The Chapel Hill Zen Center Children’s Program includes short lessons on Zen teachings such as mindfulness, ethics, compassion, and interconnectedness. We also practice mindful movement and sitting and walking meditation, offer each other tea, chant short sutras, and sound bells, and work on arts and crafts related to the teachings. The Children’s Program is open to people from all traditions, and parents of children in the program are not required to be members of the CHZC. However, parents are encouraged to become involved in the Zen Center as a way to support their children’s practice.

Mission Statement of the Children’s Program

  • To offer children a space and time where they can practice living mindfully and well through programmed activities
  • To introduce children to Zen concepts and Buddhist history and teachings, as well as providing a place for them in the Zen Center Sangha
  • To enable parents to do Zazen in the zendo while their children are participating in the Children’s Program

2015-16 Theme

The theme this year will be awareness and mindfulness. We will emphasize experiential, nonverbal practices such as sitting, walking, yoga and body movement, crafts, ritual (ringing the bells, bowing, etc.), and games.

2016 Calendar 

The program begins at 9:00 AM, so it’s a good idea to come a bit earlier to allow time for the children to take off jackets and shoes and settle in (thus, the 8:50 AM suggested arrival time).

  • February 21 2016, 8:50am – 11:00am
  • March 6 2016, 8:50am – 11:00am
  • March 20 2016, 8:50am – 11:00am
  • April 3 2016, 8:50am – 11:00am
  • April 17 2016, 8:50am – 11:00am
  • May 8 2016, 8:50am – 11:00am
  • May 22 2016, 8:50am – 11:00am
  • June 5 2016, end-of-year picnic (stay tuned!)

Joining the Program

All children age four upward are welcome to the Chapel Hill Zen Center’s children’s program. If you’d like your child or children to attend, it’s helpful if you contact the program coordinator beforehand, and fill out and sign an application form for each child. You can also mail or email the form. You can download the registration form here. The program is free, but a donation of about $5 per class is suggested, to cover the cost of snacks and materials.

Attendance and Drop-In Policy

Children enrolled in the program don’t have to come to every session, but please let us know before each session if your child will attend. We plan our lessons and snacks based on who is coming, and how many will be there.


The main means of communication among the parents and the teachers is an internal mailing list, which you can join if you decide you like the program. The list is moderated, so the coordinators must send you an email invitation to join the mailing list. Please contact the program coordinators with any questions and concerns. We welcome your suggestions.

Program Coordinators 2015-16

Maura High, Children’s Program Coordinator
919-929-9523 (home) 919-265-7045 (cell)

Lance and Andrea Ashdown, Program Assistants
919-240-7139 (home)