Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year: 2012

In order to capture 2011, I wanted to share it in some of my photos. May the light and joy of this year, carry all of us into the new year with a greater source of determination, courage and joy.

I was able to spend Christmas with two of my dearest friends from our early years at the Living Wisdom School.  The picture on the left is in 2006. The boys were in their first year of Kindergarten and the picture on the right is now in fifth grade. The boys live in different states.  Until August of 2011, they were in different countries. This was a lovely reunion for us all.

This is an arrangements of highlights: I was able to take two healing vacations to Washington's lavender festival and to our special retreat home in Palm Springs,California. I started my blog this past summer and the other photo was taken in my class from early 2011.

My husband and I moved upstairs from our home after 17 years in the Ananda Community.
High tea with my students at the end of the school year!
                                                       Remembering our dear friends

Our fourth and six graders at the Honda dealer showing them their electric car they built.
Fall Basil Harvest. The best basil I have ever cooked with.

Our first Labyrinth walk at Yoga Camp

Swimming at Yoga Camp with new friends

May we all be connected in love as we enter into 2012 together.

Happy New Year .

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Accepting a moment in Divine Gratitude

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a short entry about my new approach to the holiday season. I wanted to let you know that I am still slowing down and taking a day at a time. The world is speeding up and I have to constantly remind myself that in order to experience each moment I have to remain centered. Living at my center comes from my daily practice of meditation and prayer life.  I had a small break in my holiday schedule and was able to relax and catch up on some reading this afternoon.

This video was sent to me on Facebook a few weeks ago by my dear friend Julie Szybz from Hopscotch Photography.  Timing is everything and low and behold, I found this today. This film is like a walking meditation of gratitude as we remind ourselves about daily reconnecting to this inner awareness of life. It is truly timing and beautiful.  I hope you can take a moment of gratitude to watch it.

May your holiday season be filled with divine gratitude in every moment. 

Many Blessings,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Festivals of the Light

 Today was our last day together in Preschool before our holiday break at the Living Wisdom School. 
Our winter snow altar in our classroom.
 The time for celebrating our world cultures and festivals goes by so quickly each year. I never want it to end. There is something so beautiful and captivating with the early dark evenings and all the lights that adorn the suburban neighborhoods.  I love all the illuminate lights and sharing the "Festivals of the Light"  from around the globe that start in early November with Diwali.

Diwali pinch pots with olive oil to light the lamps. 
Yesterday one of our Mothers in our classroom came to share her experiences as a child and the celebration of Hanukkah. All the children listened tentatively and quietly. They also were about to sample many new delicacies from the Hebrew tradition. We heard new songs, prayers and of course played the Dreidel game. 

Chocolate Yiddish Gelt used in the Dreidel game


These were the little blocks that the children made for their family trees. On each side was a different symbol of love, gifts and with radiant stars of the season. 

His Christmas tree on his package for his Mom . We made many crafts with Christmas trees. Christmas trees first originated in Germany. I share the traditions each year from Germany since I was born there.

This is a double sided felted Christmas tree . The pieces are glued together with a yarn in between the layers, to hang on the tree. We used 'tacky" glue.  The sequins were the lights on our trees.  Very easy for Preschoolers. They love it.
May this season of light radiate your heart and may we share it with all whom we meet.

Many Blessings,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thy winter night bestowing; Saint Lucia Day

Saint Lucia,
Thy light is flowing.
Through darkest winter night bestowing.

Author unknown

 Today, December 13 is Lucia Day and the longest night of the year. This is a celebration we do every year in my classroom and it is one of the festivals of the light.  Lucia seems to have taken on many stories passed down over generations but above all, the more positive role, as a symbol of light in the dark Swedish winters and as a symbol of growth for man. She is a figure who emerged from obscurity at a time when light and nourishment were most needed.

The girls who are selected in cities all around Sweden are voted into this role. They wear the cedar wreath made of real candles and white gowns adorned with tied red ribbons. The young girls participate in local ceremonies, church and village functions. In their individual homes the eldest girl is selected to carry out the role of St. Lucia. The family prepares saffron buns and she rises to serve their families.  Traditional St. Lucia carols are sung. The angelic tone of children's voices and the gentle glow of candlelight make this day an emotive one.

Today, we selected our St. Lucia since she was the eldest girl in our classroom of six girls.  She wore a cedar wreath adorned with soft flannel candles, a white gown and a red sash. The boys wore white hats and carried star wands.

  I was delighted so see the calmness and acceptance that the children displayed this morning. The children took turns while helping to ice all the cinnamon buns and  then served them to the whole school before receiving one for themselves. We sang soft Christmas carols as we walked through our school halls. The children were joyful and eager to help St. Lucia when we walked through the school dispensing our festive buns. 

How often do you see such maturity from Preschool children?  They waited until all had been served before they had the opportunity to eat these delectables.

May the light of this holy season radiate love and goodwill to soul friends throughout the world.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Away in a Manger

“Children and Festivals around the World”

Our focus in the curriculum for December is the cultures, children and festivals taken from around the world. 
In chatting with my group it has been sometime since I have actually told the story about the baby Jesus and why we celebrate Christmas. In a private school we are able to tell these spiritual stories. One of the little girls in my class loves to sing: "Away in the Manager" so that is where I started last week
 Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 intending thereby to cultivate the worship of Jesus Christ. 

Many Christian traditions celebrate this every Christmas. 

Away in a manger
No crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head

The stars in the sky
Looked down where he lay
The little Lord Jesus a sleep on the hay...

Making our manger scene

Today we were acting out the play together. It was a very sweet time. 
We had two Mary's today.

The baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.

They made the basket cradle for the baby. The sheep are looking on. 

The morning continued with acting out the story with figurines and natural lavender play-dough. 
Creating this creche scene together brought out such sweetness in the children.  Using natural materials also brings forth the calming spirit in the young child.

Joy to the world the Lord has come
This was a show and tell nativity scene from one of our classmates. 

Let heaven and nature sing, let heaven and nature sing, let heavn and heaven, and nature sing. 


New approach this holiday season

The other day I was chatting with a friend and she was asking about a couple of dates coming up and if I had them on my calendar. Now, I just blurted out:"I don't know, I'm only looking one day at a time this Christmas." I was a little surprised at myself when I actually said this. "How can you actually do this and still stay on top of all your the responsibilities?"  A teacher's life is extremely full at this time of year. What if I forget something? What if? There are many what if's we can get tangled up in. I just wanted to take the leap this year and try something new.

I am making a very conscious peaceful decision this month to enjoy even the simple moments that Christmas has to offer. Well, my word is my bond and I do have a Blackberry that keeps me connected to the world, but I am actually putting into action my new approach this holiday season. I have, of course entered in all my critical dates first. I am being more selective in the projects that I can accomplish and those that are more time consuming. 

 I only look at my calendar in the morning after meditation and before going to work. I only look at one day at a time and remind myself that I need to be totally present in this moment. I am finding that I am more alert, joyful and I have more energy to accomplish the little things ahead of schedule. If for any reason, I have forgotten something, then actually it wasn't that important in the larger scheme of things. This weekend was a beautiful and restful time for our family. We also accomplished more.

Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle. Independently owned bookstore. One of my favorite stores.

Another practice that I enjoy during the holiday season is to shop in small local gift stores. I want to honor their businesses. I plan my shopping around short trips and I am often driving the back roads to avoid major traffic. Seattle is known for it's traffic snarls. I also get to see more of the Christmas light displays and the decorating on the nearby homes. 

One woman said to me once: "Chandi you just drive the back-roads with such ease." Well, I am not sure about that, but I love the saying that my son said to me when he was about fifteen. "Mom, all roads lead to Ananda." Ananda Community is where I have lived for the past seventeen years. It is located on 5.5 acres in Lynnwood, Washington.

Anyway, I thought to share with you my new approach this holiday season and I will keep you informed on the sweet developments.

Please leave me a comment and let's share ideas together.

Many Blessings to all during this holiday season,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mother Moon

Mother Moon

Oh mother moon
you are a full moon tonight bring me much spiritual delight.
I stand outside to catch your rays
for they bring me peace and tranquility of body and soul.
I mark your date on my calendar
and wish that your beauty will shine ever so bright
and bit be covered by clouds in the night.
I need your full moon light to enhance my being,
for your moon rays are my soul's delight.


I can't believe that it has been a month already since our last full moon party in our classroom. Since the full moon is today Saturday, we celebrated Friday in our classroom at the Living Wisdom School.  The children are delighted with this monthly ritual. 
Both of my classes were inspired to join in the fun. In the morning Preschool class we made headbands and created night sky collages. After lunch we paraded around the school for our full moon parade. It was a beautiful day with clear skies over Seattle 
The children are finishing their moon headbands. These headbands stay at school and are worn each month. They are made of soft felt and tacky glue is used to apply the embellishments.

In the afternoon Kindergarten class, I choose an activity from one of my followers: Beth a homeschooling mom,@

I had made the stages of the moon and mounted them on card stock. Each stage was numbered.
 The children and I brought our Paul Newman Mint Oreo cookies and matched each stage to the moon cards.  That was yummy and fun.

The second part of the activity was making our moon booklets. Below the moon stage cards were smaller cut out papers for the children to glue individually on each page. These moon stages were numbered to match each page in their booklet.  Now the next time I do this project, I would like to make this process a little simpler for the Kindergarten child. I would break it down in small increments over a few days. 

Ending with the Full moon

Now the fun part of this project had two perspectives that I had not actually planned. When I set the cards down on the table, we marched around the table and visually saw how the moon waxes and wanes. Also in their booklets, they are able to take the book and turn it around and watch the moon go back through the stages in the opposite direction. 

Next month, we will spend more time on the waxing and waning stages of the Moon. 

How do you ever know if you have acceived your goals in teaching to very young children? 

A child said to me today: " I am going to go home and set this in my room, so I can look at the sky each night and match my new moon booklet." 

That was a wonderful idea and one that I hadn't thought of today. 

The children can always tune us into the next step in their learning process.We just need to be open, respective and quiet enough to listen carefully. Isn't this interesting. Aren't these some of the qualities that the "Mother Moon" can reflect back to us?

May this evening moon light fill your family with deep peace, joy and understanding as we prepare for the festive holiday season approaching later this month.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Expanding children's realities through healing prayers

This past week our class has been doing morning prayers for Ashley, one of our teachers who had surgery on Monday. At the beginning of our morning routine, my class participates in " Braindance/ TM" combined with our Yoga sessions. During the first phase of the dance, the children blow up imaginary balloons. 
The first day of Ashley's surgery, we all were imagining that our balloons would be right over the hospital waiting for Ashley when she woke up. Then we imagined they were floating over her house as she arrived home. The children got so excited to feel their balloons rising every day blessing Ashley with healing energy. 
Today in class we painted the balloons and two of the little girls in the Kindergarten class finished our 3-D card for her.  
One of the cornerstone philosophies for the Living Wisdom Schools are taken from this quote below:
 "The task of education is to attract children toward maturity—that is, toward including others’ realities in their own." Education for Life written by J. Donald Walters. 
What joy filled their hearts today as they gave their card to Ashley. Our students made a major step toward expanding outside themselves and thinking of others though their simple act of healing prayers.
Something I know, some of them will never forget. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Light of Gratitude

We made this as a gratitude jar in class on Monday. It was for our children this week to drop pebbles into the jar  and express their own unique thankfulness for the many gifts in their lives. Four year olds have such keen sense of innocence. We had many sweet responses.

I am truly grateful for my life as a Living Wisdom Teacher and to be a part of my spiritual community at Ananda Seattle and the worldwide work of Ananda.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and thank you for tuning into my blog.
 What a blessing it is to share it with all of you.

May we be one in that light someday....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Come Gather Round.... It's Fall Storytime.

Come gather round, with a friend on the left
and a friend on the right,
Come gather round. ...

Its that time ..
Gather round for a fall story.

Many of us grew up with the little field mice in "Frederick" by Leo Lionni.

But in case you haven't, here is the story. I recommend the book and I will be showing you a game that I have created to go along with this story. Since the blogs this week are about fall, harvest, families and 
Stone Soup this is the one that I like to start out with in early November and read continuously through the dark winter months. 

In my classroom at the Living Wisdom School, we also spend time in November on community building while working together. This story will guide your children as you create community though your classroom. Begin reading the story to the children several times. The children can also act out the story. I like to create props and simple mouse ear costumes.

At the end of the story during morning circle time, I have each child reach into this bag and select a rock. Without peeking they feel their rock, warm it in their hand and then place it in the center of our circle. With eyes still closed, they pick up their rock. One by one, I read their qualities that have been written on each rock. Some examples are: make a new friend today, be flexible and share with a friend, be joyful today, or hug a friend today. I slowly write down each quality. During the day, I walk around the room and point out the positive signs of their behavior. At the end of the day, at our shared inspiration time in circle we all review our day once again.

How were we like Frederick in the story? Did we use our words today mindfully? Did we work together as well as the mouse family in the story?  I also acknowledge again each child and talk about how their energy matched the words on their rock that they pulled from the bag. 

The colors of the rocks are all painted the colors of fall leaves. The rocks match the colors that Frederick is talking about in the story. This creates glow in our hearts during the cloudy days of winter in Seattle. 

Happy reading until our next story time.

Blessings and gratitude,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mother Earths' showering leaves

 Autumn leaves come falling all around
Blowing colors found in mother earths' bounty,
Take a deep breath and feel her color magic

At a blink of an eye the colors will crinkle
Showering you with her glowing cosmic blanket sprinkle ...

This was the "lone" leaf craft  that was left in the classroom this week and I love how it shows up against my classroom window. Light and beauty play such an important role in my early childhood classroom. Children flourish with vivid natural light, fresh air and colors. 

This is a quick entry to let you know my husband and I drew the winner of our "giveaway" drawing this evening for the Calm and Compassionate book by: Susan Usha Dermond.  

Thank you all who visited and shared your love and blessings through email, Facebook, Twitter and direct comments. This was fun. I will have to do this again.

I am so pleased  and excited to announce that Sally Haughey is the winner from Fairy Dust Teaching. Sally is a National Board Certified Teacher and has been Waldorf Kindergarten trained. Sally lives in Oklahoma. Its far away from Washington but Sally is a kindred soul. I met Sally by reading her inspirational blog and now I have taken two of her online courses for parents and educators.

Congratulations Sally! You bless so many teachers with your inspiration of joy. It is fitting that Divine Mother is showering you today. 

Have a nice fall weekend, as we all prepare for our bountiful Thanksgiving of gratitude.