Vision and Mission

 Comprehensive Statement

A. Our Vision                  

“A caring, personal and family-oriented primary school, devoted to the service of Lord Krishna and the nurture of spiritually-minded pupils who will help build ethical, prosperous and sustainable communities.”

B. Our Mission

“To nurture learned, self-assured and Krishna Conscious children, individually equipped to realise their diverse and distinctive potentials and to successfully apply their learning to the real world”.

C. Our Ideals:     

To realise our vision and mission, the School promotes six ideals namely:

   1. Joyful Spiritual Experience

       Cultivating happy impressions of living, learning and serving together

   2. Academic Achievement

       Through personalised attention, preparing each student for success in study and career

   3. Positive Self-image

       Nurturing character, self-esteem and a distinctive yet inclusive identity

4. Uplifting Environment   

        Enriching pupils and staff through mutual support and a well-resourced sattvic environment

   5. Exemplary Learning & Teaching

        Modelling creative, innovative and individualised ‘whole-person’ learning  

   6. Collaborative Leadership

       Inspiring team spirit, generosity and a shared sense of vision, purpose and achievement.

 

D. Our Values:

To uphold its ideals, the School promotes a broad perception of the Divine (Krishna), underpinned by five core virtues:

1. Positive Interest in Life

2. Respect and Self-control

3. Honesty and Responsibility

4. Courage and Confidence

5. Care and Kindness.

 

Vision and Mission Unpacked and Explained

 

A. Our Vision                  

“A caring, personal and family-oriented primary school, devoted to the service of Lord Krishna and the nurture of spiritually-minded pupils who will help build ethical, prosperous and sustainable communities.”

  • Lord Krishna is the form of the Supreme adored by the many Hindus[1] and specifically members of the Vaishnava tradition.
  • The School is sponsored by ISKCON[2], a distinctive branch of Vaishnavism, whose members revere Lord Vishnu, or one of his forms such as Rama orKrishna.
  • ISKCON is primarily an educational institute as endorsed by the Society first purpose:

“To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educateall people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.”

  • ISKCON’S Founder-Acharya[3], A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, wanted his society to establish schools, perhaps anticipating their contribution to ISKCON’s social development and establishment of stable, exemplary and flourishing communities.
  • The Schools aims to be an inspiration to both ISKCON and broader society, practically demonstrating how spiritual principles positively contribute to the quality of education and the lives of children and young people.

 

B. Our Mission

“To nurture learned, self-assured and Krishna Conscious children, individually equipped to realise their diverse and distinctive potentials and to successfully apply their learning to the real world”.

  • The School’s prime concern is the learning and wellbeing of pupils, especially (but not exclusively) ISKCON’s second-generation children.[4]
  • The term ‘Krsna conscious’ refers to awareness of God, and thus the School welcomes pupils from all backgrounds who can benefit from its distinctive approach.
  • The School recognises that both theoretical knowledge and mere ‘belief’ are insufficient and that pupils must apply and exemplify what they have learned.
  • The School prepares children to become active participants in ‘the real world’, to become exemplary and outstanding citizens.
  • Pupils learn to recognise the benefits of living according to their Hindu-Vaishnava ‘faith’, applying core principles and values to the social and cultural context in which they live.

 

The Six Ideals Unpacked and Explained

 

1. Joyful Spiritual Experience

  • The School’s prime concern is the learning and wellbeing of pupils, and their future role in          building ethical, prosperous and healthy communities, both within ISKCON and beyond.
  • The School recognises that pupils’ spiritual, emotional and academic achievement is significantly dependant on the quality of their experience, of learning and all other aspects of school life.
  • The School acknowledges that student success requires happy, fulfilled andKrishnaconscious staff.

To ensure pupil’s positive spiritual experience, the School commits to:

  • Nurture in boys and girls a positive attitude to life, especially through the cultivation of happy impressions of living, learning and serving together.
  • Prepare students to deal proactively with negative experiences and to boldly meet the challenges and opportunities of the real world.
  • Ensure that teachers authentically motivate pupils and develop their natural love of learning.
  • Foster children’s innate attraction for the Supreme, and their individual, eternal and personal relationship with the Godhead, particularly in the dual forms of Radha-Krishna.
  • Exploit the School’s unique location within temple grounds, especially through engaging pupils in:

– Spiritual sadhana (kirtan, deity worship)

– Meaningful interaction with devotees

– Eco-gardening and farming

– Devotional art, music, dance and theatre.

– Aesthetic skills (sewing, cooking, etc)

– Welcoming visitors

  • Provide delicious, healthy and nutritious prasadam (spiritual food) based on a balanced lacto-vegetarian cuisine.
  • View the human body as a valuable aid to material and spiritual fulfilment and promote pupils’ all-round health and safety: spiritual, mental, social, emotional and physical.
  • Ensure that all staff members model appropriate conduct as exemplary, trustworthy and positive-minded adults.

To ensure happy and fulfilled staff, the School leadership commits to:

  • Recruit staff that value, support and enhance the School’s unique character and ethos.
  • Value all staff members, especially through ample remuneration and the dedicated allocation of quality resources to their personal and professional well-being.
  • Provide proactive and pre-emptive leadership to ensure that all staff members are stress-free and coping assertively with any unavoidable pressure.
  • Support teachers in their continuous educational and spiritual development.
  • Allow teachers to exercise professional integrity, free from unnecessary bureaucracy.
  • Ensure that parents support teachers, even when contributing valid critical judgments.
  • Ensure that the temple values, recognises and rewards the contribution of School staff in furthering the purposes of ISKCON.

 

2. Academic Achievement

  • The School motivates and enables students to become learned, articulate and independently thoughtful, and to acquire reputable educational credentials.

To ensure pupils academic achievement, the School commits to:

  • Provide personal attention to help each child succeed according to his or her unique talent and disposition.
  • Ensure that no class exceeds twenty students.
  • Prepare boys and girls for secondary education, and ultimately their academic achievement, professional success and economic wellbeing.[5]
  • Provide a broad and balanced curriculum offering ample choice and including specialist subjects such as yoga, Sanskrit, environmental science, vegetarian cooking and devotional music.
  • Personalise targets and learning paths for each pupil, ensuring no child feels lost or under-valued.
  • Use mentoring, coaching, early interventions, self and peer assessment, thorough intra-year teacher assessment, reporting focussed on the positive, and, as needed, support classes.
  • For each child, without exception, identify in which areas he or she is gifted & talented and – additionally – their specific ‘room for improvement’.
  • Advertise the pupil’s academic results, especially within the local and national ISKCON communities.
  • Encourage pupils to develop their critical thinking skills, and become reflective, philosophical and broad-minded thinkers.
  • Specifically, provide opportunity to reflect on theKrishnaconscious philosophy, and to integrate within learning the core, relevant concepts, such as:

avatara; the tri-guna; service to others; yukta-vairagyavarnashrama-dharma; the karma-jnana-bhaktiparadigm; the purposes of human life; and the validity of many paths, approaching the Divine from diverse contexts and perspectives.

  • Provide an academic education that fulfils both the objectives of the national curriculum (or equivalent) and the educational ideals of the faith partner.
  • Value pupils as active participants in a challenging and enjoyable educational process, helping them mature into independent, responsible, lifelong learners.

 

3. Positive Self-image

  • The School curriculum helps develop pupil’s self-esteem, character and a distinctive but inclusive sense of identify.
  • Amongst all its staff and stakeholders, the School leadership promotes a wholesome, self-assured and inspiring sense of identity.

To nurture students’ positive self-image, the School commits to:

  • Develop pupils’ confidence, ability for self expression and natural affinity for self-discovery, especially by highlighting and reinforcing positive behaviour.
  • Provide a safe environment that promotes self-expression and the use of ‘creative play therapy’ (combining teamwork, imagination, and experiential learning).
  • Help each pupil develop a personal relationship with the Divine, represented through the deity, loving relatives, intimate friends, the natural word, and exemplary role models (including gurus, teachers, and a host of traditional heroes and heroines).
  • Foster students’ awareness of a spiritual identify, shared by all peoples and all living beings, thus transcending all differences based on age, race, gender, species, ability and faith affiliation.
  • Prepare pupils to eventually make up their own minds on issues of belief and belonging, whether religious or secular.
  • Prepare students to cope assertively and dialogically with prevalent, popular views that may differ from their religiously-based views (e.g. of a world that is hierarchical).
  • Prepare pupils for transition to secondary school; through visiting select feeder schools and welcoming graduates back into the School, as formal or informal visitors.
  • Assisted by supportive parents, nurture children’s perception of the divine, and the corresponding Vaishnava values and virtues (for more details, see page 12).

To nurture the School’s positive self-image, the School leadership commits to:

  • Embed and articulate the School’s vision and express pride in the School’s many achievements.
  • Invest time and resources in actively promoting the School.
  • Attract, employ and maintain staff members who are highly qualified, both devotionally and professionally.
  • Ensure financial prestige and sustainability, as by charging appropriately and requiring parents to be financially responsibility for their children’s education.
  • Adequately value, support and maintain School staff, taking time to understand and respond to their specific needs, concerns and interests.
  • Recognise the devotional contribution of staff, irrespective of their being paid.
  • Arrange and subsidise INSET to help staff maintain the Schools distinctive character.
  • Maintain the physical environment and its aesthetic appeal, consistent with the School’s ethos, purposes and educational needs.
  • Gladly provide and extend adequate facilities, helping to raise the requisite funds.
  • Ensure that parents, temple leaders and other influential figures wholeheartedly and responsibly support and promote the School’s worthy purposes.
  • In cooperation with parents, ensure that all pupils properly represent the School andTempleand their shared values and interests.
  • Use discretion in using and popularising apt and prestigious terms for the School, and its members, avoiding those with possible negative connotations (such as, for some, ‘gurukula’ or ‘gurukuli’).
  • Ensure transparency in all dealings, and openly and constrictively address any perceived shortcomings in the School and its leadership.

 

4. Uplifting Environment   

  • The School helps perpetuate it distinctive aims and ethos by diligently maintaining a palpably tranquil, invigorating and supportive environment.

To maintain its uplifting environment, the School commits to:

  • Maintain its own geographical integrity and ethos, clearly distinguishing the complementary roles of home, school and temple.
  • Foster a happy and caring atmosphere, free from undue stress.
  • Maintain quality communications between all members, based on mutual dialogue, active listening and responsible self-expression.
  • Maintain the aesthetics of the physical environment with attention to cleanliness, freedom from clutter and the creative use of space, colour, touch, taste and fragrance.
  • Through an abundance of air, light and open space, appropriately stimulate all senses[6] to maximise receptivity to learning and self-expression.
  • Support staff members to act and teach with integrity and to develop the serenity and satisfaction needed to foster similar virtues in pupils.
  • Recognise the importance of staff being peaceful, though having adequate rest and recreation, time for preparation and financial security.
  • Provide all staff, pupils and visitors with a positive, welcoming and memorable experience.
  • Display art-work and other visual materials (including students work) that articulate the Schools aims and values.
  • Provide sufficient quality resources and well-serviced equipment to enable staff to focus on improving the quality of pupils’ learning and teaching.
  • Demonstrate excellent time-management by promoting punctuality, respect for other’s time and effort, and the assurance of being well-prepared.
  • Require of parents that all pupils are well-dressed in clean, fresh and neatly-pressed uniforms.
  • Request and support parents to ensure the congruence of home and school environments, especially in terms of standards of conduct and etiquette.
  • Draw on its theological teachings to promote the quality of goodness (sattva) in all dealings, specifically the qualities of cleanliness, contentment and honesty, and the avoidance of laziness, negative criticism and procrastination.
  • Provide continuous professional development to enable staff to maintain the School’s distinctive ethos and atmosphere, especially through reflexive practice.

 

5. Exemplary Learning & Teaching     

  • The School maintains the highest standards of learning and teaching, drawn from both its own spiritual and educational heritages and the best of contemporary theory and practice.

To demonstrate ‘exemplary learning & teaching’, the School commits to:

  • Employ teachers for their ability to be creative, inspiring and innovative, and to actively engage with spiritually-informed educational theory.
  • Provide an attractive ‘made-to-measure’ curriculum that reflects the real-world needs of children, breaking away from irrelevant bureaucratic restrictions, including the notion that pupils must be divided into year groups.
  • Base learning strategies on a ‘whole-person’ approach (consistent with Vaishnava theology) by embedding the following principles:

–       Effective education is transformational not informational

–       Knowledge is a dynamic process not a static commodity

–       Knowledge is mediated through the knower

–       The main object of knowledge is brahman (the self and God)

–       The personal assimilation and application of knowledge supersede mere memorisation and conceptual understanding.

  • Ensure that its distinctive purposes, related to the formation of values and character –  and their attendant social skills – are firmly embedded in the curriculum through explicit aims, outcomes and learning experiences.
  • Endorse the sanctity of the guru-student relationship, and the requisite qualifications. For example, by ensuring teachers demonstrate insight and character (based on the acharya principle) whilst pupils show inquisitiveness and appropriate respect.
  • Provide opportunity for yoga, mantra meditation and the study of exemplary role models.
  • Encourage pupils to honestly express their own views and feelings, engage in constructive dialogue, and become reflective and philosophical thinkers.
  • Implement a ‘multiple intelligence’ approach to learning, recognising the importance of pupils developing according to their innate propensities.
  • Offer distinctive opportunities for pupils to engage their creativity through the mediums of devotional art, music, dance and drama.
  • Require teachers to be ‘exemplary learners’, to have pupils’ interests at heart, and to reflectively engage in professional discussion on pedagogical issues.
  • Support teachers in their continuous professional and spiritual development, especially through the provision of regular retreats and opportunity for post-graduate studies.
  • Consistently and diligently implement behaviour and discipline policies.

 

6. Collaborative Leadership

  • The School’s leadership is strategic, courageous, professional and forward-thinking, with an actively-involved Board of Governors and a close-knit senior management team.

To demonstrate an inspirational ‘collaborative leadership,’ the School commits to:

  • Clearly formulate, regularly review and boldly articulate its distinctive ‘vision, mission and ethos’, ensuring that it is deeply embedded in all aspects of school life.
  • Display its “vision, mission and values statement” at appropriate sites around the School.
  • Build and maintain a mutually strong relationship between School andTemple, specifically helpingTemplestaff appreciate the School’s vital contribution towards building a stable and flourishing ISKCON community.
  • Educate parents to understand the aims and ethos of the School, and their corresponding entitlements and responsibilities, before they enrol their children.
  •  Amply recognise and reward those who contribute to its vision, mission and ethos, and who make personal sacrifice.
  • Promote collaborative leadership, inviting participation from a wide range of responsible and committed stakeholders.
  • Promote team spirit, generosity and a shared sense of vision, purpose & achievement
  • Protect the authentic reputation of the School and its outstanding pupils, ensuring these are not marred by any fuzzy or mistaken perceptions (e.g. of ISKCON).
  • Ensure that senior management elicits confidence through its character and expertise.
  • Make the School relevant to the 21st Century and thereby attractive to the wider community.
  • Welcome the active participation of socially, spiritually and economically responsible parents, whilst clearly discerning their roles from those of teachers and other professionals.
  • Provide support for parents in maintaining their spiritual standards and ensuring congruence between the home and school environments.
  • Establish and maintain active links with its feeder schools, inviting in previous pupils to help prepare current students for transition to secondary level.
  • Build collaborative links with local primary schools (thereby giving pupils opportunity to meet their peers from larger schools).
  • Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all staff and stakeholders.

 

The School’s Five Values Unpacked and Explained 

D. Our Values:

To uphold its ideals, the School promotes a broad perception of the Divine (Krishna), underpinned by five core virtues:

1. Positive Interest in Life

2. Respect and Self-control

3. Honesty and Responsibility

4. Courage and Confidence

5. Care and Kindness.  

Other values, as related to these five virtues, are outlined below

 

Over-arching

Perception of the divine

See Krishna in nature; likesKrishnastories; sees the self in allliving beings; likes self and faith tradition; admires ability in others; sees God in other faiths, cultures, etc.; respects elders

1

Positive Interest in Life

Interested in life / Optimistic / Positive / Humorous / GratefulJoyful, cheerful / Co-operative, collaborative / Inquisitive / Motivated & determined / Active participant in class, society

2 

Respect and Self-control

Respectful / Polite/ Well-mannered / Self-controlled / Disciplined /Humble / Reflective / Introspective / Enjoys moments of stillness, reflection, prayer and meditation / Clean, neat and tidy / Punctual

3

Honesty and Responsibility

Honest & truthful / Shows integrity/ Responsible / Reflexive /Admits mistakes/ Volunteers / Reliable friend

4 

Courage and Confidence

Self-assured / Self-reliant / esteem (in self, family and  tradition)Entrepreneurial / Innovative / Creative / Leadership in group / Confident & courageous

5 

Care and Kindness

Loving / Caring / Loyal / Compassionate / Empathic / Sharing / Concerned for animals, nature and the environment.

 


[1] Hinduism is not a terms preferred by many insiders, who often use alternative names such as the ‘Sanatana Dharma’.

[2] The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which is a branch of Bengali Vaishnavism.

[3] Acharya means ‘one who teachers by example’ and is often used to refer to the head of a large and reputable Hindu lineage.

[4] Those who have at least one parent as a practicing member.

[5] Recognising how social, economic and professional stability are crucial to young people’s progressive Krishna consciousness and their ultimate spiritual success

[6] Both knowledge-acquiring and active senses.