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Combatting Child Abuse in Kindergartens and Day Cares with the Buddha Dharma
by Emi Hailey Hayakawa, BTN, March 24, 2015
Seoul, South Korea -- Reports of alleged child abuse cases have flooded local police offices, officials said, as authorities scrambled to deal with public uproar sparked by alleged abuse at an Incheon day care centre in December 2014 where a female day care teacher was caught on CCTV slapping a child across the face. The child went flying onto the floor.
According to the current situation of child abuse report hotlines, there had been 830 reports between January 16th, 2015 to February 15th, 2015, which is reportedly 29 child abuse reports per day.
Thankfully, not all kindergarten in Korea are subjected to child abuse. The Songpa District of Seoul, has rated the Bulgwangsa Kindergarten as one of the safest kindergarten for children in the district. The reason behind that was the teaching environment for the teachers. The teacher system at Bulgwangsa Kindergarten allows for various teacher with specific duties so that the teachers can focus on their specific duty and care for each children. They have also implemented a system for open communication with the parents.
Moreover, the curriculum focuses around the Buddha Dharma and using the Buddha Dharma in educating the hearts and mind of the young children. The teachers also receive Buddhist training, as it is most important to first develop your own meditation practice and then show the children the way. They will naturally become curious as they so often want to emulate the behaviours they see in their teachers and others whom they look up to.
The abbot of Bulkwangsa temple, and head of Bulkwangsa Kindergarten, Ven Jihung states that the children get into contact with Buddhism not as a religion, but as a their own traditional culture and through reflective meditation. Additionally, the teacher’s work environment, the kindergarten’s operation policy and programs, and clear communication with each elements are what makes Bulkwangsa Kindergarten a positive environment for both the teachers and the children, and the open communication with the parents allow for much of the ease of mind in leaving the children.
It has been scientifically proven by various neurosurgeons that children who meditate benefits much more than those who do not; they vary from psychological, spiritual, and physical to emotional. They have better memory, creativity and reduced anxiety.
Even though it is impossible to know how meditation will affect an individual life, there are plenty of reasons for exposing children to this life-affirming practice. It’s a gift parents and teachers can give their children, and a way to reduce child abuse cases and to support a healthy and positive environment in kindergartens for both teachers and children.