Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A year in reflection, 2013!


Well this afternoon, I was sipping my lunch soup and wondering how the year has slipped by so quickly.  I had a dear friend remark, that this must be your year of study and introspection. She was totally right! I am in the process of completing my Ananda Yoga Teacher Training as a refresher from the year 2002. It takes quite a bit of study, reflection and physical yoga. I am so enjoying this time to dive deeper in the ancient yogic teachings and taking the time to introspect about what the new year will bring. 


2013, was also another deeply inspiring time to study with my spiritual guides, and be certified as a "Sharing Nature® trainer. With this program, it is taking some time for study and deep reflection as to how I will be applying these deep teachings more fully.  They always say: 'If you want to learn something, it is best to dive deep and teach it." 
So 2014, will bring for me personally a time for deeper attunement by sharing these two streams of inspirational light that seem to be coming my way. 
The future, is in Divine Mother's hands. 

Now to thank all my readers and friends this past year, I want to keep the tradition that I started last year and revisit my most popular blog entries. In case you didn't see them,

In the fifth position this year on "Inside Out":
"Blowing in the wind: a year of crafts in review" 
Who can resist learning more crafts. We all have creativity in our bones and as teachers we love to see what others are doing. Here were my favorites from our last school year, 2011-2012. 


In the number four position: 

My Child, My Very First Spiritual Teacher
The title and photo says it all. This is a guest post from one of our lovely parents at the Living Wisdom School. I am thrilled to see how many of my readers loved her writing and humble account about  her new book and working with her children. Thank you, Nilanjana! 



In the third position most read: 
The very last entry during my school year ending in June 2013. 

This blog entry also began with a shared piece of art from one of my internet friends in Ashland Oregon, Elaine Frenett. It was so magnetic, I know this is how others were drawn to this entry. Thank you again Elaine. 

In the second position for this year:

This was one of my favorite and most meaningful celebrations that we had for our children this past year. 
It surely started our year out in a blaze of magnetism and joy. 


An in our top position this year:
DRUM ROLL Please


This was such a beautiful inspiring day the words and pictures I believe capture the essence of Mothers Day. 
 

Thank you all for a wonderful year in reading this blog. I am inspired by so many who I have met, and I will continue to meet in 2014. 


May we all be one in the light some day.  Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spending time together in gratitude. Activities shared during the month of November.


Where has our month gone? We all had so much fun, this fall that it is hard to let it all go. 

In our classroom at the Living Wisdom School we combined our fall activities with our gratitude month.  Our primary focus for November was on communities, where we live and go to school. Next month we will expand the communities to the world and the many holiday celebrations that happen during this holy season.

Here is list of some of our classroom activities highlighted from the picture above. 
.
1.  The children glued tissue paper, using starch on their jars that made gratitude trees for their Thanksgiving tables. Each jar, we added fairy, magic glitter and well, a little plaster of paris. (I kept that part a secret. Then they magically turned into trees.) The children just loved it. 

2. This is one of our classmates. His picture is in our 3D mural in our hallway. The children love to climb in our outdoor natural play-space. The children had an idea to create this mural for our family open house in November. 

3. Each day at our circle time we wrote what we were thankful for on small slips of paper. The children loved this activity adding several a day. They were carefully hung on our classroom gratitude tree. 

4. Our nature altar was changed with a real tree on of the boys found in our tree playground. It had blown over in a storm so we brought it in the classroom. 

5. We are all practicing our cutting and pasting skills this month. We made our community neighborhoods. The children are also practicing for our all school fundraising project that we will be making for February. 

6. This is our 3D mural.  This was a several step process, complete with running paths, leaves glued to the service, trees painted by every child, leaves made from melted crayons, leave block painting and our stumps were made from toilet paper rolls, starch, coffee filters and acrylic paints. 

7. The children love the trees. Their pictures were cut out and put in the 3D mural. 

8. Our community "yogi", fireman came to our classroom. We had a wonderful time with Bryan Dotson. Bryan is a multi-talented fireman and teaches his team of firefighters how to meditate and practice yoga. He was a perfect role model for all our students at our school. 
For our community project we cooked cookies from Bryan and his staff. 

9. Concentration was another one of my sub categories in our curriculum. These were our Thanksgiving trees that each child carefully painted gold along each stem.This was extremely challenging for five year olds and they took great pride in their finished trees. All their daily blessings were then added to their own trees. Each tree was then taken home for their family Thanksgiving table settings. 



It was in gratitude that we were able to spend this joyful time together. A beautiful month indeed was shared by all. 




Blessings,
Chandi




Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tree and leaves in the autumn


Leaves in the autumn came tumbling down,
Scarlet and yellow, russet and brown,
Leaves in the garden were swept in a heap
To jump up and down in,
with our two tiny feet.

Red leaves and yellow leaves,
Orange leaves and brown.
Leaves are everywhere,
Happily dancing down. 


I believe every school classroom all over the northern hemisphere is celebrating the seasonal changes now as we celebrate autumn. Our classroom at the Living Wisdom School of Seattle, is no exception. Our focus this month have been the beauty of trees. I like to build on the spiritual experiences for young children through the study of our earth's natural rhythms. 



What do the trees teach us?
  Just to name a few qualities that I focus on: inner power, strength, calmness, beauty. and stability. Tree medicine comes through many experiences in the classroom.  We can share a powerful story from nature, a song, interwoven bark textures, and though a multitude of visual art creations.    
I love the fall and all the many ways it can open the heart in nature.
 As we all know the projects are endless. 



Our class plays daily in our natural playground filled with Cedar, Douglas Fir, Maple, Alder and Hemlock trees. Is is a joyous sight to behold.  The children and I love to bath in this carefree childlike setting, filled with make believe bears, gnomes and fairies. The children are transported to a magical wonderland of their make believe worlds and story telling. 





We end each morning with a gathering together at the base of our trees. Here, we do an exercise called: "Reciprocal Breathing". We offer thanks to our trees at the conclusion of our morning in the playground. 

It is the highlight for many of us. 



May this fall be full of many blessings to your family and loved ones. May we all share in the inner  peace the leaves, and trees bring to us in this autumn season.  





Friday, September 27, 2013

"All the World is My Friend"



Working together

Every September I begin our year with the unit: "All the world is my friend." This is a song written by: Nayaswami Kriyananda.  This has such a broad way of introducing new friendships, cooperation and harmony in our daily activities. 
The words to the song:
All the world is my friend
When I learn how to share my love.
When I stretch out my hand and smile,
Then I live from above. 
Here is the link to the music. 

The children begin to sing this from the first day of class. I offer books, puppet plays, yoga practices, games and art activities to bring in the theme for the month. 
This year I did a few new activities in case you read my October entry from 2012. 

Felting world balls
Integration of whole body drawing with our feet. When we draw with our feet, and switch to the hands it all seems easy. We draw with play dough, sand, in the air and on each others backs. This is so exciting to be silly with our new friends. 

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. 
Sewing patterns with our friends

Harvesting sunflowers together from our school garden. 
Harvesting apples together at our Equinox celebration
Prayers together

Celebrations and parades


 This was our globe the children painted together.
One of the girls in my afternoon Prekindergarten class was coloring with our block beeswax crayons. She said to me: "These need to be cleaned." So I had told her about an idea that I heard and never thought I would have the opportunity to actually try it since I knew it might be time consuming. But we pulled out basic vegetable oil, and a small bowl.  We began to rub and rub. All the markings came off on our paper towels. It made hand made paper. It was so lovely and reminded me of all the felting projects that I love to do. I couldn't throw the paper away.



 So tore it up in small pieces and glued it as land continents on our globe.
This added another level of fun. We cut out many photos of animals that lived around the globe and glued them to our world.
The children also put a large floor puzzle together using the same principals of maps and habitats.




The mural had so many beautiful stages.


Here is the list from what a mural can accomplish in a classroom setting.

Celebration of harmony, cooperation, and joy in class. Dynamic tracing hands, right and left hands, cutting, pasting, geography, animal habitats, willingness to help others, gross and fine motor skills, sewing, sensory integration, grip control, recycling, singing , watercolor techniques, blotting, crayon resist, sponge painting, and blending.
One of the students as she helped me commented: " Wow, I had no idea, we did all that!
It is beautiful."

What a lovely way to honor our friendships and live in harmony with the world all around us.




Namaste,
Chandi

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Environment is stronger than will. Beauty in the Living Wisdom Classroom.

 The summer is slowly ending, but I can say the life of a teacher is always in clear focus.

 The past three weeks, I have been changing my classroom at the Living Wisdom School and creating my yearly curriculum. There are a few new changes in our environment.  Every item needs to be cleaned, and moved to create an uplifting foundation for the new students that arrive on Wednesday.  Some how it feels like I have been going at "turtle " pace though. I like to spend quality time in my classroom meditating, singing and actually creating some new art. This year some new felt pieces and art will be added into the classroom.

The environment is the third teacher and helps to uplift the spirit of the child. I like to prepare my classroom with soothing harmonious colors, materials and fabrics. This year especially I am focusing on beauty and calmness. Mentally I place each item in a certain location that can uplift and spark inner love, creativity, and beauty for the young child.

 I believe that children don't need a lot of unnecessary materials that clutter their environments and spaces. The materials I use are also natural woods with the elimination of  unnecessary plastic in the space. I also create all my own visuals. I don't buy teacher materials to put up all over the walls. The art on the walls, are there to stimulate children's creativity and instill the qualities that everyone can be an artist. We all have creativity deep within our beings. If I am teaching an aspect I will add my own visuals. These are just my own personal views and are very subtle to the spiritual child.

I begin imagining children playing in a certain location before the first day of school. What area will have the most children playing? What is the flow in the classroom? Are their areas that a child can play alone or with others? Are their areas for drawing, reading, and block play? Are there dark spaces? Is the lighting soft? Is every corner uplifting without clutter? Are the counters clean? Are there plenty of baskets for natural material: rocks, drift wood, and shells? Does the classroom flow with ease? Is there a space for all the materials?

I also place an importance in meeting my students before school starts. I like to bond a little with them and make them at ease with the new transition of entering the Living Wisdom School.



This past week, I added a whole new cooking area for our room and painted this picture that hangs in our reading area.  We are doing more cooking this year, so the children will be practicing along side of me while we prepare: soups, breads, muffins, fresh organic juices, and moon biscuits of course.

In the  pre-kindergarten classroom I use uplifting but soothing colors. The classroom is a nurturing space for a young child. For many children this is one of the first places away from their home. My classroom provides the bridge into a more traditional classroom. I use soft lighting, plants, flowers, crystals, and soothing colors.
This is our angel ring over their heads. 

Our classroom mural of the moon. 




I will end with a thought that a wise man said:

"No matter what work I am called upon to perform, I know there is a way to bring beauty and inspiration into it. May I always be alive to beauty and creative inspiration."

Many Blessings,
Chandi


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mother we thank you!


 Summer's Glow Original Watercolor by Elaine Frenett, Ashland, Oregon
 Today we celebrated our last class for the school year. In the past two weeks we finished up our garden unit and spent some time with creating our habitats for the new caterpillars. 
Divine Mother always has her own timing while working simultaneously collaborating with nature.
We were late in the season to start this project but our caterpillars hatched just in time for our last day of school.
 It was a perfect day, to release our butterflies as our last ceremony of the year. 

We had many fun activities leading up to this moment. 
 Creating three dimensional watercolor paintings 
                                     
 Creating our butterfly habitat in the classroom. 
  
 Sharing Nature with Children:
Duplication Game
The items were shown to the children and then they explored in the forest for the same items to duplicate.
Caterpillar stories, math games, and songs


 Yoga postures and stories about Gerdy and Caty. Gerdy is a goose and Caty was a caterpillar. I created a yoga story that was told all week  in class about how the caterpillar and the goose becoming fast friends. . 
video
                             
    This was a very sweet video that our children were able to watch. They were only three years old when this was taken, so it was exciting for them see how fast they had grown in a year's time. 

But the most exciting was for the children to watch the birth and unfolding of these amazing creatures. We were all in a state of reverence as we carefully set them free today. As Divine Mother's perfect metaphor, it was time to set the butterflies free and for our children to spread their wings and fly too.    

 They were our friends just for a little while,


What glorious smiles on their faces as we shared our last precious moments of our school year together. 

Mother we thank you,
Your joy shines in everything. 
Open these channels so the world once more may sing. 



Sunday, June 2, 2013

" Blowing in the Wind", a year of crafts in review.




This is the time of year when teachers begin to look back, reflect and gather their experiences together through out this past year.   

Just as a dandelion germinates from a tiny seed, the dandelion forms a long hollow stalk with its flower on top. The dandelion flowers change and develop into tiny seeds. The seeds are attached to structures that are shaped like parachutes called pappuses. When the wind blows the pappuses carry the seeds for miles. Then the seeds land and the cycle begins all over again under the right conditions.  

Thus too, are the children in our classrooms. As tiny seeds they begin to form beautiful flowers and then as the winds of the spring approach, the children like seeds float into the their new schools and classrooms. 
As I have grown accustomed to saying good bye each year, I know these little seeds will be nourished in their new garden classrooms by the deep foundations that were planted at the Living Wisdom School.

This entry today is about remembering all the many great projects, and crafts over this past year.
I am not sure who all my readers are on this blog, but I can only guess that you are early childhood educators, parents, and grandparents. 

There are so many great activities it was hard to edit, but I will do my best to share the most meaningful.

We start every year with the "All the World is my Friend Unit."
These are our very first self portraits that hang above their cubbies in the hallway. 
These are globes that are made with form, tape and then art plaster added to each round ball. These are  then dried and painted. The process above is the first stage before plastering.  The children take them home for their home altars or nature tables. 
I wish I could take the credit, but this came from our Kindergarten/1st grade class. I love it.  So great for birthday displays in the classroom setting.
This was the world and our hands. I love murals and how they immediately invite all to work cooperatively. These are their hands that were traced and displayed for our first curriculum night. The children loved this. 
This was our community map. The children worked  together mapping the direction of their homes to the school.  I have found  it is a very usual tool for the parents . This allows the parents to see where their classmates live. Small houses were attached to their 3-D structure. It was displayed flat on a table in the main hallway

We began our fall tree unit.This is our 3-D forest in the hallway.
 Each child painted their version of a fall tree from looking outside our classroom window.
What beautiful memories in Nature.


From the apples we picked we made fun fruit pies for a birthday party. I love to cook in my classroom. Each child selects a card and that is their contribution to the day's cooking project.
These were our alphabet  pretzels. We made these several times. Yum.



This was one of the simplest projects but to a young child so fascinating. This was a very simple paper plate folded into four parts. Small dots of paint were added to one side/ or around the plate. The children then folded them and what a surprise it was when they re- opened their plate. These simple mandalas were decorations for our all school fundraiser.

These were our Thanksgiving gratitude pots.


The holidays were upon us.

 We started the journey of the"Tomten" to all the far away counties and farms.

Each day we traveled to a new country which was our theme for the day. We enjoyed many celebrations.
The children reflected on the deeper meaning of the holidays. 


Celebration of Saint Lucia day 

 Our  New Years boats and setting off our wishes for the New Year. 
Making our boats
Wishing stones from our blessing New Year's cake. Each rock is wrapped individually and baked in a cake. 
I paint rocks in the classroom frequently for teaching all types of  inner qualities. 

Queen of Tarts day on Valentines Day. What a fun game this is. Giving tarts to all the students at Living Wisdom School. The queen never knew what happened. 

100 day activities were a highlight in our classroom. 

Getting ready for our art show. Georgia O'Keeffe. These were made by making a petals from cardboard. The children then added their petals around the paper by tracing. Then black sharpie was used. The next stage was water-coloring in the background, then the foreground. These will be memorable for our families.  
Our watercolor portraits added to jewels with ModPodge. 

Our Monet garden bridge for our art show. One of our fathers gave us a hand with making this beautiful structure for our art show. 
 Here it is at the Art Show, with the pond, willow tree, fish and lily pads. This was the all school project. Each class added to the exhibit at Monet's Garden. 

More flowers for the art show garden. I wrote about this on a previous blog post. 

What would our class be without celebrating the full moon each month. This is from our Equinox celebration. Sun and Moon are equal, happy spring. 

 Equinox Cards made for their bedrooms.

We make crowns for all our celebrations or something for our heads. 
All the children made their own birthday crowns to wear on their special day. 


This was a wonderful week on healing. 

This year our children made Mother's Day statues of their favorite thing they like to do with their mom. 

 I know I got this from Pinterst so I cant take credit for it. Each paper was water-colored with the moon shaded with another piece of cardboard. When the picture was dry the cardboard was removed.  In order for children to get the stars very small I had an idea to take a small piece of cardboard and hole punch a small hole in it. Several holes were actually cut in the cardboard. Then the children could draw through the hole a small star onto their picture. The ladders were made from small sticks from Starbucks. I took a picture of each child climbing a small ladder. I  printed the picture and cut them small to fit the ladder. 
They love their "Moms" to the moon and back. 


This has been a very meaningful year and I am filled with the seeds of gratitude as these little ones float to their new homes.