Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

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

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:

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!

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.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

I am the bubble, make me the sea.

I am the bubble make me the sea..
Make me the sea,
Make me the sea.
Wave of the sea, dissolved in the sea
Wave of the sea, dissolved in the sea.
Oh, I am the bubble make me the sea.

The "wave of the sea", is our very last celebratory unit that we participate in our classroom. 

For the past 11 years, I had started the tradition of taking the children to the Puget Sound for our all school field trip.This year was no exception.  The Puget Sound is only fifteen minutes from our school. 
.  The children explored the Puget Sound seashore at low tide with teachers, parents, grandparents and friends.  

The next day in the classroom, I wanted the children to recreate the living tide pools that they saw. 

This is a two day project and begins with mixing:

3-4 cups of white flour
Enough dough to make the dough very sticky
One rectangular cardboard piece

Have the children apply the sticky flour to their cardboard

Let this dry flat in a cool space until the next day. 

So fun, sticky hands. 
The next day in class we all began to look at the pictures that we had taken from our 
the previous day at the beach. 

The children were reminded about all the tide pools and sea life they had viewed.

I gave them their dried play dough boards and we mixed several colors of paints. 
They were able to paint several textures and colors with sponges .
Textured sea stars were also added with a hot glue gun. 

I think their creations came alive and very real. 

Below is a chant written by Parmhansa Yogananda and is chanted by Swami Kriyananda in the 1950's 

We love this chant at the Living Wisdom School. We use this song particularly during this unit and our children know it well. It is often requested to sing repeatedly.

 I will leave you this evening with this beautiful chant. 

Blessings all

Sunday, June 2, 2013

" Blowing in the Wind", a year of crafts in review.

This is the time of year when teachers begin to look back, reflect and gather their experiences together through out this past year.   

Just as a dandelion germinates from a tiny seed, the dandelion forms a long hollow stalk with its flower on top. The dandelion flowers change and develop into tiny seeds. The seeds are attached to structures that are shaped like parachutes called pappuses. When the wind blows the pappuses carry the seeds for miles. Then the seeds land and the cycle begins all over again under the right conditions.  

Thus too, are the children in our classrooms. As tiny seeds they begin to form beautiful flowers and then as the winds of the spring approach, the children like seeds float into the their new schools and classrooms. 
As I have grown accustomed to saying good bye each year, I know these little seeds will be nourished in their new garden classrooms by the deep foundations that were planted at the Living Wisdom School.

This entry today is about remembering all the many great projects, and crafts over this past year.
I am not sure who all my readers are on this blog, but I can only guess that you are early childhood educators, parents, and grandparents. 

There are so many great activities it was hard to edit, but I will do my best to share the most meaningful.

We start every year with the "All the World is my Friend Unit."
These are our very first self portraits that hang above their cubbies in the hallway. 
These are globes that are made with form, tape and then art plaster added to each round ball. These are  then dried and painted. The process above is the first stage before plastering.  The children take them home for their home altars or nature tables. 
I wish I could take the credit, but this came from our Kindergarten/1st grade class. I love it.  So great for birthday displays in the classroom setting.
This was the world and our hands. I love murals and how they immediately invite all to work cooperatively. These are their hands that were traced and displayed for our first curriculum night. The children loved this. 
This was our community map. The children worked  together mapping the direction of their homes to the school.  I have found  it is a very usual tool for the parents . This allows the parents to see where their classmates live. Small houses were attached to their 3-D structure. It was displayed flat on a table in the main hallway

We began our fall tree unit.This is our 3-D forest in the hallway.
 Each child painted their version of a fall tree from looking outside our classroom window.
What beautiful memories in Nature.

From the apples we picked we made fun fruit pies for a birthday party. I love to cook in my classroom. Each child selects a card and that is their contribution to the day's cooking project.
These were our alphabet  pretzels. We made these several times. Yum.

This was one of the simplest projects but to a young child so fascinating. This was a very simple paper plate folded into four parts. Small dots of paint were added to one side/ or around the plate. The children then folded them and what a surprise it was when they re- opened their plate. These simple mandalas were decorations for our all school fundraiser.

These were our Thanksgiving gratitude pots.

The holidays were upon us.

 We started the journey of the"Tomten" to all the far away counties and farms.

Each day we traveled to a new country which was our theme for the day. We enjoyed many celebrations.
The children reflected on the deeper meaning of the holidays. 

Celebration of Saint Lucia day 

 Our  New Years boats and setting off our wishes for the New Year. 
Making our boats
Wishing stones from our blessing New Year's cake. Each rock is wrapped individually and baked in a cake. 
I paint rocks in the classroom frequently for teaching all types of  inner qualities. 

Queen of Tarts day on Valentines Day. What a fun game this is. Giving tarts to all the students at Living Wisdom School. The queen never knew what happened. 

100 day activities were a highlight in our classroom. 

Getting ready for our art show. Georgia O'Keeffe. These were made by making a petals from cardboard. The children then added their petals around the paper by tracing. Then black sharpie was used. The next stage was water-coloring in the background, then the foreground. These will be memorable for our families.  
Our watercolor portraits added to jewels with ModPodge. 

Our Monet garden bridge for our art show. One of our fathers gave us a hand with making this beautiful structure for our art show. 
 Here it is at the Art Show, with the pond, willow tree, fish and lily pads. This was the all school project. Each class added to the exhibit at Monet's Garden. 

More flowers for the art show garden. I wrote about this on a previous blog post. 

What would our class be without celebrating the full moon each month. This is from our Equinox celebration. Sun and Moon are equal, happy spring. 

 Equinox Cards made for their bedrooms.

We make crowns for all our celebrations or something for our heads. 
All the children made their own birthday crowns to wear on their special day. 

This was a wonderful week on healing. 

This year our children made Mother's Day statues of their favorite thing they like to do with their mom. 

 I know I got this from Pinterst so I cant take credit for it. Each paper was water-colored with the moon shaded with another piece of cardboard. When the picture was dry the cardboard was removed.  In order for children to get the stars very small I had an idea to take a small piece of cardboard and hole punch a small hole in it. Several holes were actually cut in the cardboard. Then the children could draw through the hole a small star onto their picture. The ladders were made from small sticks from Starbucks. I took a picture of each child climbing a small ladder. I  printed the picture and cut them small to fit the ladder. 
They love their "Moms" to the moon and back. 

This has been a very meaningful year and I am filled with the seeds of gratitude as these little ones float to their new homes.