Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"
Showing posts with label Book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book review. Show all posts

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



Friday, June 7, 2013

Guest Post on 'Inside Out": Author, Parent, and Healer, Nilanjana Krishnan

My Child, My First Spiritual Teacher -
 an Article by Nilanjana Krishnan

It is a popular belief that our parents are our first teachers 
and I absolutely agree with that notion. Everything was hunky 
dory as long as I was a child (because my parents had to do all
 the worrying ;-)),
 but now that I am a parent, the responsibility of being my child’s 
first teacher is not only immense but also intimidating at times. 
I realized that something needed to change to make parenting enjoyable,
effortless and effective. This called for a shift in perspective – my perspective.

For a very long time I had believed that I, the parent have all the answers that my child needs because a little one is not very likely to know all that I, the adult know. This was my first parenting fallacy! In due course of time I realized that my child has so much to offer and I had hardly ever acknowledged him for the gifts he had given me. My son has shown me what it is to live in the moment and that worrying about the past or the future is futile. He has even demonstrated that we are all one; he treats everyone equally, no matter what race or ethnicity they may belong to. 

Therefore, my new perspective is to allow my child to be my teacher. My child knows as much as or maybe even a little more than I do about life. How do you think I know this to be true for me? Well, so often we adults remind one another to look at the world through the eyes of a child; now why would we say that? I believe that deep down inside every grown-up there is a child waiting to be unleashed. This inner child wants to love unconditionally, trust every person, get curious about every little thing, express every emotion, and be so much more. So I felt that if I surrendered in faith to my child, he would show us the way – the way he would like his life to unfold; the way he would like his family interactions to be; the kind of activities he would love to engage in; the type of friends he would want to bring home; the kind of foods he would like to try, and what not.

Does this mean I let him cross the road alone or let him fix his own breakfast at the stove-top? No, I don’t mean that. I am his custodian; I am responsible for providing his basic needs for physical sustenance. As a caretaker, I also feel responsible for holding the space for letting him be what he is being moment to moment; be his witness and cheerleader as he experiments with his limitless mind and experiences being the free spirit that he is. 

Let me reiterate: I am my child’s custodian only and not his owner. Kahlil Gibran, the famous Lebanese poet and spiritual teacher has written a poetic essay on children in a collection that’s named, “The Prophet” and an excerpt from the poem is as follows:

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

This message resonates deeply with me and I remind myself ever so often to embody the wisdom from this beautiful piece by Kahlil Gibran.

So, have I figured it all out and am I now an infallible parent? All I can confidently state is that I am on a conscious parenting journey for which there is never a destination; the journey is all of it. There are several moments where I temporarily lose my connection with my inner guidance and dump my emotional baggage on my child or state something in anger or frustration. The good news here is that I get the awareness in the moment (or soon after) I display my “not so graceful” emotions, and I am quick to apologize to my son. I also add, “Please remind me to be a better mom. Whenever I get angry please remind me that I can talk to you about it. Also remind me that anger weakens and love strengthens.” This is how I make peace with myself and my son. When the roles get reversed, and my son is throwing a fit or is in a bad mood, I gently remind him to express his emotions in words; and then hold the space for him to express himself.

As you can well imagine, all of this takes a lot of discipline, practice, faith and commitment. What I have learned from a spiritual perspective is that when I set an intention for my state of being (example: being patient, being accepting, being communicative, being confident, etc.), I am able to easily embody that state for as long as I hold that intention. This has helped me a great deal with respect to parenting.

My son has started me on a spiritual journey: a journey that has made me delve within and uncover parts of me, I had never seen before. I am ever so grateful for this boundless spirit housed in a tiny body that has chosen me to be his mother in this life experience, and for handing down gifts that are priceless. I am so glad that our children refuse to be born with user manuals, for if they did, how would we experience our life lessons and what would happen to evolution? :)

About Nilanjana Krishnan: 

Nilanjana lives a life that is an expression and reflection of her life's purpose, which is being the change she wants to see in her children, through living a life in harmony with nature. As an advocate for children--who are the future and hope of our planet--she invites all individuals, families, and institutions that influence our children to join hands in becoming the change first. She extends this way of being to all facets of her life, from choosing the right foods to patronizing eco-friendly and conscious companies that are aware of their impact on our world.
Nilanjana firmly believes that the choices we make in each moment will determine the future we create and bestow on our future generations. She holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master's degree in business administration and has worked in engineering and information technology industries in sales and business development. She is a volunteer with the Distance Healing Network as a Reiki Level 2 healer. Nilanjana lives in Seattle, WA, with her husband Venkatesh and their two lovely boys, Harsha and Rishab

Nilanjana has now just finished her new book; "I know the way"  for families with young children, based on the 2500 year old Chinese Philosophy called the Tao Te Ching. 

Her primary inspiration for this book was Dr. Wayne Dyer (who has also written a book based on the Tao, but for an adult audience

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.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Updated books on Reading Lists best picks; "Inside Out Pages"

January has just flown by. I wanted to share with you my new pages to my site. Just click under the banner to; Reading Lists, best picks.  The newly updated stories  will appear for each month. This month I have posted a favorite video of one of the classic stories I use in the classroom.

I have a student in my classroom who is excelling in reading and enjoying books. He is almost five and is reading on a first grade level. When I asked his mother about it, she was shy and said: "We didn't do a thing".  Now when I visited her home for our classroom/teacher visitation she had the most amazing library.  The whole living room was devoted to reading, snuggling and taking time to be together. It was deeply inspiring. Thorough our sheer magnetism and love for good literature children melt into the ambiance of timeless experiences of reading together.

 Do you have favorite spiritual stories to pass along to me? Write them in the comments below or send them to my Google page.

Grab a child, cuddle up and read. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Come Gather Round...

This is the time of the year when our pre-kindergarten class is sharing experiences around the seasonal activities of winter. I thought that I like to feature a story from one of our classroom activities.

A winter time favorite in my classroom  is: The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen

This is a sweet book  for children ages, 4-8 years with a theme based around, gratitude, generosity, love, and kindness. These are all qualities that I want to teach in our classroom.

The story begins with a widow, Sarah who carefully watches the children outside her living room each morning . The bus stop for school, is at the foot of her driveway.   She notices all the children are wearing new mittens except one little boy. She thinks:" Why isn't he wearing mittens?" That evening Sarah knits a pair of mittens and hangs them on the spruce tree at the end of her driveway.  The little boy notices the mittens  on Sarah's spruce tree and places them on his hands.  Sarah is delighted and begins to surprise all the children each morning, as she knits new mittens, and hangs the pairs on the tree. 

The children secretly become part of her new family. Now in the joyful spirit of giving, someone places a large basket of yarn on Sarah's doorstep. She excepts this spiritual gift just as the children excepts her  handmade mittens. The circle of joy and harmony is like a song of love that is shared by all.

After our morning circle, the children in our class were able to make their own mittens to place on our nature table in our classroom.  Each child's hand was measured and then tiny slats were cut all the way around the mitten.

The children selected the yarn that they wanted to use to decorate their mittens. By holding with their left or right hand, they would wrap the yarn carefully with the opposite hand. As they wrapped different designs were made on the front and back of their mittens, This was such a great eye hand coordination activity for this age group. At the end of the yarn string, they just tucked the end piece into the slat. the children then started to layer a second and third layer to their mitten.

The children then finished and hung their mittens on the winter nature tree in our classroom.

To the sheer delight from all of us, we looked outside and it had began to snow.  So we quickly put on our coats, hats, mittens and ran out on the playground to share in the excitement  of a spontaneous light winter snow shower. 

A perfect ending to a glorious sweet winter morning in Seattle. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

With Beauty before me may I walk.

Christmas week is a time for inner reflection while recapping this past year's documentation on this blog, "Inside Out" and contemplating the beauty that lies before me for the coming year in 2013. 

This past year I have added many new technical experiments to my blog including: YouTube videos, iPhone applications, linking up with new inspiring bloggers and I am thrilled to have upgraded to a new iPhone.

 The iPhone has advanced my skills as a photographer, while enabling my ability to record information to my parents automatically in this new age of technology and energy.

 "Inside Out" has reached almost 11,200 page views that expands the globe. That alone is truly inspiring to me. When I began this blog, I wasn't even sure, if or how anyone would find it. This is what you hear bloggers often say. It takes a level of detachment to write weekly, while putting your heart and your passion on the line. My motto has been: "Well just get over it." Either people will read it or they will pass it by. My blog isn't for everyone.

 I personally would like to thank everyone who has read it this year and shared this blog. Simply passing it along to others is a blessing in disguise. I am deeply humbled and grateful.

I wanted to review this week, the most popular entries since I have started writing in August of 2011. I will start with the top six .

Coming in at number 6 is: Come Gather Round / Books for the holidays.

I am thrilled this years entry made it into my top six. I am glad that my spiritual book list was so popular and actually had an author, Carin Berger contact me personally to thank me. I still will be featuring my, Come Gather Around Series, along with new added pages featuring spiritual books for children and families. New books will be added monthly, as I find them in my travels. Do you have a special spiritual favorite? Let me know about it and I will research the story, to see it can be added on my favorite lists.

Coming in at number 5 is: Accepting a moment in Divine Gratitude

 This entry was life changing personally for me last Christmas and I have dedicated this year to actually practicing living one day of gratitude at a time.  I actually participated in my own experiment this summer at taking a photo a day to document my gratitude.

 This short entry features a mini short film by Louie Schwartzberg. I review this video often because it truly uplifts my spirit. 

Coming in at number 4 is: A week together 
This is another entry that is dear to my heart. This particular entry is all about Education for Life and the Foundation years. I also love to watch how the children have grown in our classroom over the past year using these principals.

 Coming in at number 3 is: We live in joy!

I am happy to announce this Valentine entry and the song highlighted was our "theme song" in our classroom last year. It was written by one of our parents, Eva Tree.  Thank you for listening and reading about our valentine activities.

Coming in at number 2 is: What color is your hearts energy?

This entry has many memories shared in my classroom. The children love to feel their energy in their hearts and expand their love each day to others. Thank you for reading it and sharing in our joy. 

Now here is where a little drum roll happens.....

Coming in at number 1 is:The light is inside each one of us” 

 This is my favorite entry, I have written to date and humbled that it is the most popular.
 It came to me right after a deep morning meditation. I don't take any credit for my writings personally. These are messages from the divine.

I also would like to thank a few very special people who have helped share the message of "Inside Out."

My editor and writing professor  Bekka Davis,   and the Education for Life teachers who share ideas and inspirations together weekly.

 I would also like to thank, Susan Tara Meyer from River Blissed and Sally Haughey from Fairy dust teaching. Susan and Sally are kindred spirits with very successful blogs of inspiration.  I have learned so much from them.

I would also like to thank my spiritual guides, Joseph Cornell from Sharing Nature with Children and Nitai Deranja the founder of the Living Wisdom Schools. Both of these great souls have been a guiding light for inspiration and my service to children and families.

With Beauty before me and behind me as I walk,
The year ahead looks very exciting and promising.

Aum, Shanti,

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Give me a light to light my way!

The holidays are a magical time of year with many celebrations happening all around the globe. Our classroom is not an exception. We are celebrating our theme:" Festivals of the Light." This continues this year through December and part of January.

Last season I shared many holiday celebrations, but since this was my second year with my students, I have created a new format for December.

 At the Living Wisdom School we only have two weeks to share the holiday traditions with our children before our Christmas vacation. I will share daily our festivals as we move through each country. 

We began the week with one of my favorite children's stories. It is taken from the Swedish tradition, about a small elf who travels secretly around the farm, talking with the animals.  He begins his evening with his secret rounds doing his caretakers duties in his gentle, loving way. He whispers encouragement to all the sleeping animals and children. The book has such beautiful captivating illustrations and poems.

  Today I was able to draw some of my own illustrations of the Tomten, and made copies for the children to practice their own pencil drawings.  In Prekindergarten we begin to use our pencils for many small muscle coordination enhancement skills.

The children also drew small foot prints. We have a large world map that the footprints will be glued on as the children follow the Tomten's secret travels around the globe this Christmas. The children love the little Tomten.
  The first holiday celebrated is Saint Nicolas Day, December 6th.   

In the spirit of the Tomten and Saint Nicolas we are playing a game with our stockings. As the children secretly do kind deeds for their friends, small stickers are placed in their stockings. The original stockings originated with these Nordic folklore traditions.  At the end of the next week, the stickers from each stocking will be traded in and counted for special treats and gifts. 

 December 6th is Saint Nicolas day. The children all lined up there own shoes today and placed a small gift for Saint Nicolas and his horse inside each shoe . 

True excitement will happen when the children check their shoes tomorrow morning and see the gifts that Saint Nicolas has left.

Tomorrow we will light the way for the "Tomten", as he journey's once again secretly to another country to explore. Our next destination:Italy.

Tune in tomorrow for what the children and the Tomten learn about Italy's Christmas celebrations.

Blessings all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Come Gather Round/ Books for the Holidays/ Free Giveaway

Christmas is just around the corner and parents are beginning to ask me, "Do you have any suggestions for good spiritual stories for my child?" I have loved children's literature over the years and now many of my favorites I read in my classroom, or at home to my grandchildren. My favorite stories have a theme or a spiritual quality that I'm trying to convey to the children.
There are many things I look for in children's literature. But here are some guidelines that I use when selecting books.  These are some of the questions that go through my mind, when I am quietly selecting a new story. 

         1. Are the illustrations beautiful? Do they uplift the spirit? Do I gain a greater insight from the story 
              through the artwork? Is the technique that the artist's used something we might be able to expand on?  Might the story be used for dramatic play, games, or by exploring additional art techniques? Can it create a week/ month-long theme for learning at home or in the classroom?

         2. Does the story uplift the child's spirit? I have seen some wonderful books that are beautifully 
              illustrated but the story leaves you a tad bit puzzled?
        3.  Do children love it so much they ask for it again and again to read it?. That is the real clincher.

I also do not select books with cartoon, movie or television characters. I am a firm believer in uplifting each child with beauty, color, imagination and uplifting joy. 

We are approaching a mile stone in my blogging history this month. The "Inside Out" blog has almost reached 10,000 page-views. I am so humbled and would personally like to thank each and everyone that has occasionally stopped to read this blog. 

As my thank you, for the person, who I can tell is the 10,000 visitor to read my blog this month I will send one of my favorite books from the list below. Please leave your name with a comment below. Did I leave your favorite book out?

This books I have used several times and have created Education for Life themes around the qualities expressed in the books.

Below are a few of my favorites.                                    Qualities, Themes 

  • All the rainbow fish books   Marcus Pfister                 Friendships, forgiveness, sharing, love
  • Holey Moley              Marcus Pfister                       JOY, love, cooperation,
  • Milo and the Magic Stones   “”                             Choices, joy, service to others
  • The Little yellow leaf   Carin Berger                         Seasons, friendship, expansion
  • Badgers Bad Mood  Hiawyn Oram/ Susan Varley    Friendship, creating good habits
  • Angels, Angels, Everywhere   De Paola                    Love, joy, expansion, wonder 
  • Art Lesson                              De Paola                   JOY, love of art, friendships 
  • Diamonds in the Snow          Marcus Pfister               Light, nature, winter, seasons
  • Gift of Nothing           Patrick McDonnell                  Your presence of love is the gift
  • Just like Heaven            “”           “”                           Love all around us, even on earth
  • Grandfather Twilight        Berger                                Light, wonder, nature
  • Oma's Quilt                     Bourgeois                          Love, change, excepting life
  • Big All Series and Shrimpy  Clements                       True friendships, courage, love
  • Brave Charlotte Anu Stohner and Henrike Wilson    Courage, faith, Do it now, joy 
  • Moles' Music David McPhail                                    Inspiration, music, expansion
  • The Kissing Hand        Audry Penn                            First day / school Mothers love!   
  • You are Special         Max Lucia                                Self esteem,                                                  
  • Each Breath I Smile    Thich Nhat Hahn                     Meditations, nature, peace
  • Great Kapok Tree      Lynne Cherry                          Endangered species, love for all
  • Everybody needs a Rock  Byrd Baylor                     Nature, earth, deep understanding
  • Mother Earth     Sibylle von Olfers                            Earth, contentment, acceptance
  • Story of the Root Children Sibylle von Olfers            The story of the Season
  • Fox makes Friends   Adam Reif                             Friendship book for the beginning of school year
  • Little Yoga (Toddler Book)                                       Yoga Book
  • Gossie and Gertie Oliver Dunrea                                Toddler friendships
  • Photographer Mole Dennis Haseley                           Happiness, joy, families
  • Chubbos Pool        Betsy Lewin                                 Happiness, joy, friendship
  • My love for you all year long                                     Nice collage book on loving.
  • “Little Cloud “          Eric Carles                                Art calmess, peace, stillness
  • Om Baby    Schamet Horsfield                                 Community, Peace, Harmony                    
  • Fletcher and the Falling Leaves  Rawlinson               Fall, love, nature, acceptance
  •   Stone Soup   Jon Muth                                          Building Community, Harmony                  
   For Older Children
  • Monkeys and the Mango Tree                              Indian Stories and Parables
  • Tenzin’s Deer    Barbara Soros                              Harmony, love, wisdom
  • Zen Shorts  Jon Muth
  • Little Secret of Friendship  J. Donald Walters        Focus one a day.                                                
  • The Little Troll     Thomas Berger                          Friendship, service, expansion
  • The Gardener          S.Stewart                              Love, faith, serving,joy under all circumstances      Caldecott Award Winner
  • The Three Questions  Jon Muth                             Expansion,service, harmony, peace          
I hope this can give you a starting point for some new literature to share with your family this holiday season. 

Please leave a comment if I have left your favorite storybook off my list. 
I will continue to write book reviews for these and others on my favorite lists in the coming weeks.