Path of Mindful Parenting and Family Life

with Rob Ley, Shastri Marita McLaughlin, Donna Mandel, Jill Spielfogel

February 10th—March 10th

Date details +
  • $90 Program Price
  • Pay What You Can Afford
Room: West Loop Shambhala Center, 37 N. Carpenter St.

Mindful Parenting Class

The responsibilities of parenting often challenge us with fears from our past and hopes for the future. The sometimes-conflicting demands of children, personal aspirations, and relationships with partners and other people important to us, can feel overwhelming. Through mindfulness, we touch into our innate wisdom and learn to relax with things as they are. The ability to appreciate the present moment allows space for humor and joy in our relationships and everyday lives.

-- Taught by Marita McLaughlin and Jill Spielfogel

Mindfulness Class for Children

This class will introduce children to the fundamentals of mindfulness, and includes short meditation exercises, movement, and creative projects. Weekly topics include stabilizing the mind, finding peace within, mindful communication, and gratitude.

Two groups for children meet during this time. One class will be offered for children ages 5-7, and another will be offered for children ages 8-13.

-- Taught by Rob Ley and Donna Mandel


The series of five sessions:


$90/family (Two classes: Parents' class + Children's class)

$50/single (One class: Parents' class only, or Children's class only). **Please choose the PAY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD option for the single class**


Teacher Bios

Children's class:

Rob Ley is a fourth grade teacher at University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and has been a member of Chicago Shambhala center for three years. Rob believes that mindfulness is an act of curiosity and can help everyone - especially children and families - realize their full potential. He completed training with Mindful Schools and also trained with Daniel Rechtschaffen of Mindful Education. Rob currently teaches mindfulness to Lab school students and uses his personal practice to support the work he does in the classroom and surrounding community.

Donna Mandel is a choreographer and state certified early childhood educator. She has served on the faculty of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and First United Nursery School in Oak Park. She is currently a consultant in dance and arts integration with the Chicago and Winnetka Public Schools. While serving as artistic co-director of Fluid Measure Performance Company, she worked under the auspices of numerous venues, including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Erickson Institute. As a long-time practicing Buddhist, Donna has joyfully integrated mindfulness and awareness practices into her dance and arts curriculum for both children and adults.

Parents' Class:

Marita McLaughlin, honored to be the mother of her 39-year-old son, continues to enjoy and learn from their parent-child relationship, a source of great joy.  The path of mindful parenting has supported her development of patience and genuine generosity without attached strings of expectation. With degrees in Family Studies and Counseling Psychology she is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and an integrative therapist in private practice. A student of buddhadharma since 1976, in 2010 she was appointed to the position of shastri, senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition.

Jill Spielfogel practiced meditation and studied Buddhism for a decade before becoming a parent. The birth of her son piqued her interest in understanding how the wisdom of the teachings she had received could be used to create more authentic, harmonious family relationships. Through her own joys and struggles as a parent, she began to see the path of parenting as a powerful opportunity for meeting her own awakened heart and mind, and sought to work with other parents to deepen an understanding of parenting as a path of awakening. She has a doctoral degree in Social Service Administration and is a policy researcher with a focus on family support programs.