing treasures to be shared with the world.
This approach is why it’s so exciting to see a group of Baha’is in Sydney taking on the challenge of creating a school inspired by the Baha’i Faith. Esslemont College has been approved by the Minister of Education, is a co-ed primary school starting in 2023 with kindergarten to grade 2, offering the New South Wales curriculum in an intimate learning environment, with a high teacher/student ratio. It’s situated in the suburb of Kellyville on the lands of the Bediagal people of the Eora Nation.
The school’s principal, Judy Navidi, a veteran of education across Australia, Tonga, Japan and Tanzania, says that the aim is to “deliver a holistic educational program focused on the cultivation of intellectual, physical, emotional, moral, spiritual, psychological and social attributes in each child.” This exciting individual initiative was conceived to see children of all faiths and backgrounds inspired to “contribute to the betterment of society,” she says.
It’s early days for the new initiative, and we have a great opportunity to help them get this amazing endeavour off the ground. Here are three ways you can help:
Interested to Enrol?
Enrolments are now open. The school has limited places, but is excited to welcome students in 2023. Judy tells me that upon completing an expression of interest form on the website, she’ll then meet with prospective parents to share the vision of the school and answer any questions they might have.
How You Can Help: Book Drive for the New Library!
Judy and board member, Shabnam Mahabat, say they envisage a school that instils a sense of global citizenship in every child. That’s why, when it comes to the new school library, they’re inviting Baha’is and children from around the world to send a children’s book (for ages 4-8) from their country or state with a message of love for the school library. In addition to filling the new library with beautiful books from every corner of the globe, these books will be a special reminder to students that they are part of a global community.
You can send in books by post to: 13 President Road, Kellyville NSW 2155, Australia.
How You Can Help: Say Some Prayers!
Judy and Shabnam were quick to say that they would be enormously grateful for prayers offered towards the school’s success. It’s no small thing taking on a challenge like creating a school that lives up to the standards of the Baha’i Faith, and the support from Baha’is around the world means a huge amount to everyone involved in establishing the school.
How You Can Help: Spread the Word
The Esslemont College welcomes your support by getting the word out about the launch of the school. Following them on Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin and sharing news about this exciting individual initiative will be incredibly helpful!
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