Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lightly I fly when I live in laughter

Have you ever had the experience of being with a young child when they were able to witness a butterfly for the first time? For the young child a beautiful butterfly represents freedom, lightness, transformation and an exhilarating openness of spirit. Their whole body awareness changes and their body energies begin to match that of the butterfly. Their eyes light up and with their own beings they experience joy. Very often children will pretend to fly immediately, swooping to catch the butterfly barehanded or to watch where he may softly land. What is it about these small creatures that frees our children from any cares in the world to experience oneness with an insect’s spirit?
 Each summer I have the extreme pleasure of writing spiritual curriculum for the Ananda Yoga Day Camp sponsored by the Living Wisdom School of Seattle.  The Ananda Yoga Day camp is held on the grounds at the AnandaCommunity in Lynnwood, Washington. This year, my eleventh year of working at the camp, one of the residents at the Ananda Community asked me if I thought the children would like to have the opportunity of experiencing a labyrinth walk. We both had to think about how we could "playfully" provide a meaningful inner experience for them. Our minds resonated with transformations and butterflies. How then would we use the labyrinth to provide a direct experience of beauty and transformation—the theme for the day—based on the flow learning techniques taught through the Education for Life principles?
We opened the day with our daily yoga class, focusing on inner transformation. One of my favorite affirmations to share is, “I radiate love and good will to soul friends everywhere.” As we said this affirmations we focused on our friends from past, present and future. 
Another favorite is: "Strength and courage fill my body cells. Joy descends to me."
After our yoga class we heard a short story from a guest speaker. She told us about the history of labyrinths and the ancient methodology that people practiced while walking the labyrinths. We reverently took the children up to the spot where the labyrinth had been built.
Each child was asked to select something in nature that they could offer at the center altar as a symbol of energy, beauty and transformation. We selected three children at a time to walk the labyrinth.
At the altar, I carefully wrapped each of the children in their own cocoon. They then turned and walked back out the way they came. During this time we also had one of our camp counselors playing a brass singing bowl. All was still, peaceful, and extremely loving.
After each child walked the labyrinth, the children were also invited to make their own finger labyrinths. During our afternoon activities the children had the opportunity to take their cocoon and transform it into their own individual butterfly wings. The children and adults all dyed the cocoons.

Transformation, spirituality, and beauty take many forms. Our children were able to experience the playful spirit of the butterfly as they danced though the playgrounds in the woodland forests on that warm summer day.


  1. This is beautiful, Chandi! I love seeing your creativity - those kids are lucky to have you as a teacher.

  2. Did you build this labyrinth? I have been wanting to add one to our backyard, but haven't figured out the best materials!


Please add your comments. Thank you.