Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Divine Mother's Everywhere

 At the Living Wisdom School, the Month of May is a tribute to our Mothers.
About 8 years ago I began the tradition in our school of honoring our mothers, as a way of providing a platform for the children to express their love on Mother’s Day. 


Each year the children meticulously draw their moms’ portraits for our

 “Hall of Mothers". 

They also participated in a classroom interview, answering questions such as, “How did God make mothers?”; “If you could change anything about your mom, what would it be?”; and, “What are moms made of?” The questions always draw delightful smiles and insights into the child’s inner life.

Quiet moment reading the interview questions.

 The children in my classroom spend the week preparing the menu for the Mother’s Day Tea, practicing the songs that we will sing during our all-school performance, making delightful gifts, and practicing the art of manners and serving their mothers first at the tea table.

Serving our Mother's
Preparing our salad for the Mother's Day Tea

All the children singing at the Mother's Day Tea

 For the first time this year, we set up a photo booth so that moms could have their photos taken with their children. 

I am hoping that the joy and vibration from our simple event touched all of our divine mothers everywhere. 

Aum, Namaste.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Come Gather Round

Today's story is one that we read during our recent "Frog" theme.

This is a short fable written by Parmahansa Yogananda.
 It is a delightful tale about will power, perseverance and never giving up. 

We acted this story out during class. This is the two frogs in a pale of milk
Pond and Frog Yoga tales

Someone just posted this delightful video on Facebook that I wanted to share with you.  My children in our classroom love telling this story several times in a day.

 This is fun!

Until next time. 
Curl up with a your child and read a good spiritual story with purpose.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's Springtime, It's Springtime and Mother Nature sings

We are having a particularly glorious spring this year in the Pacific Northwest.
When the flowers begin to bud and the ground begins to swell with warmth, an inner glow also becomes apparent in all of us. I was raised here in Seattle, and over time the winter months have become longer, with an added gray cloud cover that never seems to clear. But our weather reports this spring are unusual in that they refer to a strange phenomenon called: sun breaks.  So you see, sometimes we just begin to feel the expansion of moving out of our homes and dig our hands in the soil or just listen to the returning sweet song birds in the trees.
I too have been away from my computer and spending more of my time with several large projects that take me outside in the fresh air.

In my Living Wisdom Classroom we have covered several new units this spring and also rekindled our annual events, the Mother’s Day Tea and our Living Wisdom Joyathan.
It would take weeks to describe all our daily activities to you in detail.  That means I will have some nice events to write on this summer, when school is not in session.

(Double click on photo to see all the projects)

But for now, let me say that we began the month with flowers and frogs.

When you first look at this, it might seem like a patented preschool education prescription for teaching--focus on words that begin with “F”--but honestly, this didn’t occur to me at all.  I choose my own curriculum by the energy of the students, looking at what will uplift them, along with the rhythm of what is happening right outside our classroom window. All too often a typical Early Childhood curriculum talks only to the intellect.  It doesn’t take into an account the child’s feeling nature and physical components. Too often we talk, talk, and talk with young children, when what they need are need “direct experiences”.  I have found, by working spiritually with young children that they already know much of what I am trying to teach to them.  I have witnessed that learning is for many an act of remembering.  They already know almost everything you are educating them about. It is a profound truth for me, this an awakening of the young soul. It is an awakening and remembering from the past. I don’t like to purchase online curricula. What I want to share with the children in my classroom are truths that are a part of their everyday world.   Some subjects that will educate children for a lifetime include: how to be a true friend, how to work harmoniously with others, how to show compassion, how to be calm in a hectic world, and how to find true happiness within their own being. These are my goals as an Education for Life Teacher.
I chose to focus on flowers and frogs this month for the expansion that I sensed that these subjects could bring to a child’s soul. So often we see children picking dandelions in the grass and making a bouquet for their mothers, or witness their delight in finding new flowers that they have never seen before in the organic gardens at our Living Wisdom School.

When we studied frogs, we were able to go out and look for them in a nearby stream.  We made frog habitats, drew their life cycles, created three-dimensional models of frogs, painted original stories about frogs, and stimulated learning with acting out stories from the classic, Frog and Toad, tales about true friendship by Arnold Lobel. The time in my classroom is both teacher and child directed. Notice I didn’t mention anything about teaching letters. Children can learn these from their parents or grandparents in a family setting. The classroom activities are rich with play, art and creativity to uplift the child’s soul.
These simple truths open their hearts in love for the experience of harmony and build on the capacity to love that we try to cultivate through-out the year in our classroom. Isn’t this wonderful?  We often forget about the simple experiences of childhood.

Look at this one!

Here are some of the samples of our time together.
A child handing me a flower that they picked for me. 
True friendship holding hands and picking flowers together

I want to end with a thank you to all our children in my classroom this month.  We have had a memorable spring as Mother Nature sang to us through her beauty.