Catherine Schieve, 18th March 2018
Daylesford Dharma School, locally known as "The Buddhist School" is celebrating the Autumn Equinox and changing of the seasons today with a wonderful festival full of children, families, colour and laughter, and pervasive joy. I heard music playing and took a quick trip around the corner to see more. Daylesford, a small town in country Victoria, is known for its inclusive, family-friendly atmosphere -- and the Dharma School is a great example of the community at its best.
Mingling in the festivities: we see children doing creative, lively and physical activities all over the dry (late-summer) playing field; parents and other adults hang out in small groups having a relaxed time; the community cooks and serves vegetarian foods ... all the way down to the "vegan coffee" truck; and a country string band contributes its rural home-grown sounds to the outdoor space. There is a respect for the land, for growing things, and for organic, hand-decorated surfaces and materials. Rusty corrugated iron wall panels are covered with children's drawings and murals. A big outdoor loom holds a child-created weaving project, flapping in the wind. A girl shows me her creative progress - a mandala woven from fabric scraps.
A quick duck into a classroom reveals a colourful, nature-centered approach to education with Buddhism-infused lessons and decor. There is a Children's Yoga centre. Garden veggie patches hug the edges of rustic buildings. The school has bought a plot of land on the edge of town and with great anticipation (and fund-raising) will eventually build a permanent campus there. A new principal will be arriving from Thailand. One can only wish abundant good fortune for this school, its children and families, and all that it contributes to the larger community. Learn more about the Dharma School here.
- All photos by Catherine Schieve. Browse more photos below: