In July, 2007, as part of the continuing development of The Siddhartha School (TSS), a Buddhist primary school in Lismore, Australia, the TSS team hosted Jackie Mitchell, a teacher in the elementary school and cofounder of the Shambhala School in Nova Scotia. Through the sponsorship of Khyentse Foundation, Jackie led a three-day curriculum workshop attended by TSS curriculum coordinator Phil Davis, teachers, and board members. She also met with Rinpoche to discuss and clarify the relationship between the Shambhala School and The Siddhartha School. TSS aims to open its doors in 2009, and the meeting with Jackie Mitchell will help to ensure that the school’s curriculum is ready for submission to the Australian NSW Board of Studies for approval before that time. The Shambhala School in Nova Scotia was founded in 1994 by parents in the Shambhala sangha who wanted their children’s educational experience to reflect their values as Buddhist practitioners. The approach to curriculum is based on meeting the needs of the child, not just academically, but socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The school fosters an environment where compassion and curiosity go hand in hand, and where each child is recognized for his or her unique capabilities while learning to work with others in the community. At the elementary level, the arts are integrated into the curriculum in all subjects and a thematic approach, based on cultures from around the world, gives the students an expansive world view and an appreciation of the wisdom that unites all cultures in their diverse forms. More information about the Shambhala School can be found on their web site at www.shambhalaschool.org. Team leader and Program Director Eva Thomas says that TSS’s experience with Jackie Mitchell “has been a huge help in bringing the school to the next level of formulating policies, building plans, and setting out the educational philosophy of the school.” Jackie has offered her ongoing support, primarily in the area of curriculum development, and the team hopes to send its future teachers to the Shambhala School for further training in 2008. In addition, the team was approached this year by Southern Cross University, in Lismore, to find ways that the two organizations can work together toward common goals. SCU, already in conversation with Rinpoche and Vajradhara Gonpa, is working to create a Buddhist studies course at the university. (While he was in Australia in June of this year, Rinpoche gave a talk to introduce the Buddhist perspective series at SCU, slated to be an ongoing program at the university.) SCU is interested in working together with TSS in areas such as curriculum development and environmental education, as well as sharing facilities, computer resources, and outdoor space. The university has already donated a room to house the monthly children’s day program that began in 2003. To read more about The Siddhartha School, and for information about how you can offer support, visit www.thesiddharthaschool.org.au.