Families and Children
May the heart of our community be warmed by the laughter of children, energized by the passion of teenagers, inspired by the pure vision of young adults, enriched by the generosity of parents, strengthened by the discipline of adults, stabilized by the wisdom of the elders and altogether held and guided by the lineage.
Children’s Programs at the Seattle Shambhala Center
Shambhala Child Care runs concurrently with Sunday Morning Meditation and Discussion from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM. Parents must stay on site. During check-in please provide a cash or check donation of $10 ($5 for each additional child).
NOTE: Please check back here for updates to the Child Care schedule and announcements.
The Children’s Regular Sunday Schedule
10:00 – opening, saying hello, finding how I feel today
10:30 – meditation, mindfulness practice
10:30-11:00 – A Kingdom of Kindness and Confidence: children explore Shambhala principles through story, discussion, art, movement and sharing; children may break into age groups depending on activity and staffing
11:00-11:30 Tea snack
11:30-12:15 ongoing project & outdoor time
12:30 – closing ritual, coming together before leaving
There are no age restrictions but we do ask that you contact us in advance if your child is new to Shambhala Child Care, is 3 years or younger, or has special needs.
Parents are requested to participate in child care when their children are 2 years or younger. Children 12 years or older, young adults, and elderly family members who enjoy being with children are encouraged to participate or volunteer with the child care team.
The purpose of the child care is to support families in their practice by embracing their children’s presence at the Shambhala Center. The child care provides children a place of belonging in a spiritual community as well as an opportunity for familiarity and comfort to develop before entering the future Children’s program.
Shambhala Child Care has no set curriculum. Exposure to stories and activities with Shambhala Buddhist themes and simple activities to cultivate awareness may be introduced when appropriate. Kindness, cooperation, caring, respect, and responsibility to community are all values of the child care. We emphasize working together, caring for the Center, discovery, and celebrating the natural world. Physical exercise, art, and meditation are some of the common activities of the child care.
Outdoor activities are an important part of experiencing the world through the senses and developing mindfulness, so please ensure children are prepared with rain boots, clothes that can get muddy, appropriate outerwear for rain, snow, sun, etc., and maybe even an extra set of pants.
Shambhala Daycare child care team is led by Robin Willett. Please contact Robin with any questions or comments.
A time for children between 8 and 12 to explore Shambhala culture and studies. Held one Sunday a month at the Seattle Shambhala Center. Children practice meditation during each session and are encouraged to take what they learn and use it in their daily life. Optional outings, one overnight, and a community care project will be offered along the way.
The Bodhi School fall & winter session started on September 4, 2016 and will continue until February 5, 2017. Please visit the Bodhi School Information and Registration page for more details.
The Dignities That Bring Confidence into Everyday Life
The four dignities: Tiger, Snow Lion, Garuda, and Dragon
Click on a thumbnail above to see a larger version of the image.
Learn more in an article on the four dignities by the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche:
Become a Volunteer
Our Family & Children Programs are about creating a space for children to connect to their own goodness, wisdom, kindness, and strength. Volunteering to support this environment is an expression of generosity and commitment to our children and the offerings Seattle Shambhala Center provides.
We are seeking child care staff throughout the year. If you enjoy being with children and are patient and flexible then please be encouraged to meet with the child care team about volunteering your time on a Sunday morning. If you will be coming regularly with your child, we do ask you to help out at least a few times a year. Please talk with our child care volunteer coordinator, Anisha.
Young people 12 years or older, adults, and elderly family members who enjoy being with children are encouraged to participate in any of the children’s programs offerings , as well as seasonal celebration such as Children’s Day, Bodhi school, and outings. In addition, if you have a special skill you’d like to share with the kids, let us know, we’d love to work it in.
As part of our programming, we also like to bring in a variety of individuals from the community who can share their skills in meditation and Shambhala philosophy and culture. Please talk to Robin about leading a Shambhala activity for a small group of children ages 8-12 during Bodhi school.
Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Anisha at to discuss any of these volunteer opportunities.
Annual Shambhala Summer Camps
Seattle Shambhala Family Camp
Seattle’s annual summer Shambhala Family Camp is an opportunity for children, parents, and our community at large to come together and form a little pocket of enlightened society in the sunshine.
This year family camp met in Snohomish August 15-16, 2015. Check out the blog post, Family Camp 2015: Building Family Bridges, for pictures and reflections of the weekend.
What’s family camp like?
Seattle Shambhala Center’s Family Camp 2012
Our community held its first family camp last summer at beautiful Windhorse Retreat Center on Whidbey Island. Click on the link below for a description and slideshow of the three-day event. Family Camp 2012
Seattle Shambhala Center’s Family Camp 2014
Family Camp at the Land Centers
And, check out this video of Family Camp at Karme Choling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0_iSuK_QqI&feature=youtu.be
Shambhala Sun Camp 2015
Shambhala Sun Camp is an outdoor sleep-away summer camp for children ages 10-16 with locations in Colorado, Nova Scotia and France. Sessions take place in July and August. For more information go to:http://shambhalasuncamp.org/
The Children’s Day Celebration on the Winter Solstice is one of four high seasonal celebration days, or Nyida Days in the Tibetan tradition, with a special focus on children and the nourishing light and warmth of community in the midst of the cold and wet abundance of our Northwest winter season. It’s a time too, for slowing down and reflecting.
Find out more about Children’s Day here: http://shambhalatimes.org/2014/12/28/celebrating-childrens-day-2/
How do the King and Queen celebrate Children’s Day in the magical city called Kalapa, which is the capital of the Kingdom of Shambhala? Find out in A Children’s Day Story by Martin Janowitz
Children’s Day at Seattle Shambhala Center
Join us for Children’s Day 2015 on December 20! More information and a full schedule.
Iliana and her dignity companions, the local King and Queen of Shambhala, and sangha celebrate a magical and lively Children’s Day and Winter Solstice.
The Iliana Story
The performance or telling of the story of Iliana, by Water Fordham, Iliana: A Solstice Tale, is a much loved part of the annual Children’s Day Solstice celebration.
The Iliana story:
The Iliana songs:
Background on the Iliana Story:
General Resources for Families
Family Meditation http://shambhalatimes.org/2013/03/30/family-meditation-2/
A Monastic Youth Dathun
Slow Family Living
New Parent Groups, Programs for Early Parent Support – PEPS
Lion’s Roar: This Shambhala publication often includes articles about the lives of children, and family