Children’s and Teens’ Courses

The Child and Teen Courses offer young people an introduction to Anapana meditation. Anapana is the practice of observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. It is the first step to Vipassana meditation, a universal and non-sectarian technique.

Young people who have started practicing Anapana have realized many benefits. Their ability to concentrate becomes enhanced, their memory gets sharper, their ability to comprehend a subject improves and they become calmer. In general, they feel they have a practical tool to use in the face of many types of adversity or challenge.

In the words of some children who have completed similar meditation courses at other Vipassana centers around the world:

  • “I learned that I like meditating because it makes me feel relaxed.”
  • “I like this course because I like playing outside, playing with clay. We also did tie-dye. I also like this course because it seems like I’m at home and the food is so good”
  • “At school if I need to concentrate on what the teacher is doing or saying I can use Anapana. And if I am mad and angry I can use Anapana.”
  • “I think meditation is very important in this busy world because it helps us to maintain a stable state of our mind and also it helps us to do our work with right understanding.”

During the course there will be meditation sessions with instructions, stories and discussion for up to 30 minutes. In between, are break periods, meals and activities. (See the Sample Schedules below.)

The students will be grouped by age and assigned group leaders who will personally accompany and assist them throughout the course, providing support and guidance as needed.

Please Note: The intent of these courses is serious. It is not appropriate for students who are too young or otherwise unable to follow directions or to participate in organized, self-modulating activities. It is also not appropriate for those who are unable to understand the meaning or purpose of the daily timetable and Code of Conduct. Segregation by gender will be maintained at all times in the accommodations as well as in the meditation hall and during much of the course.

Children’s Courses

These courses are for young people aged 8 to 12, and have been designed specifically for this age group. You will learn Anapana meditation, with guided instructions for periods of up to 30 minutes. Throughout the day, there will also be stories, discussion sessions, snacks, games, and art activities.

Teen Courses

These courses are for young people aged 13 to 17, and have been designed specifically for this age group. You will learn Anapana meditation, with guided instructions for periods of up to one hour. Throughout the day there will also be journal writing, rest periods, and service activities. During the course there will be times you will be asked to not speak with the other students.

Parent / Guardian Info

It is not mandatory that a parent or guardian accompanies your child to the course. Parents or guardians who have previously completed a 10-day course are welcome to stay at the center and give service in the kitchen or in other projects. Since parents or guardians will not be participating in the course, they will follow a separate schedule. They will also be accommodated separately from the students. Only those students who feel comfortable staying in separate accommodations from their parents are encouraged to attend. We ask that parents and affiliated adults refrain from communicating with or contacting their children throughout the course. (Apply to serve).

Parents or guardians who have not completed a ten-day course with S.N. Goenka or his assistant teachers are welcome to stay with their children during registration, but should then leave the center until the course is over. There are numerous hotels, motels and campsites in the area.

Before applying for the course, please make sure that both you and your child have read and understood the Code of Conduct and Sample Schedule below.

How to Apply Online

Read the information on this page carefully, particularly the Code of Conduct and Course Schedules.

  1. Go to the Course Schedule, click on the Teen / Child Course that you would like to attend, and fill out that application on that page to apply.
  2. If you need additional help registering, please contact us by phone (1 (413) 625-2160 x313) or email (childrens-course@dhara.dhamma.org.

Additional Information

Seeds of Awareness (video): This new thirteen minute film is about children and teens who learn to meditate. More detailed information, course locations, and videos on Anapana Meditation for children and tens can be found at the international children and teen site.

Code of Conduct

Learning to practice Anapana meditation is very valuable because it helps you to become a better person. Practicing Anapana meditation will help you to train your mind to become concentrated and calm. This will make your mind strong so that you will be able to avoid doing or saying things that are hurtful or harmful to yourself and to others. This strength of mind will help you to feel happier and more peaceful. Practicing Anapana and learning to concentrate will help you to become the master of your mind.

To help you succeed in practicing Anapana meditation it is important that you do your best to follow the instructions that you will be given during the course. While you are at the course, it is also important that you agree to follow the Code of Conduct written below. In the same way that a house needs a good foundation to support it, so the practice of Anapana needs a good foundation. This good foundation for Anapana is built by following the Code of Conduct. It will help you to avoid performing actions that are harmful or hurtful to yourself and others.

During the first meditation session at the course you will be asked to repeat the following five vows or precepts. These are written in bold and underneath each is an explanation. Please read them carefully so that you will understand what you are saying when the time comes:

I shall abstain from killing.
I promise to try to treat all beings kindly and not kill them or harm them in any way.

I shall abstain from stealing.
I promise to take only what is given to me and not take anything which belongs to others without permission.

I shall abstain from a life of misconduct.
I promise to treat other boys and girls as if they were my brothers or sisters or best friends.

I shall abstain from speaking lies, harsh words, backbiting, etc. which will harm others.
I promise to speak truthfully, kindly and gently, and not to tell lies or to say hurtful things to anybody or about anybody.

I shall abstain from taking any intoxicant.
I promise not to take any alcohol, drugs or intoxicants, but to keep my mind clear.

At the bottom of your application form you will find a question that asks if you agree to try to follow this Code of Conduct while you are at the one-day meditation course site.

Sample One-Day Schedule

8:30am to 9:00am Arrival time and check-in
(Please allow enough time to register)
9:00am to 9:15am Orientation
9:30am to 10:00am Introduction and Anapana meditation instructions
10:00am to 10:15am Short break
10:15am to 11:15am Meditation & Group check-in; Story & Discussion
11:15am to 11:45am Refreshments & Physical activity
11:45am to 12:30pm Meditation & checking
12:30pm to 1:15pm Lunch
1:15pm to 2:00pm Meditation; Story & discussion
2:00pm to 2:15pm Short break
2:15pm to 3:15pm Meditation & Group check-in; Story & discussion
3:15pm to 3:45pm Short Break & Refreshments
3:45pm to 4:10pm Discourse and Metta Instructions
4:10pm to 4:30pm Course Feedback Activity
4:30pm Course ends

Sample Two-Day Schedule

Saturday
12:45pm to 1:15pm Arrival
1:30pm Orientation
2:00pm Meditation
2:45pm Break
3:00pm Meditation
3:30pm Break
3:45pm Meditation
4:15pm Break, Activity
5:00pm Meditation
5:30pm Dinner
7:00pm Meditation, Story, Discussion
8:30pm Retire
9:15pm Lights Out
Sunday
7:00am Wake-up
7:30am Physical Activity
8:00am Meditation
8:30am Breakfast
10:00am Meditation
10:45am Break, Activity
11:30am Meditation
12:00pm to 1:30pm Lunch and Break
1:30pm Course Ends