Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

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

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!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

 Right now most of us are relaxing and reviewing the spiritual thoughts that Christmas brought to us this year.  Yes, another year of rustling to this party or that, shopping, tuning into that best present for a friend, or just listening to your favorite musical Christmas piece.  But that is the outward form of Christmas. 

 The many inner moments of the past week, came disguised with many forms and small packages.  This year marks a special seventeenth year that my husband and I will always remember. It was like riding a bike at your fastest pace, but it never seemed to take off fully or was tripped up by yet another surprise. We just had to laugh at it all, try our hardest and keep it all in prospective.
But as we are still enough, as a thief in the night, that awestruck sparkling moments, did creep in and filled us with this amazing sense of awe and power. 
 Christmas isn't just one day for us, it is how we live our lives constantly on our spiritual journey 

May this Christmas be forever close to your heart, and may we all continue to share that light with all whom we meet. I send my warmest blessings of love and light to you all. 

Merry Christmas. 

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.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Photo: Sending Summer Love

Yesterday I was at a summer solstice celebration and my granddaughter handed me this tiny leaf. She knows how I collect heart rocks and finding beauty in nature. She thought this could be added to my collection. She is such a sweet and gentle spirit. "Here, Oma, this is for you!" Not thinking of herself, she handed right to me.


   I wanted to pass along the love to you.
 Happy solstice and for a beautiful summer yet to come.  

Love and Blessings,

Friday, May 10, 2013

"Infinite Mother of us all"

A Mother's Love

Though the miles come between us
As we fumble our way along
The paths- we like to think we choose
And through the years grow shorter
Filled with memories-Some we hold to dearly
And some we'd like to lose,
Still, that first of life's many loves,
That of a mother for her child
Shines brightly from within- to remind us of the 
Infinite Mother of us all
Who dwells within and silently calls to us.....
Come home to Me now!
   Original poem by: Joel Holliman

About nine years ago after the Living Wisdom Preschool began, I wanted to create an event at the school, just for the children to express their love for Divine Mother. Divine Mother is the feminine divine aspect of God. 

In working with children, our earthy mother it is simpler way for children to open up to the Divine Mother. I like to start in baby steps for each child. As they feel the love deeply for their mother, they can feel it for their immediate family, their grandparents, their friends mothers, and then reach out to other mothers across the globe. 

"The task of education is to attract children toward maturity- that is, toward including other's realities in their own."

The event at the Living Wisdom School is celebrated today by all the children. The children have the opportunity to cook, draw their mother's portrait for the hall of mothers, and by answering creative writing questions like:"What makes your mom perfect?" It is the direct experience by which our children can rise  above their likes and dislikes thus allowing them to think of others first. 

Each year I am given the precious moment of photographing this event.  I am in awe of the intimacy of photographing mothers and their children. I am humbled by this experience. Their souls just seem to melt  right together as one in front of my camera lens.

I am sure that you will agree from some of the photos below, the depth of divine love which pours through each family.

May this Mothers Day be our reminder in deep stillness of the"Infinite Mother"
 who dwells in all of us.
Happy Mothers Day!

In joy to you,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Equinox , Snow on Spring

                     We woke up on our third day of spring to the very first snowfall of the season. So ironic. Just when we were changing our decorations around in our classroom to spring, the snow hits. 
      It only lasted a few hours but it always captivates my heart.

We also celebrated the Spring Equinox this past week. 

Spring crowns. 
What would our classroom be without a party and a celebration?
Sun and Moon leading the Solstice parade with the flowers behind them.

Blessings from our class to you!

Happy Spring!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Launching our spiritual dream boats a sail

Today at the Living Wisdom School the whole student body, participated in yet another of our festivals of the light celebrations. We wanted an celebration to bring all the students together and something that would connect all our children in a more dynamic way. Today at the Living Wisdom School the older students were the role models for the younger children.

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time for thinking about the year that has passed and the year that lies ahead. It is a time to dream, imagine and to wonder what the new year can bring. All of these rituals need to become a natural part of children's daily life. All the teachers wanted a ritual to acknowledge the New Year and this activity allowed plenty of room for gentle fantasy and beauty.

Below is the basic recipe of how we organized the day.  

Here is the process:
Supplies needed

  • Large bath of water
  •  Lower the lights as it is to be magical.
  • Coverings over the bathtub or pond’ with a  dark green/ dark blue covering

  • Pretty crystals’ pebbles and shells

  • Herb/ greenery, anything with winter berries

  • 4 large glass vases to hold the greenery and extra greenery for the sides. Individual themes on each vase with matching harmonious colors on each vase.

  • Candle in the middle needs to be attached with clay or a candle stick

  • Walnut shell boats individually made by the children. Individual wicks and beeswax can be used or a small birthday candles that has been cut are melted into the bottom of the boat. The candles need to be lightweight and small.
  • New Years blessings  for each child.

To prepare the bath:
Place the bath on the floor and line carefully with the fabric. Place the pebbles, crystals and shells on the fabric at the bottom of the bath, together with the vases.The vases are evenly spread around the bottom of the bath. Fill the bath within six inches from of the rim. Place four bunches of the greenery in the vases. It doesn’t matter if they are submerged, in fact it can add to their beauty and mystery for the bunches now become island in a magical sea.They can be called, the Isle of Peace, Isle of Happiness, Isle of  Gratitude or the Isle of Love. Drape the cloth around the sides of the bath, making it secured at the rim with pins or adhesive tape. We used a heavy felted fabric so there wasn't any need for extra pins.

Prepare a tray of board with medium candle in a holder and few sprigs of greenery. Settle the boats amount the greenery and light the candle.

To prepare the letters: or messages
Each paper fortune should be rolled and tied in the middle with a string. The blessings can be placed in baskets around the outside rim of the basin. The baskets are color coordinated with each Isle.  These can be random blessings or can correspond with the Isle that they have landed on. This depends how coordinated you want your themes to be. 

Hand made verses are such fun to compose and served as their New Years blessings.  Write the lines on the inside of folded slips of colored, papers as you choose.I like to make up small blessings taken from the qualities of the "Little Secrets of Friendships" by J. Donald Walters. Each classroom made up and contributed their individual ideas.

Setting sail!
The first person selects a candle boat and lights the mast from the larger candle. The boat is then very carefully set in the middle of the sea. A big wish is loaded on board. A tiny ripple of the fingers at the edge of the bath is enough to see the boat gently moving off on its journey into the New Year. Where will it harbor? This was so fun to watch and dream.  Let’s hope that it visits the Isle of Happiness or Love. One of our children launched her boat and within seconds it went directly to the Isle of Love. It was like her boat was pulled by a magnetic energy source to that island. 

The spiritual aspects of this also can hold true. How often with our own energy do we push to make things happen, or do we let the stream of life carry us along with a gentle push of our personal magnetism? 

 There’s no hurry.  The children also used straws to act as a wind gust to carry their boats away. We divided the pond of water into four parts. 

All in good time the boats did come to rest, some lodged firmly on an island or clinging to the edge of the pond. However when the boat has once touched the edge of the pond it is seemed to have landed.  Each child took their blessing from the corresponding basket next to the pond. If time is limited, two or three boats could be set a sail together.

After all the children had finished with launching their boats and receiving their blessings, we placed dry ice in the pond for another mystical beautiful surprise. The children loved this aspect of the pond. Many conversations began with how the ice created the effect, how the candles blew out and what it reminded them of in nature?

 Whatever the New year holds for us, the idea was to spend a little time afloat in the world of magical beauty, that can capture our dreams and sprinkle the light of beauty, love, joy, gratitude and happiness for all we see. This is how we want our children at the Living Wisdom School to follow as leaders into the future by expanding their imaginations and preparing them spiritually to meet life challenges. Isn't this our spiritual dream already in the making?

Joy to you,
Happy New Years blessings to you. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Memories that last a lifetime . Saint Lucia Celebration

Today in our prekindergarten classroom we began our morning watching this video and singing together.  I wanted to awaken the children to one of the European festivals that is celebrated every year on December 13th. Today marks the celebration of Saint Lucia from Sweden. Lucia seems to have taken on many stories passed down over generations but above all, the more positive role, as a symbol of light in the dark Swedish winters and as a symbol of growth for man. She is a figure who emerged from obscurity at a time when light and nourishment were most needed.

When I was a small girl growing up in Bellevue, Washington one of the most memorable Christmas's celebrations was when I was playing the piano at my very first recital. As a Education for Life teacher now I have tried to recreate these holiday experiences each year for our children. These celebrations and ceremonies provide a beautiful foundation for children to experience others realities and world cultures outside of their own. It can touch their souls and add a greater depth to their spiritual lives.

This is such a beautiful ceremony. We calmed the lights through the school hall, sang, and gave each child a candle as we walked into each classroom. This year the prekindergarten, kindergarten, first, and second graders all participated in the processional.  Our Saint Lucias, lead the way and passed out our Swedish cinnamon treats.

All the children felt inspired, beautiful in their white attire and uplifted by this sacred event.  They told me they felt like angels. These are what true memories can bring for  the young child and can last a lifetime.

God Jul,
Merry Christmas!