© 2023 Dr. Margaret Sheppard

Life Cycle Babies Childhood Puberty Engagement Weddings Death

Nowadays most young children will attend the local pre-schools where they learn the basics of education such as the alphabet, numbers etc., respect for elders and their religion and culture and also to socialise with other children outside their immediate family circle.  Increasingly some of these nurseries also teach some basic English e.g. English nursery rhymes and the English alphabet.

End of year concert at a Nursery school

 Each age group then performed acts - typically cultural dances.

This commenced as with all  events, with the lighting of the wicks and then then all the children performed in their temple clothes.


Formal Education

Education is highly regarded in Sri Lanka and there is a high level of literacy and and school attendance  at both primary and secondary schools. Exam success is seen as the pathway to economic advancement not just for the child but also the family. State education is free and primary and secondary  government schools are locally accessible throughout the island.


At around six years old,  children start at primary school and many attend extra classes for the main subjects as education is highly valued by parents as being a “stepping stone” to a “better life” and success in the school examinations plays a major role in a young person’s future life journey. The study of their religion is also a very important subject. On Sundays most children attend their Temple School.

A primary class with their teachers, making Pujah offerings at Temple

Secondary children on a school pilgrimage to the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy

Vavuniya School group on cultural visit to the Jaffna Peninsula

Sri Lankan Navy instructing a fishing community (mid 2005) on the community’s Tsunami Escape Routes. Swimming lessons were also held in some communities following the devastating 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.