Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

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

Friday, March 15, 2013

Many Hands Make a Miracle

People climbing together
Soon we reach to the pinnacle of every mountain peak
we travel as one,
We lift our hands to welcome the sun. 
Song by: Swami Kriyananda (J.Donald Walters) 

The Living Wisdom School is celebrating our annual all school art show this weekend. 
It is always a labor of love in planning, teaching, and exhibiting all the artwork collectively. This year especially the teachers have really collaborated to present art in many diverse ways.
Each class choose a different Modern or Contemporary artist to focus their inspiration. 
We also came up with the idea of combining all the children towards making an all school Monet garden. This will display the art together from each classroom. 

This is one of the special outreach events we do at Living Wisdom School. Eight years ago we came up with the idea to expand and share our school with the greater community. This event gives such a joyful expression of our children and a glimpse into their lives at the Living Wisdom School.

This past month, one of my students was not present in my classroom on the day we painted our major focal piece for the show. I had talked with her father and asked if she could stay after class, so I
 might guide her through the art lesson.

She did an amazing job that I wanted it to be a surprise for her parents. 
Well low and behold, her art was featured in the local Shoreline News this week, so I had to tell them.
This was done by one of the pre-kindergartners in our classroom. 

This was the second piece painted by one of our students in the 4th grade class. 

We have an amazing staff this year at the Living Wisdom School and I an extremely honored to be working with these inspiring woman. Many of our teachers are also full time mothers and grandmothers.  So it is not just at work that they are serving our children unceasingly, but they head home and have to put on their "moms and grandmother hats too." 

The song written above really finishes out the whole theme:
Soon we reach to the pinnacle, of every mountain peak
we travel as one.
We life our hands to welcome the sun and a wonderful accomplishment.

Thank you Living Wisdom Staff for sharing so much of yourself while
serving all our students and families . 

 Bless you all.

Friday, March 8, 2013

March flowers so soft and fragile

 Spring hasn't quite hit the Pacific Northwest yet, but we are getting prepared for our 8th Annual Living Wisdom School Art Show next weekend. I wanted to share a fun art project that we finished this week.

This year's theme for our art show is called:"The World of a Child's Imagination!"

The faculty at the school has selected a modern day artist for their students classroom collaboration and the all school exhibition.  Our class chose Georgia O'Keeffe's florals for our inspiration. We have used many different combinations of art materials. I wanted the children to experience many types of materials and mediums. We used pastels, tempura, watercolors, acrylics, Mod Podge, felt, embroidery threads, watercolor pens, art dough, liquid starch, and we also created a wood sculpture with one of our dads.  I will feature the art show next week after our installation on March 16th.

 I am frequently asked how to create children's spiritual art curriculum but until I write it all down somehow formally, this blog will have to do.  Often my inspiration is not mine, but from the divine and by listening to our children. I create projects from what I know they will love to share, and create. I  want them to be successful but also building new skills that they can master for a sense of accomplishment. I like to use beautiful art materials and I am very choosy about what is good for a child's energy and their spiritual vibration. The activities are prepared for our children to feel beauty through their art projects and to look at art not as a mere activity to fill time in the daily classroom, but to uplift their spirits.

Today I wanted to feature one of the projects that we just finished. I loved the way they turned out and wanted to share with you.

One of our teachers had cut out large petals from coffee filters. The children then chose six petals for each flower, attaching them in the center with Mod Podge. We had been working on the placement of petals for about two weeks, so this was easy now for them to attach together in a circular pattern. I also had the primrose on the table for them to see how flowers actually grow.

These flowers were allowed to dry until the next day. Each child began to watercolor each of the petals. We gave them only two colors so they could create only one secondary color.  I wanted the colors to be calming pastels that were not too bright. The flowers were then allowed to dry another day. 

 Then each child took their own flower and draped it over a plastic bottle. A rubber band was secured at the top of the bottle.  In some cases a rubber band was secured at the bottom too. This made it easier for the child to hold while painting. Then with large strokes of Mod Podge, they painted the flower all over again. The flowers were molded and covered in the Mod Podge.
The flowers were left upside down to dry overnight on the plastic bottles.

Small pieces of felt were then cut on a diagonal. The children glued embroidery threads for the stamen of their flowers. 

We took the upside down flower off of the plastic bottle. 
They were fun to now mold and shape. 
The small piece of felt was tightly rolled up into a small cylinder.  

These were attached with tacky glue inside the center of each molded flower. We tried several methods but found just dipping into the glue, like a sushi roll worked the best. 

This was a very soothing activity for the children. I had two little girls working quietly for about 45 minutes on finishing the centers of each flower.

These are so beautiful. They could be used for any type of event; baby shower, wedding shower or decoration in a child's room. They are fun for everyone.

All the floral activities have brought a little spring into our classroom even though the weather hasn't quite caught up to us.

I can't wait to share all of our activities for the show. But if I did then, we wouldn't have a large crowd to visit our 8th annual show at Eastwest Bookshop, March 16th from 4-6p.m.

Please come by the show and say hello to our artists.

Until next week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New approach this holiday season

The other day I was chatting with a friend and she was asking about a couple of dates coming up and if I had them on my calendar. Now, I just blurted out:"I don't know, I'm only looking one day at a time this Christmas." I was a little surprised at myself when I actually said this. "How can you actually do this and still stay on top of all your the responsibilities?"  A teacher's life is extremely full at this time of year. What if I forget something? What if? There are many what if's we can get tangled up in. I just wanted to take the leap this year and try something new.

I am making a very conscious peaceful decision this month to enjoy even the simple moments that Christmas has to offer. Well, my word is my bond and I do have a Blackberry that keeps me connected to the world, but I am actually putting into action my new approach this holiday season. I have, of course entered in all my critical dates first. I am being more selective in the projects that I can accomplish and those that are more time consuming. 

 I only look at my calendar in the morning after meditation and before going to work. I only look at one day at a time and remind myself that I need to be totally present in this moment. I am finding that I am more alert, joyful and I have more energy to accomplish the little things ahead of schedule. If for any reason, I have forgotten something, then actually it wasn't that important in the larger scheme of things. This weekend was a beautiful and restful time for our family. We also accomplished more.

Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle. Independently owned bookstore. One of my favorite stores.

Another practice that I enjoy during the holiday season is to shop in small local gift stores. I want to honor their businesses. I plan my shopping around short trips and I am often driving the back roads to avoid major traffic. Seattle is known for it's traffic snarls. I also get to see more of the Christmas light displays and the decorating on the nearby homes. 

One woman said to me once: "Chandi you just drive the back-roads with such ease." Well, I am not sure about that, but I love the saying that my son said to me when he was about fifteen. "Mom, all roads lead to Ananda." Ananda Community is where I have lived for the past seventeen years. It is located on 5.5 acres in Lynnwood, Washington.

Anyway, I thought to share with you my new approach this holiday season and I will keep you informed on the sweet developments.

Please leave me a comment and let's share ideas together.

Many Blessings to all during this holiday season,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Come gather round , its time for a story

Come gather round,
Come gather round.
With a friend on the left and a friend on the right,
Come gather round. 

Its a very special day, come gather round. 
On Monday mornings I have the most amazing schedule that anyone could ask for. In my classroom there are five little preschool girls on Mondays. We have so much fun cooking, exploring nature, gardening, creating beautiful art projects and telling imaginary stories.

Today's story is actually using a new story cards that I recently purchased at Eastwest Bookshop in Seattle.

Have you ever wanted to make up grand stories for children but you didnt know where to begin? I was able to purchase these beautiful cards by John and Catlin Mathews. These cards lead you into the land of make believe, wonder and endless possibilities  They are that gentle nudge or simple way to jump start your imagination for any story-time.

   The cards have beautiful illustrations that lead you to a beginning of your story. As you select the next card, the pictures weave the storyteller through a world of make believe and wonder. You can select one card or as many cards for your story as you like. One tip though, is to know the attention span of your children and how long the story should be to will remain fresh and enchanting. With my class, I wanted to create a direct experience for them and keep the story short for today.

 Our morning began with dressing up like princesses. We took an adventure to the secret garden outside where we would surely might find a faery hiding in our mint. There we picked fresh mint and lavender. We quietly tiptoed back into the classroom to make our "lavender mint tea".  

Washing our leaves
Steeping the Tea
Tea and a story. What could be better than that?

 Each time you open the box of cards there are more inspirational ideas. 
We made up this fairy game today with our story but the ideas are endless. 
These cards are wonderful for all ages.  This might also make a nice story for a birthday party.  Additional imaginary themes, crafts and games could go along with the story.

Until next time...We wish you sweet dreams from this castle over the hill in Ireland. The bunny and fairies will follow you into the garden as they wait patiently for your next cup of tea......

Joyful reading and storytelling. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The gift of your presence

 Its our weekly story time!  

"Come gather round,
With a friend on the left and friend on the right, 
          Come gather round"
About two years ago I was walking in our local library looking for a new book about love and kindness, that I could select for the children in my Kindergarten class. I usually have an inner guidance and prayer before I go into the library to guide and help me select the perfect book for  teaching a certain "quality" to the children. 
On this particular day, a book literally fell onto my foot. I picked it up without giving it much attention and placed it back on the shelf. It was not the type of book that I would usually select. The cover wasn't that appealing ,expansive with color or intriguing.  Its cover actually had more of  a "cartoon" feel to the it. At the Living Wisdom School we shy away from any theatrical productions, videos and television.
Well, it fell on my foot again. Now, I am somewhat perturbed at this point. I took a moment to look again at the cover. The drawings by Patrick McDonnell looked somewhat familiar. So it intrigued me enough to slow down and sit with the book.
The title of the book: The Gift of Nothing  
This story is about Mooch a friendly little cat who wants to give his friend Earl a gift. This delightful story is around the love and friendship between friends. How often we spend hours trying to find just the perfect birthday gift for a loved one and we are discouraged about what we have chosen. But what should you do when your friend has everything? This is a tale about Mooch searching for the gift of nothing.  This book is for all ages.  I love to read this for our afternoon story or it is a sweet story for the bedtime ritual. You might be able to get away with reading it twice, since you will fall in love with it.
This is surely one book that you will want to give away, but purchase one for your child's shelf as well. 
Patrick McDonnell has quite a nice series of short children's stories. 
I encourage you to take a peak at the library you never know what enticing stories might fall on your foot. 

Joyful reading friends until next Friday.....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Once upon a time in a land far, far, away.....

 One main focus of this blog is to mention some favorite books I have found over the years.  I’ll write each Friday about the spiritual gems contained in them.

Often  I have been asked by educators and parents how to teach spiritual truths to young children. My background has brought a rich love of books, treasures and memories.  I find that reading is an easy place to begin to awaken the enthusiasm in a young child.  Reading to our children, students and grandchildren is a timeless experience.  Through reading we can explore and create imaginary worlds, and experience within the deepest part of ourselves that which creates an inner world of deep meaning, love and truth.

When working with children's literature there, are many ways to deeply look at the contents of a story.  I love large formatted picture books, but with our culture turning into more visual stimulus for children , I now lean towards not always showing the pictures, but weaning the children into closing their eyes and imagining what the story might look like. This can happen even at the early age of four. I also want to build children’s comprehension and hands on the literacy, an approach used today in alternative education.

The next stage after reading a story would be to act out the story through puppet shows, felt pieces or with a child’s whole being. These timeless stories have the children ask again and again for the opportunity to re-enact them in class.

Today's book review is Pinduli,  by Janell Cannon.

Janell Cannon  is famous for her illustrations. Her very familiar, award-winning book Stellaluna  has sold over 500,000 copies. It was on the bestseller list for more than two years.

Pindulu takes place in Africa savanna and is about a little hyena and his mother. An expression of love is shown throughout the story, as Pindulu’s mother assures her how beautiful she is. However, Pindulu finds out early that the animals in the savanna have a different view of her big ears, fuzzy mane, and wiggly stripes.  Through a chain of events, Pindulu finds that she just wants to hide and return home to the safety of her mother. She decides to cover her fur with pale dust.  On her way home the animals think she's an evil spirit, or a ghost who's come for revenge. This is my favorite part of the story: Pinduli convinces all the animals to make up for their harsh lashings.   The story reveals many spiritual truths about choosing your words carefully, friendship, anger and talking harshly to others.

I love this book, and have used it in many settings from kindergarten to sixth grade. As an educator, I will select this story if I need reinforcement to drive home lessons about circumstances that may have happened on the playground or the classroom.  I like to make up games to enhance the spiritual points in the story. This is also one of my favorite stories about teaching children the law of magnetism and the secrets of friendship. Loyalty, kindness, acceptance, and appreciation of others are all high ideals we want to instill in our children.  This story can help in that endeavor.

I have had the wonderful opportunity for the past 17 years to work with Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle, a spiritual, independent bookshop that is able to order books, make suggestions, and serve as a guiding light in selecting high quality spiritual books for children and families.  We are very fortunate to have such a quality store that is in tune with the principles of our Living Wisdom School. Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle will order any book that you might need in a timely fashion and offer you the opportunity to browse through books in their family section. It has a warm, nurturing environment that will welcome you home to the magnetism of spirit, beauty and truth.

Happy reading, friends…until next Friday.