Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Once upon a time in a land far, far, away.....

 One main focus of this blog is to mention some favorite books I have found over the years.  I’ll write each Friday about the spiritual gems contained in them.

Often  I have been asked by educators and parents how to teach spiritual truths to young children. My background has brought a rich love of books, treasures and memories.  I find that reading is an easy place to begin to awaken the enthusiasm in a young child.  Reading to our children, students and grandchildren is a timeless experience.  Through reading we can explore and create imaginary worlds, and experience within the deepest part of ourselves that which creates an inner world of deep meaning, love and truth.

When working with children's literature there, are many ways to deeply look at the contents of a story.  I love large formatted picture books, but with our culture turning into more visual stimulus for children , I now lean towards not always showing the pictures, but weaning the children into closing their eyes and imagining what the story might look like. This can happen even at the early age of four. I also want to build children’s comprehension and hands on the literacy, an approach used today in alternative education.

The next stage after reading a story would be to act out the story through puppet shows, felt pieces or with a child’s whole being. These timeless stories have the children ask again and again for the opportunity to re-enact them in class.

Today's book review is Pinduli,  by Janell Cannon.

Janell Cannon  is famous for her illustrations. Her very familiar, award-winning book Stellaluna  has sold over 500,000 copies. It was on the bestseller list for more than two years.

Pindulu takes place in Africa savanna and is about a little hyena and his mother. An expression of love is shown throughout the story, as Pindulu’s mother assures her how beautiful she is. However, Pindulu finds out early that the animals in the savanna have a different view of her big ears, fuzzy mane, and wiggly stripes.  Through a chain of events, Pindulu finds that she just wants to hide and return home to the safety of her mother. She decides to cover her fur with pale dust.  On her way home the animals think she's an evil spirit, or a ghost who's come for revenge. This is my favorite part of the story: Pinduli convinces all the animals to make up for their harsh lashings.   The story reveals many spiritual truths about choosing your words carefully, friendship, anger and talking harshly to others.

I love this book, and have used it in many settings from kindergarten to sixth grade. As an educator, I will select this story if I need reinforcement to drive home lessons about circumstances that may have happened on the playground or the classroom.  I like to make up games to enhance the spiritual points in the story. This is also one of my favorite stories about teaching children the law of magnetism and the secrets of friendship. Loyalty, kindness, acceptance, and appreciation of others are all high ideals we want to instill in our children.  This story can help in that endeavor.

I have had the wonderful opportunity for the past 17 years to work with Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle, a spiritual, independent bookshop that is able to order books, make suggestions, and serve as a guiding light in selecting high quality spiritual books for children and families.  We are very fortunate to have such a quality store that is in tune with the principles of our Living Wisdom School. Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle will order any book that you might need in a timely fashion and offer you the opportunity to browse through books in their family section. It has a warm, nurturing environment that will welcome you home to the magnetism of spirit, beauty and truth.

Happy reading, friends…until next Friday. 

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