Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cool clouds that gather to bless us

School is out for the summer and I have been planning ahead for the rest of June, July, and August. It feels like the summer is almost automatically planned for many of us before it begins.

This picture above was taken in the local Shoreline Ballinger Way Pea Patch directly behind our school on a cool misty morning.

It reminds me of how children, stay focused quietly in any moment and see all the little things in life. I love how focused on the moment she is. This image will stay with me this summer and give me the space to be present in all my undertakings.

I am heading off to one of our sister schools at Ananda Village in Nevada City, California. This will be the first time that I have had the opportunity to teach at the Family Camp that they hold each summer. I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new families from around the globe.

Until July.

May these next few weeks bring you peace and inner joy as you prepare your summer family activities.  Please comment below and let's share together the wonder of summer and how we can continue to bring spirit into the lives of our children.

Many Blessings,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Flowers so soft and fragile

 This is a very busy week at the Living Wisdom School. We are all finishing up our yearly projects and assignments.
School ends on Wednesday, June 13th. 
This artist told me the smiles in her flowers were their spirits smiling back at her.

My  Preschool class wanted to spend the last couple of days painting. Today the weather was so glorious.  I couldn't resist and set up our art gallery in the Living Wisdom organic garden. We began with a "fairy tale story" then created lovely garden pictures. 

These are our budding Monet apprentices. 

Don't you agree?

We have practiced all year by using contrasting colors in our paintings.

Monet's waterlilies

These were her garden"Iris's"

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Spirit and Nature dancing together

Many of you may or may not know that one of my creative hobbies is birdwatching. I have been exploring the habitats of birds and migration patterns for over 30 years. I find it exhilarating to witness beautiful and incidental sightings of ordinary birds in their own habitat.

 About 12 years ago, I was taking a workshop with naturalist Joseph Cornell, we were learning how to use our voices to call birds in a dynamic way.  I can be honest with you, I have not mastered that skill but I found the joy welling up inside me that I might have the opportunity to be still enough to actually hold a wild bird some day.

Well yesterday was that day.

I always tell my students when we are going outside in nature, it is the animals kingdom " world" that we are entering. We have to be mindful and still to listen while we become aware of everything around us.

The children and I had just finished a beautiful morning circle singing, one of Yogananda's chants,
"I am the Bubble, make me the Sea."
 We all went around the circle, and shared while holding a musical heart.  Each child was invited to acknowledge their own unique expression answering the question, "What makes your heart sing?"

 The children were very still and receptive. But working with young children the energy can change almost at any moment. We had sat long enough listening to a creative storytelling session about nature and the children were clearly ready to explore free play in our playground.

The children had only been out for about a minute, when one of the little girls noticed a baby bird that had fallen on the ground. They ran to get me. They were very scared for him. We had an attack from a large crow about two weeks before, so they were very protective of this little young Chickadee.

I tried to pick up the bird, but he just kept trying to fly very low to the ground. He wasn't hurt but was a little stunned and shaken up. I slowly picked him up and placed him back on a tree limb but he quickly flew to a neighboring fence. There he became trapped.

Meanwhile the mother over head was very loud and had realized the baby was no where in the nest or in sight. I could not see the nest, but she was gathering food, and looking desperately for her.

In the meantime, the small bird lay motionless behind the fence. After about five minutes I came around the corner to retrieve her. She could see that I was not going to hurt her this time. I was able to carefully pick her up in the palm of my hand and speaking gently to her.

We all weren't sure exactly what to do? We have small bird boxes on the fence that were made for the Living Wisdom School, so we opened the top and placed the baby bird gently inside. We left the top partly open so the larger birds could not get inside.

Shortly about 20 minutes later, the little Chickadee jumped out on the top of the birdhouse. Then she jumped to the fence. Her mother then was able to see her and quickly jumped to the next post. The little bird in joy flew to his mother. They both then flew back up where the Mother continued to feed her. It was a rare site to see.

Now the children in our classroom witnessed the whole experience. What joy and relief  it brought for all of us to see that the tiny bird made it back safely to its nest.

 This was a rare drama to witness which could have turned out differently in many ways. We all were thrilled and our spirits were dancing together with nature so harmoniously right outside our classroom window today.

Here is our classroom story we finished writing together. This will be made into a book for the classroom.

Keep you heart still, enter the silence of nature and let me know what you find out there.

Joy to you