Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"

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!


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. 


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




Friday, November 29, 2013

In Gratitude



We celebrate "gratitude" everyday during our morning circle time in our classroom at the 
I would like to extend my gratitude for my spiritual family and all the beautiful friendships throughout the world, that I have come to know through reading my blog. 
May this day be filled with deep peace as we inwardly thank the one giver behind all our gifts.  

With deepest love during this holiday season,
Chandi

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Come gather round. stories, and music for families

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

It's time for a story. 



Its been awhile since I have put my attention on sharing my favorite stories for young children.  It is that time of year again when we focus in on the holidays and we want to give as special gifts for our love ones. This book is so sweet for all the budding musicians in your life.

This month's classroom favorite is: Mole Music by: David McPhail (here is a link to the illustrations and the book being read.)




Mole has always led a simple life.  One day on the television he sees a man playing the violin.  This inspires him to order a violin and start practicing himself.  At first he is terrible, but over the years as he keeps practicing he gets better and better.  He dreams of playing for others and little does he know — he is.  Mole’s persistence at playing the violin is inspiring and beautiful. There are actually two stories happening in this book. David McPhail creates the illustrations of mole's life under the ground and simultaneously how his music effects all life,above his home. It brings cheerful smiles to the reader on each page. 


This book is a beautiful way that I like to teach music in my classroom. Music is the channel of vibration  and how powerful it is to uplift our thoughts and consciousness.

 We were very fortunate to have the distinguished David Eby join us at the Living Wisdom School of Seattle this past month. He and others, shared with us a direct experience of music and vibration.






 David is a director, cellist, teacher and writer exploring connections between music and consciousness  He is living his dream to bring together spiritually minded musicians and intentionally creating inspiring
 performances of great masterpieces.



" The highest role of music is to inspire and uplift consciousness — to give us an experience of something greater than ourselves."



When I feature a book on my blog I never want to give the story away, but you can be sure it is about creating an experience while listening to music and expanding our awareness to something greater than our selves. 

Collage inspired by the story, Mole Music by Chandi Holliman
"A person’s magnetism is an expression of his consciousness. Improve your magnetism by infusing everything you do with positive thoughts and energy. The more joyful and loving your consciousness, the more uplifting will be your magnetism." 
Swami Kriyananda 


This is a beautiful video I just found. I would like to share with you.  Deeply inspiring. 

As I conclude this month, please visit "Inside Out," later this month and I will compile some new suggestions for all your holiday gift giving.

Aum, Shanti

Chandi

 





Friday, November 15, 2013

Spiritual quote for the week


I came across this spiritual quote during the week, and I felt inspired to share with one of my photos.

" When one realizes God, he no longer feels that others are different from himself.
Paramhansa Yogananda

Take this into your meditation for the weekend.

Have a good weekend all. 

Blessings and Gratitude,
Chandi







Peace gave us the seasons

Pictures taken by: Patricia de Anguera 
The fall leaves for most of us are now just a passing memory for this season.
 Each fall brings such a beauty as every tree, branch, and bush displays its own 
unique luminosity.
Every morning on my drive to work, I watched the world change right before me. 
 Around every corner was yet, another tree, of brilliant radiance.

This fall had so many magical moments with my classroom too. The children really opened up to the world of fall and all its beauty. I received comments from my parents about their daily outings with the children and how we were all experiencing this season of beauty together. 

   The thought kept murmuring in my mind;"Surely,the light today in this tree has to be more beautiful than the one I saw yesterday? "

Fall has to be my favorite season of the year?"

The colors are so beautiful. This fall has filled my heart with such deep love, gratitude and with a humble heart I can surrender more easily to that greater power of spirit all around us. 


Or then again, is it winter with the sparkling snow or maybe springtime with the delicate cherry blossoms falling like a delicate floral snow showers. Is this my favorite season?
As I chuckle I can recall so vividly this past summer photo a day project, with large warm beds of lavender aroma that filled my soul to the core?" I just cant make up my mind which season I like the best. . 
I have had the thought that all this beauty is from an astral memory. You may begin to ask, what is an astral memory? "The astral universe, made of various subtle vibrations of light and color, is hundreds of times larger than the material cosmos."
What type of a memory can linger so long in our hearts? What type of memory 
opens up all our senses by looking at these astral colors of leaves? This is beginning to feel like a heavenly memory that can touch us so deeply and we can experience it at any moment during our day.

Several days after meditation, I pondered all these thoughts while having a  
daily shower of beauty opening up every part of my being. 

I am not sure I will ever really know from my rational mind. But I can reveal in sharing 
this deep inner love with my students and all whom I come in contact with. It comes from 
a deeper sense of knowing something that is beyond myself. The deepest longing 
of the soul is to feel that spirit everywhere. 

In my classroom this month,  I have been teaching one of the original 
One of the little boys in our class was outside under the large maple trees. 
He gently, looked up to the sky, the meadow, and began to chant:"I get it now,"as if 
light-bulb, went off in his mind. 
"God is everywhere. Everywhere you look." How profound this statement
for a four year old. How long did it take all of us to realize this?
I know for me, it took a very long time. 

I leave you with that thought of inspiration and I hope that 
your experience of Divine Mothers presence this fall was as angelic as
ours was in the Pacific Northwest. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guest Post :Join us in welcoming Kalamali Liguori from Ashram Girl in the City

Today is a guest post by Kalamali Liguori from: 

"Ashram Girl in the City" 


I find all of her blogs, entry's and videos inspiring for all of us to use in our daily lives. 
If you are a mother, teacher, student, auntie, father, or grandmother I hope you can join us as we spread the light together. Please welcome her this week to: Inside Out!

Ashram Girl in the City is an inspirational blog to help bring spiritual teachings into daily life. It has articles on health and healing, yoga and meditation, videos, photos, a resources list, spiritual quotes, and more to help you on your journey.

Here is one of her latest entree blogs and videos below.

Why You Should Dedicate Today to Divine Mother

santa cruz california, santa cruz tourist activities, santa cruz nature, santa cruz whales, santa cruz anchovies, santa cruz beaches, santa cruz monarch butterflies
Santa Cruz, California
Yesterday I started the day by asking Divine Mother to be with me and give me a day just for her. I asked her to show me the perfect Divine Mother Day, dedicating the entire day just to Her. I have lived inSanta Cruz, California all my life, and never before have I seen so many examples of her beauty and grace. I saw seven miracles yesterday in total. And I hope that by sharing them with you, you too will be inspired to have your own Divine Mother Day.
The day began with a beautiful morning walk as the sun rose along the beach in Capitola. During the entire walk I asked for Divine Mother to be with me that day, and to open my heart to feel her joy and love. I walked all the way down the beach to my favorite place where I usually like to do my yoga exercises and practice morning meditation in the healing rays of the sunrise. The place where I usually go is a bit hidden, and not many people choose to climb down the hillside where I go, so close to the breaking waves. This morning I had it all to myself, and the sun happened to be shining on the water with a line of sunshine heading directly toward me. I felt the warmth and let it soak in all over , awakening my body cells and helping me to start my day right.
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Humpback Whale
After I finished meditating I gazed out across the ocean. To my surprise my gaze led me straight to the spouting of a humpback whale (Miracle #1). Yes. A whale! And not just this one whale, in fact, that day there were a pod of about 20 humpback whales in the ocean just in front of me. They were off in the distance, but not far enough away that I could not see their spouts jetting out of the water and their flippers dancing in the wind just as if to wave “hello!”
In all my life growing up in Santa Cruz, I have never come close to anything like that moment.
After I was finished being amazed, I walked home to be with my divine mother on Earth– my mom, and she suggested that we head off to visit the Monarch Butterflies of Natural Bridges State Park.
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Monarch Butterflies
The monarch butterflies migrate every year just around this time (October) to nest in the warm sunny Santa Cruz. The butterflies are like flowers with wings, fluttering about busily yet with such a stillness and calm strength about them unlike anything else. They just cover the area so that everywhere you look (Miracle #2)– you see a beautiful orange flashing across the gentle blue skies. Sometimes they flutter solo, sometimes in pairs, and other times they gather together in big bunches on the eucalyptus trees.
My mom and I just sat together looking up and watching silently as they fluttered overhead.
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Red Shouldered Hawk
Then I heard the screeching of a hawk in the nearby trees. I immediately began scanning the trees for this hawk, hoping to see a red tailed hawk. Red tailed hawks have always been a special sign in nature to me, as they have signified important moments and big changes in my life.
I kept my eyes on the spot where I heard the call, and finally saw the beautiful moment where the hawk spread its wings, calling to its friend across the grove. I had never before seen this kind of hawk. I learned later from a park ranger that it was a red shouldered hawk (Miracle #3). These hawks are like the monarch butterflies in that each year, they travel afar and then return to the same place to nest.
After a delicious and healthy lunch I went home to join my dad for a paddle boat outing we had planned the day before. We knew it was going to be another bright, sunny day– and wanted to spend it out on the water.
When we arrived we heard that the harbor was just finishing a giant anchovie clean up. Every so often, there is an influx of the anchovie population, in which too many anchovies enter into the confined space of the harbor, use up all the oxygen, and eventually begin to die out. Though the harbor crew and clean up volunteers had already left, there were still hundreds of seagulls swarming the entire harbor, feeding upon thousands of anchovies. I had never been able to see them up so close, practically right on top of our boat, and I could see them literally begin to take off for flight by running on top of the water (Miracle #4). 
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Sea Lion
As we continued paddling further out into the harbor, we saw Miracle #5: a pack of sea lions rolling and playing together in a group of nearly 12! My dad and I had never seen them doing this, let alone right in front of us! They apparently will band together to frighten the groups of anchovies together so that they may then feed upon them. Right after this, I saw Miracle #6– a huge swarm of anchovies that flew up onto the surface of the water, practically flying, with beautiful silver rays of light playing in the sun.
Then to our left a pair of sea otters floated right next to us (Miracle #7), tummies up, playful cute faces looking toward us curiously. They hung around us showing us their moves– beautiful spins, twists and turns with the water, deep dives, and big smiles!
And these were just a few of the sea mammals that joined us in the harbor that day (adorable harbor seals, majestic pelicans, and more)!
There may have been many more miracles happening that day, but so small and sweet that I hardly even thought to count them. That is the way that Divine Mother is. She is there with us, giving us even the smallest things–hardly noticeable as we rush about our days. But she does this because she wants us each to know that she is always with us, just waiting patiently for us to see her and let her in. So that we begin to feel her presence everywhere. All she wants is for us to feel her love and to share that love with all.
So why don’t you try it for yourself? Ask her for a Divine Mother Day, dedicated just to her nature and the miracles of her beauty and grace.

Lets end with one of her videos:
Namaste,
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.  





Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Free Book Giveaway; Two years later.

                                                                               
My very first blog in August of 2011
To August of 2013.

I began my blogging journey in August 2011. I was one of the very first Education for Life teachers to take the leap of faith after researching how to write a blog for about a year. Actually it was just getting up the nerve to write. Who would read it? What would I call it? Are others even interested in a different point of view when educating the whole child through the Education for Life principles? Would anyone be willing to listen to my inner dialog or chatter about alternative lifestyles? 

 One hundred and fifteen entries later, and well as they say, the rest has been history. Our small group of teachers are now expanding all around the globe. Many of our teachers are expanding on their own blogs.( These are at the side panel on this blog) 
We had our second Education for Life Conference this summer at our Living Wisdom College campus. It has been so wonderful connecting with educators in India, Australia,  England, New York, Oklahoma, Canada, Italy, well there are too many to remember exactly. It has been an exciting time. 

This past month in the history of my blog, I had over 1600 readers. It is mind blogging. Where do you all come from?
This was a record for one month. 

So I would like to thank you for sharing this journey with me. 

I will be having a free drawing  for one of two selected books :
 and  
I am attaching the links for you to read a review about each book. 

After one week, I will have a drawing for this book. The only catch is that you have to add your name at the comments below and how I can contact you. This will be so helpful. Please let me know why you would love to receive one of these books? 

Thank you again for reading and returning to my blog. I am humbly grateful and glad that I could share. 

Joy to you,
Chandi

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