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Education

Spiritual Education for Children and Youth
 
Bahá'ís at recent event at the Hamilton Twp. Neighborhood Service CenterBahá'ís at recent event at the Hamilton Twp. Neighborhood Service CenterThe Bahá’í writings attach great importance to the periods of childhood and youth, providing clear guidance to parents and communities to raise children in a nurturing and morally positive environment. Youth are encouraged to develop a strong sense of purpose, empowering their own transformation and leading them to contribute to the advancement of society. Young people's spiritual capacity, the basis for their own happiness and sense of well-being, is a powerful force for social change.
 
Bahá'ís believe that moral, spiritual, and values-based training for children and youth is essential in order to nurture these capacities. Thus, Bahá'í communities sponsor moral education classes for children and youth of all backgrounds. The classes seek to develop essential virtues such as the knowledge of God, trustworthiness, honesty, and justice. They aim to build a strong moral framework that will assist children to achieve excellence in material, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life.
 
Neighborhood School
 
Some Foster Bahá'í School attendeesSome Foster Bahá'í School attendees"The children’s class in Hamilton runs every second Sunday (though we’re hoping to up it to every Sunday), from 3-5 pm. There are currently between 7 - 11 children attending each class. We have been focusing on how we can live a life of service. In December, we took part in ‘Operation Christmas Child’ by decorating shoe boxes and filling them with small gifts for a boy and a girl who otherwise would not have had gifts at Christmas. This was suggested by the mother of some of the children participating. Next class we are planning to make blankets and donate them to a homeless shelter or Homefront store."

Bahá'í classes are often held in the neighborhood or area where a Bahá'í family resides. While informal, they are structured with a clear curriculum. Subjects include moral values, truthfulness, love, prayer, service to humanity and peace, as inspired by the Bahá'í Faith and the other major world religions. Teachers are often parents themselves, who have followed a course in providing these classes for their own children and their neighborhood friends. Classes are open to people from all backgrounds and all faiths.
 
Regional School
 
There is also a regional school, open to all, in the greater Mercer County area. Originally started in the mid 1980’s, the Foster Baha’i School holds Sunday morning sessions from September though May, excluding holidays. Classes are provided for kindergarten, and grades 1-3 and 4-8. Adult classes are also held on various topics of the day using the Baha’i Writings as reference points for open discussion. All classes are open to the public and are provided free under the direction of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Hamilton Twp., an incorporated body.

Please visit the Foster Baha’i School at www.fosterbahaischool.org
 

STUDY CIRCLES - RUHI CLASSES
Collaborative Study and Personal Growth

Adult Bahá'ís are actively engaged in developing knowledge, skills, and spiritual insights through study circles on various topics. Together with their neighbors from all walks of life, they learn about spiritual reality and our individual role in the progress of society. All arrive at a better understanding on their purpose in life and many participants discover ways to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them.

The Stamford Regional Conference, 13–14 December 2008 - Two youth study the 20 October letter from the Universal House of Justice.The Stamford Regional Conference, 13–14 December 2008 - Two youth study the 20 October letter from the Universal House of Justice.Participants in the courses learn, for example, to teach values to children, to engage in community service activities, to assist and empower others to independently investigate spiritual truths, to learn how to competently express one’s views, and to engage oneself in serving the broader needs of society for unity, justice, and equity.

Participants in study circles often experience a new sense of direction in life, better relationships with family and friends, and a fruitful re-evaluation of the contribution one can make to the wider community.

All are welcome in the classes, regardless of their ideas or beliefs.
 
Adult Education
 
Regard man as a min rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom….” Baha’i Writings.

Universal compulsory education is a principle of the Baha’i faith, and education continues into adulthood. Baha’i schools and local classes offer adults a wide range of topics and books for study, also discussing the topics of the day in a respectful manner. Baha’is are strongly encouraged to gain knowledge in the arts and sciences, and other fields.

STUDY CIRCLES
in Mercer County Area
 
The Baha’i community hosts study circles on demand. Small groups of people generally get together on a bi-weekly schedule to study any of the current topics available. Three of the initial courses are:

Reflections on the Life of the Spirit (Ruhi Book 1)

Ruhi Institute: Book 1Ruhi Institute: Book 1This is the first in a course sequence and provides insight into spiritual matters, imparts knowledge of the Bahá'í Faith and helps develop skills and human resources for service to our communities. This course has three main purposes for the participants:

• understanding some of the Bahá'í Writings
• developing the required attitudes toward prayer, and acquiring the habit of memorizing them
• understanding that the true significance of life is to be found in the development of the soul
    
Teaching Children's Classes, Grade 1 (Ruhi Book 3)

Ruhi Institute: Book 3Ruhi Institute: Book 3This course is designed to develop the capabilities needed to conduct children's classes for the spiritual education of children. Bahá'í children's classes are not like the classes of indoctrination which are common in many other religions. Even though children are instructed in the principles, teachings and basic beliefs of the Bahá'í Faith, the emphasis is on learning to think, to reflect and to apply spiritual laws to the life of the individual and society. Especially during the early years of childhood, great attention is given to the development of spiritual qualities and to those beliefs, habits and behaviors that constitute the essential attributes of a spiritual being. The three main objectives for this course are:
 
to understand some of the basic principles of Baha'i education of children.
to learn to teach simple children's classes consisting of memorization of prayers and quotations, songs, stories, games and coloring.
to develop the skills and abilities needed to conduct classes for children, managing the class with a great deal of love and understanding and, at the same time, with the discipline necessary to create a proper learning environment.

It is assumed that those who study it have already participated in courses in which at least the content of Book 1 - Reflections on the Life of the Spirit has been covered.

The Twin Manifestations (Ruhi Book 4)

Ruhi Institute: Book 4Ruhi Institute: Book 4The three units that comprise Book 4 are devoted to helping students acquire a thorough and systematic knowledge of the lives of the Bab and Baha'u'llah. A chronological account of each of Their lives is presented and students will learn to narrate them in some detail. Objectives:

to gain spiritual insights into the significance of this Day and the promises it holds for humanity
to learn to narrate the story of the Bab's life and gain an appreciation of the potency of His short and dramatic Ministry.
to learn to narrate the story of Baha'u'llah's life and gain an appreciation of the magnitude of the spiritual forces released by Him.

How to Participate in Study Circles

Please contact us at bahai.hamilton.nj @ gmail.com or call (609) 888-1554 for more information, or to enroll in one of these courses. There is a modest charge for study materials.