One of the most important Baha’i principles—universal compulsory education—finds its expression today in free, neighborhood-based Baha’i children’s classes.
Children, according to the Baha’i writings, should all be educated—and not only in the usual academic subjects. Moral and spiritual education has equal importance:
Encourage the children from their earliest years to master every kind of learning, and make them eager to become skilled in every art — the aim being that through the favoring grace of God, the heart of each one may become even as a mirror disclosing the secrets of the universe, penetrating the innermost reality of all things; and that each may earn worldwide fame in all branches of knowledge, science and the arts. – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Education, p. 27.
The education and training of children is among the most meritorious acts of humankind and draweth down the grace and favor of the All-Merciful, for education is the indispensable foundation of all human excellence and alloweth man to work his way to the heights of abiding glory. If a child be trained from his infancy, he will, through the loving care of the Holy Gardener, drink in the crystal waters of the spirit and of knowledge, like a young tree amid the rilling brooks. And certainly he will gather to himself the bright rays of the Sun of Truth, and through its light and heat will grow ever fresh and fair in the garden of life.
Therefore must the mentor be a doctor as well: that is, he must, in instructing the child, remedy its faults; must give him learning, and at the same time rear him to have a spiritual nature. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 129.
Baha’i children’s classes awaken the spiritual capacities of children, encouraging them to develop essential human virtues like love for others, altruism, knowledge of God, freedom from prejudice, honesty, respect and justice. The classes help children build kindness, inner strength and a deeply-rooted moral compass, all with the goal of achieving joyful excellence in the material, mental, and spiritual aspects of life.
Baha’is believe that nobility and beauty characterize each person’s inborn nature, and that an early spiritual education promotes moral and intellectual excellence in every child.