Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"

Monday, February 27, 2012

Two more days to enter for the CD giveaway.

Just a reminder we have two more days for our  CD giveaway, Sail Away by Eva Tree. 
 Thank you for your lovely comments and feedback.

 Please enter by writing your comments below. 


Friday, February 24, 2012

Heart and hands connected.

Handiwork and sewing have been important activities in my kindergarten and
preschool classroom this month.

About a year ago, I read an inspiring blog piece on handiwork for the young
child.  I want to connect you with her post from January 2011
 It is from : Fairy Dusting and Sally Haughey.

This was the first stage of our pillows

This pillow is almost completed pillow.
Here is the Kindergarten project we worked on together for our last full
moon day celebration.  These are moon pillows.  Each child individually wet
felted their own moon by using roving wool.  We then attached it very
carefully with felting needles to a piece of prepared felt.  The children
then sewed the two felt pieces together and we filled each one with rice.

When the moon pillows are warmed for 15 seconds in a microwave, the children can use
them in their coat pockets on cold winter day or at night tucked
under their blankets for a gentle night's sleep.

In the preschool classroom we completed our Valentine's hearts. During the process of completing both of these projects, I had the opportunity to
connect individually with each child.  Handiwork for the child can deepen the child's level of concentration and focus; it also challenges their willpower to complete something 

they are truly proud of. 

 Try some sewing projects with your child . These were delightful.

Monday, February 20, 2012

We will live in joy! Free CD giveaway.

 Living Wisdom Kindness Quilt and our bird biscuits.

 This has been a full week of inspiration with love in my classroom and
through the halls at the Living Wisdom School.

I had a hard time just finishing up on all our projects each day.  So,
in other words, it was a Valentine's week in my class. 

In the spirit of love and inspiration, I want to acknowledge one of our parents at the Living Wisdom School.
Eva Tree is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has a warm tone of complexity
and sings sweet heart-yearning melodies. 

I had asked Eva to write a song for my class this year that would express the warmth of being kind in the classroom.  Eva wrote a song, then came into the class to teach all of us.  We have been singing it ever since.  A magical aura of love emanates though the room while we sing.

During the week prior to Valentine's Day, I had an idea to create a game that I saw last summer.  I wish to give the credit to the teacher in Vancouver that first thought of this project, so I pinned on one of my "Pinterest" boards.

The game is as follows:  When a teacher or staff member notices a child being
kind, or displaying friendship, the child is given a heart to color for our "all school" art quilt.  The hearts will be attached together as a large quilt in the main entry of the Living Wisdom School for all to see.

At Valentine's Day, in a classroom setting, we want to expand the children's
love, and guide them toward a larger reality of sharing love to all. This can
be in the classroom, school setting, community, and also in nature.

This valentine project was designed to share the song and blessing for all within the
whole school.  I created a game that all the children and staff can
participate in.
We found through the week that the environment at school was benefited
when we all participated together.

An extra special valentine gift in celebration of love has been donated.
Eva will be giving one of her CD's on this blog site.

Please comment below and I will enter you in the drawing.  (I will include
the name her etc and link.)    

The drawing will be made on February 29, leap

Let's all share our love this month and all live in joy.

Recipe for Bird Biscuits at the top

3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons of dry yeast
4 cups of whole wheat flour

4 teaspoons of salt
1/3 cup oil or butter, or margarine
3 cups additional whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour for kneading

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in sweetening and dry milk. Stir in 4 cups of whole wheat flour to form thick batter.
Beat well with a wooden spoon
Let rise 45 minutes
Fold in the salt and oil.
Fold in additional 3 cups of flour until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead on a floured surface until smooth. 
Let rise for 50 minutes. Punch down. Should be doubled in bulk
Punch down. 
Now is the time to have each child shape some rolls for them selves. Let rise about 10 minutes. Cook at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Now take the remainder of the dough and add bird seeds. Need the seeds into the dough. Cut the dough into heart shapes. Cook about 10 minutes.
After they are cooked for 15 or 20 minutes cool them. The birds don't mind if they are hard.
Now take a darning needle and embroidery thread. Sew the garlands by stringing several hearts together in a garland.  Individual help may be needed if the children have a hard time sewing the needle through the bread.
 " Be kind to the birds". All the birds are loving the bird biscuits. Happy Valentines month.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our love from the heart.

A day in photos. 

The Queen of hearts made some tarts on Valentines Day.
The knight of hearts stole the tarts and took them all away.
Where did the hearts go?

We had a great day in the Nora's Preschool class with all our friends. 
Hey, where are you going with those tarts?

All the tarts were shared with all our friends at Living Wisdom School. 

Happy Valentines Day

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dancing in thy light

Our new rainbow maker. Uses stored solar energy to turn the crystal that send rainbows though the whole classroom.
We have been exploring in our classroom new ways of using light. We just received a new rainbow maker in our class for Christmas. This has been so much fun. The solar energy is stored through the light shield,  thus in turn propels the motor, that turns the crystal at the bottom, which creates our rainbows. Wow. We have rainbows all though our classroom. It has been so warm and sunny this week in Seattle. We are blessed to have dancing rainbows on the ceilings and floor. It feels so good!  Sometimes I just look up and breath in the beauty with all the sparkling colors. I can imagine the memories that this is creating for my students.
The rainbows are hard to catch from ceiling to floor. 
Another area that we have been exploring is the light reflected in rocks and crystals. We are gathering rocks to build a rock garden soon in our playground area.

These are the rocks that we collected this week. We were washing them, sorting them by colors, size and what type of rocks. 
 I also love to teach children all about crystals, light, healing and energy. We have a crystal basket where all the crystals are arranged in a display like a color wheel. I use the color wheels in many different situations. I like our room to be arranged with rainbows of colors and light. 

This is a beautiful book written by Peggy Christian about how to find a rock. We read this for our morning circle time and then went outside to explore all the many different rocks we could find. 

To conclude today was our full moon party and we created pastel moonlight paintings.The children had a wonderful time making them and they turned out beautiful.

It never fails me how children spark my imagination as a teacher. They also just seem to know my favorite subjects to teach. I love beauty, calmness and light in the early childhood classroom.  

 You might try some of these projects and let me know how it is going in your home or classroom.
Joy to you

Friday, February 3, 2012

" A week together"

 Many times I have been asked about the philosophy at our Living Wisdom School and how this compares to other systems of teaching. I want to draw you to an excellent article that was written on our Living Wisdom Website. It compares Waldorf and Montessori education along with the Education for Life system.

Mostly in this blog I am focusing on Early Childhood education and the Foundation years though the Education for Life systematic approach. 

Today's set of photos above were taken throughout last week and the overall approach towards balancing all aspects of a young child's life in each lesson.

The foundation years from 0 – 6 years old are a critical period in the development of a child’s life. During this time, a child’s attitude about the world takes root.  Our job is to carefully nurture qualities of curiosity, sensory awareness, concentration, and compassion so that the children may feel a deep sense of acceptance towards themselves.  By focusing on mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of development, we foster the child’s cognitive and physical growth while strengthening the inner qualities of love, kindness and joy. In this way, the children naturally develop a sense of inner happiness and success.

 Teaching math using the Physical body.

The children are all turning 4 in my classroom and love playing games together. 

   The foundation years are also called, the physical years. During this period the children learn through through movement and their bodies. This particular activity we were using dice and cubes. Though on occasion there were fun times where the dice ended up way across the room. Then carefully carried the dice back and counted the dots on the dice.
This game corresponded with number recognition and one to one counting.
The children counted their dots on the dice and then counted out individual unifix cubes. The unifix cubes are shown in the picture above.   After counting correctly their cubes, they would manipulate, put into patterns and long towers. For some of the children they moved continuously as they counted the dots. That was the main reason for doing this project on the floor. One of the students was so visual that he could just open his hand and grab the amount automatically from the pile.  
This game gave me some further insight into which students were my visual learners, which were my physical learners, and which children were practicing using their will to make the largest tower.  There are many levels to the game, but today we started out with a simple counting game. The next level is to teach patterns and adding two dice together. 
In my classroom I set my goals for drawing out certain inner qualities that the children can experience from each lesson. Today the lesson was calling forth patience and cooperation in waiting for their turn. 

Teaching Art through Feeling and Will Power During the Physical  Years. 

Art is another way the children can get in touch with their hearts and inner feeling during the physical years.   In January I like to focus on helping the children to expand their own realities out in nature with a sense of wonder.  It is one of my favorite times of the year with many beautiful memories.

Often I ask the children, "What is happening to the animals in the wintertime?"
It is one of my favorite times of the year with many beautiful memories.
I have explored with children the wonder of the bald eagles, beavers, northwest owls and crows. Working with young children you just never know what might happen or which animal calls to their inner natures.
 This is the picture book that I use every year to introduce the concepts of habitats, animals, humans, weather and food. The children love the story, Stranger in the Woods.

This week we finished  creating our felted animal masks. Each child made a different animal from the winter forest in the picture book. We play several games using our masks, creating stories and homes for the animals.

Teaching art through the feeling and the use of their own will power.
 In the picture above selected a winter animal picture that was clipped beside their poster paper. They began drawing with a pencil the animal that that they had chosen. (There are several steps leading up to this assignment. The children the week before had really practiced their circle drawings.)

They mixed their own colors using a color wheel and added texture to their backgrounds using sponges or several types of brushes. This particular activity is a way to balance the heart's natural love for animals. If a child becomes agitated at any particular moment, we change directions or complete the painting the next day. But even if it takes several days, I always want the children to finish a painting project.  Will Power is taught at an early age to develop persevering and to conclude something that one has initially attempted. As children grow older I talk to them about how many master artists work on more than one painting at a time and may work for months and years to complete one painting.

There is a deep profound lesson that I have seen over the past 7 years that I have taught children how to use their own will power to achieve something that they have started.  It is amazing and brings tears to my eyes each time. Each one of these young children has such intelligence and wonder they can access if we can just begin to grasp their attention and guide them through the process of becoming self-achievers. In this activity, they often break through their own fears and explore deep within themselves the ability to achieve what they set their minds to do. 

Feeling inner joy

On this particular morning, our hearts were open to creating snowmen.  It was our first day back from school after a Northwest winter snow storm. This particular morning we shared many snow family stories and had a joyful time with our winter play dough.  This exercise was also taken from our picture story book, "Who's hiding in the woods."
"Joy doesn't come from outside myself but from within oneself." These children were feeling their inner joy today.
Teaching Gratitude, Detachment to any Certain Outcome and Will Power 
during the Physical Years.

The last activity I want to share with you today for children in the physical years is a game to help them flow with the ups and downs of life, learning perseverance, gratitude and detachment from any certain outcome. This was the first time I had actually done this particular game using puzzles. I had for many years done it with art materials, but now I thought to experiment with puzzles. One of our inner qualities we are addressing this month is perseverance.

I set out six puzzles for six children. We started to play soft music in the background. They quickly began to focus in on completing their own puzzle. When the music stopped, they were to stop and go to their neighbor’s chair and complete their puzzle. When they finished a puzzle, they could dump it out and start over.  This was interesting to watch the children. Some of them completed their own puzzle quickly and were eager to get to the next station. Others did not want to move, or complete the game at all. Two children ran around the table after most of the children had left, eager to complete all the puzzles while helping each other. One student wanted me to take photos of him with all his puzzles to show his mom how well he had completed them.

It was a joyful experiment for me to watch and to observe each child. As a teacher, I am always looking for ways to help children uplift their feeling energy.  I often have the time to ask myself during a planned activity, "Where are their strengths and how can I build upon those strengths?"

Education for Life philosophy has given me the tools to tune into each individual child’s energy and readiness and respond sensitively at any given moment. This sensitivity is particularly important during the physical years, so I am truly humbled and grateful to be able to use such an effective philosophy.