Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Of course we all have hopes and dreams, but how often do we sit down quietly and actually ask ourselves what we value and what we aspire to become?

Here are some of the aspirations of our students:

Chairs and Cushions

There are so many aspects of our schooling that are different from other schools. As you can see, we sometimes sit on chairs at tables.

And at other times, such as every morning when we meditate, we sit on cushions on the floor. Sitting with our legs crossed is the best position for meditation. Just as Buddha was sitting cross-legged when he was enlightened 2,600 years ago, we hope to be enlightened by our lessons each day.

Spelling Test

Unlike most schools, at the Dharma school we only have two classes: Prep to Grade 2 in the Small class and Grade 3 to Grade 5 in the Big. Because there is more than one age group and more than one level in each class, our teachers sometimes have to teach a few lessons at once.

When the Bigs have their spelling tests, for example, rather than just read out ten words for all the class, Bec calls out each student's name then says a word that she believes is on their education level.

So instead of reading out 10 words, she reads out 10 words for all 8 students - that's 80 words. It's amazing our teachers don't lose their voices by the end of the week!

Mindful Consumption

Here we are one morning, watching a play some of the children performed on mindful consumption. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, scholar, and poet. Here are his wise words on mindful consumption:
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Interview with Sandy

Sandy is Ozzy’s Nana who comes in once a week to do drawings with both the Bigs and Littles. Ozzy caught up with Sandy and interviewed her for an hour and 45 minutes.

Ozzy: What was the past work you did with Myer?
Sandy: I used to make the ads for Myer and David Jones and now I work here at the Dharma school with you guys.
Ozzy: How long have you been painting for?
Sandy: I have been painting since I was four years old. I am now 65 years old. So, I have been painting for 61 years.

Ozzy: I have noticed that you have some unique pieces of jewellery. Could you please tell us about one of your pieces of jewellery?
Sandy: One of them is a locket with my mum {nana Bett} inside it. Sadly, she died in 2007 she was 94 years old.

Ozzy: What is your favourite experience?
Sandy: I have four good experiences;
  1. Winning the grand final in 1966.
  2. Giving birth to Keele.
  3. Giving birth to Krish.
  4. Giving birth to Kane.
Ozzy: Why do all your children’s names start with K?
Sandy: I called all of my three children K because I was in my K phase and all my girlfriends had children with names starting with K

Ozzy: Why are the saints your favourite team?
Sandy: Because when I was a little girl my father Patrick took my little sister and me to a Saints game. Ever since then my whole family have been Saints supporters for 53 years!

How the Earth Began

By James

How the Earth began – my version

A big dinosaur was farting in space. He managed to fart SO much that it blew him to the sun. When he got to the sun, he took a big bite out of it.

He burnt his tongue off. The tongue floated around in space for two whole years. It travelled with the stars, around the sun. It orbited through massive galaxies.

It ended up stopping near the sun because there was a big gravitational pull. The tongue tried to get away, but it was being pulled away by another planet that wanted it as food. That planet was called Gloopier. The sun started to pump out lots of heat which made the gravitational pull stronger. The tongue eventually gave up and just stayed there.

There was still lots of bacteria on the tongue from when the dinosaur used to eat old rotting stegasauuses. After two years of orbiting, it changed colour into a weird mouldy green. It became moist, it grew into a slime that started to drip. The drops became solid and flat. They had a strange mushy gas smell. They turned into leaves. The leaves multiplied and then turned into vines.

The sun got a lot hotter all of a sudden. Apparently Jack (dinosaur’s old friend) was cruising around space and let out a massive fart from a heap of fish he’d been eating at ‘Starfish’ the funky new star in the north galaxy where heaps of creatures were visiting. The fart was so big that it made the sun fire up big time. Everything was suddenly so much hotter.

The vines coming out of the old tongue started going crazy and wrapping up the whole tongue into a big ball.

Sloopier (a neighbouring planet) was in big trouble. The inhabitants were running out of supplies. The planet was imploding. Microscopic bugs decided to leave like refugees and embark on an unknown journey through space.

They floated and ran into the big ball of vines. Exhausted, they rested there like it was a big bed. When they woke, they started eating the vines and growing bigger. Their poo mixed with the vines and eventually trees started to form. This was the beginning of earth as we know it.

The bark on the trees started looking very strange and over time long figures started to step out of them. These were the first humans. They were called barkiens. Barkiens were rough sort of characters. They ate bark and made sounds a bit like trees falling down.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Ockapocka Poem

By Isobel

My pet ockapocka likes to draw
He has a big big appetite,
Dirty with small small tusks,
But he's never been to snappatite.

He goes into town with a bag
The shop she likes is wopido,
People laugh at his ears,
But he hops into his car called the escaloo.

My ockapocka has a frown,
He has a pet shnabbit
Cuddle your shnabbit as tite as you can
And then hop into your car and eat a cabbit.

My ockapocka took his shnabbit
Eating a cabbit when he bumped into Wola
Wola is a girl shnabbit,
She and my pet shnabbit go and collect Wola.

I put kola, wola and my ockapockas pet into the escaloo to go to school
They play in the playground which is called fodoo
At lunch they go to the sandpit to make love monsters.

I went to go pick them up but they were wating at
The trees playing as happily as can be,"time to go!"
They hopped into the escaloo,
And went to meet a hindoo.

Friday, November 18, 2011


In Tibetan culture, as a sign of respect, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a home.

Unlike most schools, at the Dharma School we also remove our shoes before going into a classroom. We do this as a way of showing our respect for our learnings, and as a way to keep our classrooms clean. If we ever forget, the pile of shoes outside the front door quickly reminds us.

Art for a Changing World

Every term at the Dharma School we have a theme to which a lot of our work relates. The theme for Term Four is Environmental Balance Inquiry. As part of this theme, Paul asked the Bigs to do a drawing relating to an environmental slogan. Here is what three students came up with:


This is a  picture of the earth as a melting candle. I drew this picture in our inquiry lesson when we were making environmental slogans.

This slogan is on the theme of pollution and global warming. My idea was that the world is like a candle and it will melt away if we don't stop it from becoming hotter. 

Will we melt as well?


I did this picture in art about climate change. C4 is a kind of explosive. If climate change continues the world will be ruined forever and nothing will be able to live on the planet any more.

One of the things I wrote was WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME so we need to plant more trees and ride more bikes not pollute the world by driving cars and having wars.

As a nine year old I feel we have a lot of work to do so that the world will continue for other human beings, animals and plants.

In my picture I tried to show how urgent the message is. We have no time to lose.


This picture of the earth as a grenade represents how fragile the earth is, and if we treat it badly it will be destroyed and we won't be able to live here anymore.

A grenade doesn't work unless the pin is pulled so we still have time until we destroy it. We can still save our world but we have to stop cutting down trees and building cities. At our school we planted around about 190 trees but we kept some in case some died.

I looked up for a picture on the internet and found a picture of an awesome golden grenade, so I drew up a version of my own and drew islands and made up continents.

I loved this idea because I thought it represents our earth, and I really care about our planet, and I know that a lot of people do as well.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


At the Daylesford Dharma school we believe that a healthy mind exists in a healthy body. While it's true we spend the first part of each day meditating and quietening our minds, we are also kids and that means we have a lot of energy that we like to release while playing games, bushwalking and doing sports.

Here some of us are playing cricket at lunchtime with Zephyr's dad Patrick.

Prayer Flags

Hanging on the outside of the Small's classroom are prayer flags. Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. By hanging flags in high places, the wind carries the blessings depicted on the flags to all beings.


This Buddha sits outside the front gate of our school and welcomes people as they enter the school grounds. It is a reminder to each of us that we are all kind, wise and compassionate individuals.

The statue was very generously bequeathed to the school by a local buddhist who passed away. It is so heavy that it had to be rolled to the school on a skateboard! It may have had a very active past, but today appears very happy with its peaceful life of quiet contemplation.