Frequently Asked Questions

When was the Shambhala School founded?

The first year of the Shambhala School was in 1993 enrolling students from Grade 5 through Grade 9. We graduated our first class of Grade 12 students in June 1998. The Shambhala Elementary School began as a separate entity in 1994 enrolling Pre-Primary and Primary-aged children. The two separate schools merged in 1999.

Is Shambhala a Buddhist School?

No. The Shambhala School was specifically created to honor the wisdom inherent in all cultures. Its curriculum and pedagogy is inspired by the Waldorf traditions and the Buddhist principles of mindfulness and awareness and how those are universal qualities and strengths of being human. Many of the  the teachers are well-trained Buddhist meditation practitioners who are dedicated to the creation of a compassionate and wakeful society for all people.

How many students are enrolled at the Shambhala School?

We generally have a total enrollment of about 150 students in grades Pre Primary through 12.

What are the class sizes like?

The Pre-Primary class has a maximum of 24 children for 3 teachers. The Primary class has approximately 15 children for one teacher and then 2 teachers up to a maximum of 18 students. The class sizes for the rest of the grades typically range from 15 to 20 per class.

What is the Shambhala School educational philosophy?

The Shambhala School is founded on the truth of basic goodness : All humans possess an unconditional openness, compassion and fearless intelligence. No one can take this away, but it must be nurtured in order to come forth.

Confidence in basic goodness is the ground of everything. Academic success arises of personal mastery, emotional intelligence and confidence. The stewardship of a society and culture of kindness is built upon citizens of character who are confident in their inherent and fundamental worthiness.

We say that everything matters, which means that our physical health, our communication, and our cognitive and emotional powers are all connected. The physical and social environment of the classroom, physically affects everything we do. Because everything matters in this way our world is said to be a sacred world.

The Shambhala School is part of a group of North American institutions known for contemplative education: education that activates the transformative powers of the mind through a rich experience of all the arts, through connecting with the natural world, through creating good classroom society, and through mindfulness and awareness practices drawn from the world’s wisdom traditions.

Do you have entrance requirements?

Every student is evaluated by teachers during a formal visit in the classroom before being offered a place in the school. The school is able to accommodate some students who are not at grade level, but an individualized plan must be negotiated and agreed upon with the parents. The greatest requirement for a student’s acceptance to the school is their intention (or their parent’s intention, in the case of younger children) to excel as a learner, their commitment to personal mastery, and appreciation of the Shambhala School’s vision of creating a wise and compassionate society.

Do you follow the provincial curriculum?

Our graduates receive a Nova Scotia graduation certificate at the end of Grade 12. We also offer an advanced Shambhala School Certificate that is more demanding in terms of numbers of credits, second language education, leadership activities, outdoor training and other extracurricular achievements.

In the elementary years, the curriculum is strongly influenced by the Waldorf curriculum mixed with contemporary research-based developmental theory. The senior years continue this educational approach through the seminal books, myths, legends and folklore of the world’s wisdom traditions, an emphasis on embodied learning through outdoor experiences, and an integration of the arts throughout the core curricula.