Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Peace and Love

Happy Easter!
 May this joyful season of spring bring you a greater depth of peace and love in your hearts.


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!!

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.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A blade of grass

Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling! You scatter all my winter dreams.”
Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling! Song-less  peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”
Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again — and she was a blade of grass.
And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such a noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.”
Khalil Gibran

Today we tried something new in the classroom with the pre-kindergarten class. I wanted to introduce wet wool felting as our handiwork this month. I love the textures, colors, and how the project changes shape right before your eyes. It is very dynamic. I also like to teach children the early stages of non-attachment. Working with wool is a process that has its own life. You have to remain open to the joy that lies before you, not the outcome. It never fails to amaze me the beauty of how felting turns out. 

We began with a fresh batch of wool to touch and feel.

We carefully placed roving wool of all colors of grass into our plastic bags.
We then added hot water, and soap to the wool inside the bags . Carefully we got all the air out and closed the bag tightly. 

Then through pounding and carefully massaging the baggies, the wool felted together like grass in their baggies. 

After each piece is completely felted you rinse out the soap with cold water and let dry on a surface. 
They dry in a day. We are using these for an exhibit at our art show coming up on Saturday. 
Wool felt pieces drying

I guess you will have to come to our art show to see the finished exhibit displayed? 

It’s almost spring and the blades of grass are awakening. 

Joy to you!

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.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Come Gather Round reading for this month

 It's time for a story.

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

This month I want to feature a book that has been given to our classroom by one of the parents at the Living Wisdom School of Seattle.

The title is Om Baby. I was excited to read the cover to find out that Schamet Horsfield lived in Seattle. But when I contacted her, she had moved to New Zealand to spread her vibration and teaching of Om 
Baby there. 

Here is a short video of her reading the story and sharing her inspiration about how she first wrote the book. 

We began reading this at the beginning of the school year. The children love this book and return to it again and again. 

 To extend the learning about communities that Schamet introduces from this book we created our own community maps to connect us all together. This book was instrumental in preparing the class for reaching out to all our friends and family and building community. 
This is the first phase of our community map the children made. They are pasting on their homes to our map.

This is the '3' D map that we finished.  It was on display in the hallway for all our parents to see.

We also visited the local Ananda Community to share in the fall harvest of fruits and vegetables.

I have lived in an intentional community for over 18 years now and it is a way of life for me.

 I love this sweet book and the many conversations, concepts, and ideas that can be shared about communities with our children. They will be the stewards of our planet in this new age.

I hope you enjoy this book along with your family, students, and friends.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What is this life?

The students ask their teacher: What is life about? What should I become in this life? What is my dharma ?
What is truth?

 I just love the picture above. The picture is characteristic of disciples with a great teacher in Satsang, asking the deeper meanings of life, meditation and each one's longer rhythm of service in the world.

                I hope you enjoy this short message from Alan Watts; What if money didn't matter?

I hope that today's message reminds all of us to instill joy in our children's lives and to follow their own inner guidance and intuitions. Thus through inner happiness one 's life can be rewarding and fulfilling.