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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March comes in like a Lion and out like a Lamb.

March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb?

The month has been full of activities but I have been going in slow motion it seems in March. 

This photo I took early in the month of March. The sun in Seattle is just beginning to break through the clouds but we are still having inconsistent weather patterns. Maybe I'm having inconsistent weather patterns too? 
  But there is always time for a quiet story on stormy spring days. 

"Come gather round, with a friend on the left and a friend on the right. 
Come gather round for a wonderful story." 

My last entry I wanted to share with you one of my favorite spiritual books for young children. This delightful book is all about energy and color. 

The book is entitled: The Great Blueness and other predicaments by Arnold Lobel. This is a sweet story about a color, energy and how light effects us in our environment. It may be out of print but I recommend that you order it from the Library. 

I don't want to give away the story too much. This is the joyful wizard after he has created all the magical colors of paint. 

This story lives on my bookshelf of " Chandi's favorites.

May your heart be filled with gladness this spring.
  I hope you all enjoy the last few days of March as April gently rolls in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What color is your natural love's heart energy today?

 I am soon to be celebrating my tenth year of teaching at The Living Wisdom
School which began on April 17th, 2002. I founded the
school as the Living Wisdom Preschool in Lynnwood, Washington,
with three students. The school incorporated into a non-profit in the fall of 2006.
We have grown successfully each year and are now well over 40 students in
our school in Shoreline, Washington.

I have written curriculum for teaching spirituality and yoga for young children now for about 15 years through our Living Wisdom Summer Yoga Camps, group outings, and our Sunday School curriculum.

The activity I am writing about today was created by my very first students
in the early years of the preschool. It has deep-seated roots in yogic
philosophy; the inspiration for this activity came from a small book
called  "Do it Now" by J. Donald Walters. This little book has 366 practical
ways to improve your life and is a perennial guide for body, mind and spirit.

Time and time again, this is one of the students' most favorite activities of the year. It permeates all that we do in our yoga sessions, art explorations and for a intuitive way to view our general well being in the classroom at any given moment. 

 This activity is given to older preschool children or Kindergarten age. The children are paired up with students that they aren't naturally drawn to play with ever day. They are given six bottles, a large water container, two small containers to mix colors in, and two drops of food coloring. They have to work with their partners to create six different colors using only the two drops of food coloring.
During the process many delightful things begin to happen. The children are given the opportunity to work closely together to solve problems. If,  after mixing, two bottles are exactly alike, that they have mixed, they have to slowly pour out one of the bottles to create a new transformed color.

As a teacher, it always amazes me to watch this process on many levels. At the end of the process, we line all the colors along our window sill in the classroom.  The colors of the rainbow are components of what may be called your “energy body.”  These colors have different rates of vibrations, and harmonize with our energy field in the body. At several different moments during the day, we actually go over to our bottles and chat about where are energy is today.

Is our energy from our heart "green"for healing, or growth? Is our energy red for cheerfulness, love, or laughter. Is it "pink" for the expanded heart of our love? Is it "blue" for calmness? Is it "yellow" for wisdom? Is it "orange" for creativity and a fiery enthusiasm? Is it "violet" for high thoughts and kind thoughts to others today?  Is it "indigo" for pure feelings, devotion, love of beauty? Or is it the "white" for  the blend of all the seven colors of the rainbow: all-forgiving innocence, mental clarity,  and a heart that is kept open to the needs of others?

What color is your energy today? 

But most importantly for the young child it is their ability to feel their heart's natural love and how they can uplift their consciousness and thoughts to expand their love to others. Sometimes I love to watch them talk about how the colors make them feel -- or I will just catch them setting by the colors and talking about all kinds of things. 
Here the children are creating color charts for their healing food booklets. 

We are all so affected with colors and our natural settings. What color is your natural love's heart energy today? Share this with your children. Explore the opportunities and let me know what happens for your classroom or family setting.
In the next couple of days I will share with your some of the selected books that go along with this theme.
Please stay tuned later this week. 
Joy to you!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Leap Year CD Giveaway Announcement

Leap year got a little away from me this past week. 

I'm proud to announce our Leap Year giveaway for the CD "Sail Away", by Eva Tree,  is actually one of our readers from India.


Kaveetaa Kaul

CD giveaway : Sail Away from Eva Tree.

I am thrilled to have met Kaveetaa over Facebook and she is a Montessori teacher that lives in Mumbai, India. 
 Congratulations Kaveetaa and bless you.  Thank you for all your lovely comments.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the entries and for sharing your comments this past month on Facebook and "Inside Out". 

May we all be one in that light someday.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Two more days to enter for the CD giveaway.

Just a reminder we have two more days for our  CD giveaway, Sail Away by Eva Tree. 
 Thank you for your lovely comments and feedback.

 Please enter by writing your comments below.