What happens in our Programme -
“Spiritual Time”, Expression and Creativity, Outdoor Activities and Free-Play.
To take into account differences in age and maturity, and to adapt to children's different capacities, our programmes are offered to four different age groups that cover the age range of 6 to 18 years old.
Each programme focuses on different pedagogical themes.
- the 'Tigers': 6 and 7 years old
- the 'Dragons': 8 to 9 years old
- the 'Eagles' : 10 to 12 years old
- Teenagers : 13 to 18 years old
A recent addition to the teenager programme is the Teenager Shedra, where teenagers from different countries come together to study traditional Buddhist texts, learn about the latest scientific research on meditation and compassion, and explore among themselves the place of human values in their own lives.
Co-education is an important element of our programme and allows interactions between girls and boys. We organize workshops which bring all age groups together. This facilitates the development of openness to each other and sharing of knowledge.
The international and multicultural nature of our programmes brings openness towards cultural diversity and at the same time a deep appreciation of our common humanity. During our summer programmes we welcome children of all nationalities.
Spiritual Time / Dharma Sessions
Dharma is a Sanskrit word that – in a Buddhist context - refers to the teachings of the Buddha. In a more general sense it also means 'spiritual path', 'spirituality', and 'truth'. Children who wish to are invited to start their day with a moment of mindfulness and reflection. For this children are invited into the beautiful atmosphere of the Lerab Ling temple.
In a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, children and teenagers have the opportunity to connect with themselves. Various mindfulness and meditation exercises are offered to them, as well as compassion practices based on the Buddhist tradition. Each day has a theme which relates to a typical daily life situation of a young person. Essential values such as compassion and wisdom are illustrated through short films, videos, role play, theatre, stories and songs.
Debate and other interactive exercises allow everybody to deepen the theme of the day. The young people reflect on the theme and everybody is encouraged to share their personal experience and understanding. Everyone is given the opportunity to express themselves.
Some young people are curious to discover and explore Buddhism, whether they are atheist , already familiar with Buddhism, or of another faith. Through exchange and interactive exercises, they explore and understand the great values of this tradition, such as the law of cause and effect and interconnectedness.
Expression and creativity time
Expressive and creative projects are offered to all age groups and allow children and teenagers to integrate mindfulness and awareness into their actions. The young people can chose between different workshops:
- Meditative arts: calligraphy, tea ceremony, the art of flower arrangement (ikebana)
- Creative arts: painting, drawing, sculpture, film making and photography, creative writing and poetry
- Expressive arts: dance, song , theatre, role play, taiko drumming
We do not aim to distract or entertain children through these activities, as distraction already plays a big role in their daily life. Our wish is instead to offer them opportunities for bringing mindfulness and awareness into their activity, so that they can get in touch with their inner being through enjoyable and engaging activities.
Doing projects together as a group, the children also learn to be more aware of the social dimension of their actions, for example by contributing to humanitarian projects.
Outdoor activities and free play
We are delighted to enable the children who join our programmes to discover and enjoy the magnificent natural environment — woods, forests, and fields — that surrounds Lerab Ling.
Outings, hiking, horseback riding and swimming create a variety of ways in which children can discover a natural environment and to become aware of the deep link to nature all humans share.
Furthermore, by offering them a break from multiple screens and wifi we hope to give them fresh perspectives, which are less 'virtual' and help them see how precious it is to be in touch with nature.
We also organize cooperative outdoor team games and team sports like football. The children also have lots of time for free play, simply to have fun with each other and to form and refresh meaningful and lasting friendships.