What is the Buddhist RI program?
Every government school is required to allow 30 minutes a week for Religious Instruction (RI) for children from yrs. 1-12. RI is not taught by school staff, but instead by volunteers from authorised providers.
Each week, RI teachers, trained and supported by BESS help many young people to live better lives.
How is Buddhism taught in our schools?
Buddhism is not taught so that the students remember what is in a textbook. The Buddhist curriculum aims to help the children lead a happy and healthy lives based upon the teachings of the Buddha. The emphasis on values and life skills does not exclude learning about the Buddha’s life, or his original teachings as these are also included in the lessons. Values and life skills will help build self-confidence and purpose. Life skills in particular will help a child to be more resilient to the inevitable ups and downs of life.
The Buddhist RI curriculum therefore aims to:
Instill values and attitudes which are consistent with the Buddha’s teachings
Help children to understand Buddhist teachings and how to practice them
Enable children to learn practical life skills
Buddhist teachers are trained by BESS to run classes in ways which help young people to understand and practice the essence of the Buddha’s teachings, using stories, mindfulness exercises, games, plays, lively discussion, arts and crafts and other activities that children enjoy.
What will my child learn?
The Buddhist RI curriculum aims to help children to lead happy and healthy lives and to instil values and life skills based on the understanding and practice of the Buddha’s teachings. The history of global Buddhism and the story of the Buddha’s life are included in the curriculum.
The curriculum is structured in to four parallel strands of topics, graduated from stage 1 through to years 10, with age appropriate topics at each stage.
Being a Buddhist: The understanding and practice of the Buddha’s teachings from an individual perspective.
Buddhism in society: The values that underpin the Buddha’s teachings, exemplified by the virtues of the Buddha, such as generosity and compassion
Life skills: Effective ways to manage life such as managing negative emotions, developing good friendships and being mindful
How will my child benefit?
Buddhist RI teachers are reminded to remain ‘grounded’ in their own Buddhist practice because teaching by example is always more effective. But even more convincing are the comments noted by teachers directly from the students:
“Buddhism is about understanding others”
I asked everyone to give money to a charity instead of getting birthday presents, and I felt good about it”
“Being mean sometimes makes you happy, but only for a short time, and then you feel bad. But when you are kind, you get a good feeling that lasts much longer”
I learned how to rest my mind”
“Respect is listening very carefully to what my brother is saying to me”
“I have learnt ways to deal with anger”
For more information about Buddhist classes in your child’s school, contact BESS at