I feel today’s education does not really teach freedom. If they try to teach freedom, it is just about individual rights but not about the inner freedom which comes from a deep inner sense of order. When you have this inner orderliness you can then sprawl out and breeze around in the chaotic world. Instead it sometimes seems modern education does the opposite, it makes us chaotic inside and tries to create some kind of external order.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Advisor

ABOUT

Founded in 2017, The Middle Way School of the Hudson Valley is one of the first Buddhist preparatory schools for children in the West. Our mission is to empower students to take their places in the modern world. Our pedagogy and school culture draw upon foundational Buddhist teachings and traditions as well as the latest research in child development, neuroscience, and technology. MWS offers an exceptional education, creating conditions for wisdom and compassion to flourish.

 

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ACADEMICS

We view education as a natural learning process that engages children’s innate potential and provides a way to understand the phenomenal world with grace and humor. Our students play, contemplate, engage with text and numbers, and are encouraged to use inquiry as the foundation for academic achievement. Our developmental approach to teaching and learning is highly personalized so that each student is experiences a balance of challenge and accomplishment. The aim is to tap into students’ intrinsic joy of learning while supporting their social, emotional and spiritual growth.

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ADMISSIONS

The Middle Way School thrives on the principle of inclusion. We actively seek to build a community that is rich with diverse cultures, races, talents, interests, learning profiles, and economic and ethnic backgrounds. MWS is a pilot school with the support of a global community of friends and foundations who wish to see us succeed. Because of their support, we are able to offer ample financial aid to meet families needs. More than $100,000 in aid was given in 2019.

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DAILY AND WEEKLY HAPPENINGS AT MIDDLE WAY SCHOOL

Happy autumnal equinox. May we find the middle way. Being in the balance doesn’t mean being ambivalent or wishy washy, it means expanding to hold a more expansive, moon’s eye view. ...

A beautiful and sensitive book to read today, 9/11. “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers” by Mordicai Gerstein about local artist Philippe Petit. #philippepetit #twintowers #booksforkids #impermanence. ...

Seeing what's happening in Afghanistan, we remember back to a time before the Taliban was in control of the country and the stunning Buddhas of Bamyan presided over the desert and the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha flourished. The Buddhas were destroyed in 2001. We honor the work that so many people have done to restore this important piece of Buddhist, Afghan, and world history. We pray for the peace and dignity of the people of Afghanistan and we invite all of you, as part of our community, to do the same. ...

Oh so good to be back on campus with this extradordinary bunch of dedicated and delightful educators. All the familiar faces are back for another year, plus two new amazing humans. We’ll be introducing them all in the coming weeks. ...

Putting this bit of beauty right here before posting the final series of photos, the Dragons became Guardians and the finale was the Owls were knighted as the Knights of Quan Yin, entering the path of compassion. ...

We are so grateful for all the causes and conditions that brought the marvelous Laurie Ylvisaker to this world. Laurie has been a constant support to Middle Way in multiple ways. In particular she has fostered a more diverse community for the past two years by generously offering tuition assistance to students of color at Middle Way. Thank you Laurie! And Happy Birthday! We asked Laurie if she had any words to share and here’s what she said: “I began hearing about the Middle Way School in 2017, before it opened. I learned of the mission and curriculum that was being planned and was immediately drawn to the School's vision and message of wisdom and compassion: love in action. I attended the first open house filled with children and their parents who were seeking a special opportunity and a place where their young ones might truly flourish. The school had no furniture, just a vision. I knew this would become an oasis in our world. I even wished to become a child again so that I might go to the Middle Way, I knew it was a special place that integrated education, spirit and a very close relationship with the earth itself.

Since then I’ve been in awe of the joyous way that the Middle Way has grown- even down to the bright and spacious new classroom buildings. On a recent visit I saw the children at their school work both indoors and out; in classroom settings or individually pursuing their mission of discovery. Quite ideal, and all orchestrated by teachers and staff who place the mission of the schools teachings and programs first.

I’m happy to support Middle Way's equity and diversity program by sponsoring tuition assistance for students of color who wish to attend the school now and into the future.”
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We ended the year with a prayer parade with more than 150 members of our community led by a bagpiper into Manjushri field where we circled up to sing the school song and LOKAH SAMASTA SUKHINO BHAVANTU. May all beings be happy and free. A spontaneous little rainbow seemed to appear above our heads. That’s @swannamac for the photo. More to come! ...

The Ravens singing to their parents during end of year picnics. Finally gathering again feels so good. ...

To introduce the Harmony unit, MWS requested a teaching from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on the how a Buddhist might approach the topic. He gave a thoughtful and sometimes surprising talk that is now available on the Middle Way Education website. Harmony is not typically a buddhist subject, it’s more rooted in the Confucian tradition but Rinpoche found links to the dharma, in particular how we should be swayed neither by individualism or nor group loyalty and to find a middle way when seeking harmony. Enjoy the talk and thank you @khyentse ! #dzongsarkhyentserinpoche #buddhisteducationforchildren @middlewayedu photo by @yoshiko.crow ...

Hello Maya in the window! How lucky were we to the be the first to host @maya.vandermeer reading her stunning new book about Kwan Yin (aka Quan Yin). The children were enthralled by the story and artwork. More photos to come. #quanyin #kwanyin #balakids #mayavandermeer ...

Interested?

Interested in enrolling? Want to learn more? Fill out this simple contact form (link below) and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Middle Way School holds regular open houses. We also can arrange individual tours. This form will automatically sign you up for important notifications regarded enrollment.

Thanks for your interest in Middle the Way School!

ORIGINS

All major religions of the world have systems of educating children in their traditions, beliefs, rituals, and values. There are maktab and madrasas for Muslims, Catholic schools, Jewish day schools, Sunday schools, Catechism classes, all kinds of afterschool programs, camps, and specialized schools meant to teach children to become the stewards of their respective religious traditions. Buddhist education for children has, for the most part, been offered to monastic communities with grassroots initiatives few and far between. Because Buddhism is not culture bound, there are few broadly accepted holidays, festivals and customs to introduce to children. Often, the transference of the Buddhist view happens in the home. Some Buddhist parents have independently created programs for children, but there is no generally accepted content or method for teaching the dharma to children.

To bridge this gap, a team of educators and active Buddhists, inspired by the vision of Bhutanese Buddhist master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche,  began exploring the possibility of creating such a model of education. It became clear that the model had to be developed in situ, in an actual school. Middle Way Education was established to spearhead this effort.

In 2017 after exploring options in Bali, Indonesia, India, and Taiwan, it was decided that the Middle Way pilot school should be located in Upstate New York. The Middle Way School opened in 2018 with 17 students in West Saugerties. In 2020 we enrolled 55 students in 6 classes.

The Hudson Valley is an ideal location for our pilot school. The welcoming and independent mindset in this area, along with supportive communities like Zen Mountain Monastery, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, Omega Institute,  and other centers of study and practice, makes this a fertile ground for a new model of education to come into being.

We hire and enroll without discriminating against any identifying factor which may include race, age, national or ethnic origin,  religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socioeconomic background. We will make accessibility accommodations for individuals with disabilities to the fullest extent possible. As an institution and as individuals we recognize that we have the responsibility to actively change the power differences that perpetuate biases against historically underrepresented groups. Our inclusion efforts are a dynamic process. We welcome your experience and invite your input on how our school community can continue to evolve.

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