Program Vision

The vision of the Early Childhood Education department is to prepare students to nurture and guide the natural unfolding of young children. As a student in the program, you’ll begin by developing mindfulness and genuineness within yourself.

This Bachelor of Arts major has three unique components:

  • Transforming the teacher
  • Modeling caring interactions with students
  • Creating sacred (and ordinary) learning environments

Transforming the teacher

The contemplative view of education begins with the transformation of the teacher. The inner journey of the teacher facilitates synchronization of mind and heart; discipline and delight; and fosters gentle authenticity. A further phase of the contemplative journey involves compassionate teaching and learning relationships.

Modeling caring interactions with students

Teachers, having discovered their own genuine style, model direct and caring interactions with their students and others. Management of learning environments arises from the teacher’s nonaggressive confidence, clarity and skillfulness, which is cultivated throughout the learning community.

Creating sacred (and ordinary) learning environments

A natural extension of this educational journey is the integration of contemplative perspectives into course content, and the transformation of physical learning environments into places that are both ordinary and sacred.

Academic approach

The department’s academic approach is an integrated emotional, intellectual, experiential, and spiritual process. The inclusion of emotional energies into learning relationships and subject content vitalizes learning and makes it personally meaningful. Selected Eastern and Western holistic/spiritual approaches and pedagogies, such as those of Krishnamurti, Montessori, Kessler, Palmer, and others, will broaden your range of understanding for developing authentic teaching and learning methodologies.

Hands-on experience

Through Naropa’s lab school, departmental study abroad, and in public and private classrooms, you’ll have the opportunity to partake of direct experience in awareness-based education, compassionate inclusive communities, and applied contemplative methodologies. Through the use of mindfulness meditation, loving kindness and awareness practices, you’ll develop precision, depth, insight, openness, and mind/body synchronization. All this has led our graduates to joyful, sustainable, and beneficial careers.

Naropa’s expertise in contemplative education

Naropa University is the preeminent pioneer of contemplative education, which has been practiced here and at affiliated pre-K–12 schools since 1974. The Department of Contemplative Education, since its inception in 1990, has been dedicated to developing a nonsectarian, yet distinctly Shambhala Buddhist approach to education. This is an approach to education that enhances and is applicable to diverse ways of teaching and learning. 

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