Shambhala School

Shambhala School

The Shambhala School is a non-denominational private school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It employs a creative curriculum, integrating both academics and art. It runs from preprimary through grade 12.Infobox Education in Canada
name= Shambhala School

streetaddress= 5450 Russell Street
city= Halifax
province= Nova Scotia
postalcode= B3K 1W9
areacode= 902
phone= 902-454-6100
fax= 902-454-6157
url= or
free_label_1= Founded
free_1= 1993
free_label_2= Motto
free_2= "Genuine Delight in Learning"
schoolboard= Private
area= HRM
director= Steve Mustain
schooltype= Private Elementary/Middle/High School
grades= Preprimary - Grade 12
enrollment= Approx. 150
language= English
colours= Blue, Gold


In 1993, parents of the Halifax Shambhala community were concerned with Nova Scotia's public school system and set out to create a school which would create a nurturing and delightful environment for learning. With this conceived, the school began as a Private entity.

The School started out sharing a facility with another School in the west end of Halifax, Nova Scotia, off Windsor Street. When the School grew, it moved to its present location on the corner of Russell and Gottingen Street in Halifax.

Curriculum and learning styles

Although Shambhala School is not a religious school, the School does use Eastern/Shambhala meditation techniques everyday to encourage learning and expansion of the mind. For the Younger Students (Primary - Grade 6) this includes simple breathing techniques, mind exploration and chanting. For the Older grades (Grade 7 - 12) this includes 5-10 minutes of Simple Yoga each morning and 10 minutes of Shambhala Sitting Meditation every morning and before dismissal. Usually on the morning returning from each major break (I.E. Winter and March Break) the entire Upper School participates in an approximately hour-long Yoga session followed by sitting meditation.

The Shambhala School's Academics are of a different design than that of a normal Public School in Canada. The Lower Grades have a similar design of academics but boast more advanced learning and more complex topics and ideas. This includes areas of Mathematics, History, Science, and Language Skills. A focus of the arts are also integrated heavily into each Subject and class. Skills like juggling, knitting, weaving and playing recorder are added. Singing and Drawing are encouraged incredibly and Music Class is typically consisted of the Music Teacher Playing guitar to accompany singing of songs chosen by the students.

In The Middle Grades, the curriculum is unique to Canada. All subjects are advanced compared to Public Schools. The English and History Curriculum are run side by side, with books relating to the area of history the class is learning. The History Curriculum is laid out that a student who completes Grades 7-9 in Shambhala will have studied the entirety of human history in its basic form. Grade 7 learns from the beginning of man kind - approximately the end of ancient history. From there in Grade 8 students learn of the beginning of the Medieval Ages - The Late 1700s. From there, students in Grade 9 learn up until modern history. All other academic subjects are advanced and also include art and music. Music consists of the same playing and singing as in the earlier grades but also includes more mature themes like critiquing recorded music and projects of musicians or bands. From Grade 5-12, a group of students in each class have the choice to join "Performance Band" if they play an instrument or sing. These Bands usually perform rock, blues, jazz or popular music. The Director, who also served as the Performance teacher until recently, has made past attempts to infuse various songs with a "latin feel". The bands usually consist of 2-4 guitarists, 1-3 drummers (who take turns), 1-3 singers, a bassist, a keyboardist and other assorted instruments. The music teacher also usually plays along with the band or directs.From Grade 10 - 12, students enter High School and begin electing their own courses for credits. The High school credit system is the same as the Nova Scotia High School Diploma system. Courses are usually advanced and many arts courses are available. Among the elected courses are classes such as Ceramic Technology and Spanish.

Extracurricular Activities

Each year, the Upper Grades attend a camping trip in September to Kejimkujik National Park in South Central Nova Scotia. It is usually about a 3 day trip and includes bike trips, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, camp fires, swimming, large games of capture the flag/track down/manhunt, tenting, playing of musical instruments, and much more. The group usually consists of between 60-90 people and includes teachers, students and parents. The Group eats communally of 3 meals a day and smaller groups take turns cooking and cleaning. Many Students and Faculty members Claim this is an excellent way to bring the school closer and creates a community.

In addition to the "Keji" outing, each class attends a trip each year to Redtail Nature Camp. The Camp is located in Pictou County, Nova Scotia and has approximately convert|150|acre|km2 of forested land. The Camp activities include much hiking, camp fires, nature/educational games, nature spotting, tracking, guided meditation, Native American rituals such as smudging and sweat lodge, swimming and much more.

Every year, around Canadian Thanksgiving time, the school organizes the "Turkey Trot". This raises money for under-privileged families in the community to receive Turkeys and other foods for Thanksgiving.

Due to the small population on a school based level, Shambhala and other Private schools (e.g. Sacred Heart School of Halifax) have teamed up to conduct dances. This is usually open to 7-9 grades and sometimes 10-12 respectively. Each student is allowed 1-2 guests from any school (even public).


The Shambhala School is currently housed in the former Alexander Mckay School Building in the Hydrostone area of Halifax. The school has three floors and a mezzanine including the basement area.

The bottom floor has a small carpeted room sometimes used for music-now used for drama equipment, a large open space used for concerts, circles and other activities, restrooms, a utility room, a canteen room with a kitchenette and a large room formerly used for art and aikido, and now used for large gatherings. The basement also includes a gymnasium with recently new hardwood flooring. The gym also has a stage used for concerts and plays.

The mezzanine includes a number of classrooms (currently used for music and visual art) and a staff room. The music room includes a resident drum kit, keyboards, stereo and PA system. The art room includes, among the many mediums, a number of pottery wheels and a kiln.

The first floor mainly houses the elementary classes as well as a preschool. The floor has many classrooms, washrooms and an administrative office.

The top floor houses the older grades. This includes many more classrooms, a kitchen/lunchroom (which doubles as a classroom in some cases), an administrative office with a photocopier and the director's office. There is also an outdoor classroom made of a sustainable material which was an exercise by architecture students from Dalhousie University.

All grades use cubbies for storage which are on the sides of all classrooms.

Notable alumni

*Ellen Page, Academy Award-nominated Actresscite news| last =Lisk| first =Dean| title =Page making a scene on screen| publisher ="The Daily News"| date =2007-12-20| url =| accessdate =2008-01-16 ] [ [ Profile: Ellen Page - MSN Entertainment UK] ]

Geographic Location


See also

*Shambhala Buddhism
*Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
* [ Shambhala School Website]

External links

* [ Shambhala School]

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