At Ananda Village we seek to spiritualize the raising of children, as we do all aspects of our life. There are very few things that can teach selfless service and unconditional love like raising a child.
The community supports families with young children in a number of ways. In order to make it possible for a parent to be at home with a small child, community fees are reduced for families with children of preschool age. As children mature, they are included in community events. Often the beginning of a community program or celebration is geared toward families with young children. During holidays and celebrations, a special Sunday Service is held that includes families, where children of all ages are welcome. Spiritual values are taught through music, story telling, dramatic skits, and ceremonies. During the regular weekly Sunday Service there is Sunday School and childcare for children 4 to 8.
Living Wisdom Schools
The practical expression of spiritual education has long been a priority of Ananda Village. Ananda opened its first school in the early 1970’s. Now called Living Wisdom schools, they help develop all sides of our children – not just the intellect. Yogananda said, “Environment is stronger than will power.” We feel it is important that school, family, and community work together to provide a safe, uplifting environment for children. Children are encouraged to participate in community work days. Service projects are a regular part of the school curriculum.
Learn more about education at Ananda Village…
One of the unique benefits of raising children at Ananda Village is that the children are surrounded by caring, friendly adults who know them, often taking an active role in working with, mentoring and caring for them. Many adults and teens are active in mountain biking, skiing, rock-climbing, backpacking, hiking, and canoeing. Children have many adult relationships beyond just their immediate family. Their teachers are also fellow community residents, and often family friends. An Ananda child commented that friends he met in college were amazed by the strength and depth of relationships he had with adults who were not his parents.
Positive Teen Years
The community tries to inspire teens to participate positively in community life – rather than focusing on rules and requirements. We have found that teen energy remains most positive when it is challenged and directed in active ways. To that end, teen programs in the high school are built around service, adventure and self-discovery. Teens are encouraged to pursue individual interests and expertise, often with an adult community member as a mentor. Teens have many opportunities to participate in music and drama, either in the schools, or by participating in the very active musical and artistic life of the community.
Teens are also challenged to take responsibility for part of their tuition if they attend the community’s junior high and high school. The money they earn goes to help pay for annual adventure trips around the world. Prior trips have been to Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, India, Hawaii, the Southwest and the East Coast. Whenever possible, the Village employs teens to help in the market, with landscaping, mowing lawns, cleaning the community center, trash and recycling, web site design, data entry and the jewelry business. Many teens also run their own child care and babysitting businesses, landscape maintenance businesses, and provide moving help.
Note — The community does have a strict policy on drug and alcohol use among children. No use is tolerated on or off the property. Abuse of this rule can result in the whole family being asked to leave the community. (Adults, as well, are enjoined from alcohol and drug use.)
College and Beyond
Most children raised at Ananda Village go on to college and find that their education, and other experiences gained at Ananda Village, allow them to excel in the college environment. Many children who go on to college remark on how much more mature and grounded they found themselves to be than their fellow students. Many children raised at Ananda also shine academically, are accepted to prestigious schools, and qualify for academic and other scholarships.
Some children raised at Ananda Village decide to make Ananda their home. Those who do must make the same commitment to the core spiritual values and directions that guide the community, and they must go through the same membership process as any other adult. Those children who do not choose to make Ananda their home are, nonetheless, often seen at community events when visiting their Ananda parents – many with children of their own.
Now that Ananda has been a home to children for over 45 years, we can see, and appreciate, the distinctive qualities of maturity, openness and awareness which are shared by the adults who were raised as children at Ananda Village. While only some children choose to make Ananda their home as adults, all of them have been positively affected by their experience.
Join Us for Family Activities
Our Family Ministry occasionally plans special activities such as family gatherings, kirtans (devotional chanting), potlucks, crafts and service projects. Please contact Bhaktimarg Goering at [email protected] or (530) 478-7500 x7004 to find out what’s happening.