Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"
Showing posts with label Education for Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education for Life. Show all posts

Monday, May 26, 2014

Searching within! Finding Happiness Movie

What a whirlwind this spring has been. Since completing my Ananda Yoga Teacher Training this spring, the days were increasing in light, but I have found myself mindfully connecting closer to my heart, and internally slowing down while listening to the inner callings of my soul. Thank you for continuing to read my past entries and sharing this with your friends and colleagues. I find the internet so fascinating and how we can connect globally all around the world with others that I may never have the opportunity to meet personally. I am viewing this blog as a divine service to others in sharing the Education for Life ideals, and Sharing Nature philosophy that I have grown to call my life's dharma. 

I am here to introduce today, a beautiful project that I am asked to get involved by connecting others through social media. This entry today is to invite others to watch the recently produced; Finding Happiness movie.

For the past 20 years I have been apart of a large spiritual community called "Ananda." I found Ananda after developing my intuition through self taught meditation, and deep prayers during a particular challenging transition in my early 40's. I have been so blessed in developing life long friendships, spiritual family along with the benefit of deepening my spiritual longing to find truth and meaning in my life.

Recently in the past two years Ananda has been involved in a more outward ways by sharing the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, and his mission of spiritual communities. They have recently produced a beautiful movie, which I am attaching in the right hand column of this blog. There is a link to the trailer to view, and directions on how to actually host your own gathering of friends and sharing this streaming movie in the privacy of your own home. .

Are you seeking truth and depth in your spiritual life? For connections to other like minded souls to grow in  deeper spiritual understanding?

Please take some time to watch the movie: Finding Happiness, and share it with others.

Any questions that you may have, you may direct them to me on this blog, or contact Ananda.

May your light in this world be every guided from within. 

Blessings, Chandi

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 :
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,

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

Friday, May 10, 2013

"Infinite Mother of us all"

A Mother's Love

Though the miles come between us
As we fumble our way along
The paths- we like to think we choose
And through the years grow shorter
Filled with memories-Some we hold to dearly
And some we'd like to lose,
Still, that first of life's many loves,
That of a mother for her child
Shines brightly from within- to remind us of the 
Infinite Mother of us all
Who dwells within and silently calls to us.....
Come home to Me now!
   Original poem by: Joel Holliman

About nine years ago after the Living Wisdom Preschool began, I wanted to create an event at the school, just for the children to express their love for Divine Mother. Divine Mother is the feminine divine aspect of God. 

In working with children, our earthy mother it is simpler way for children to open up to the Divine Mother. I like to start in baby steps for each child. As they feel the love deeply for their mother, they can feel it for their immediate family, their grandparents, their friends mothers, and then reach out to other mothers across the globe. 

"The task of education is to attract children toward maturity- that is, toward including other's realities in their own."

The event at the Living Wisdom School is celebrated today by all the children. The children have the opportunity to cook, draw their mother's portrait for the hall of mothers, and by answering creative writing questions like:"What makes your mom perfect?" It is the direct experience by which our children can rise  above their likes and dislikes thus allowing them to think of others first. 

Each year I am given the precious moment of photographing this event.  I am in awe of the intimacy of photographing mothers and their children. I am humbled by this experience. Their souls just seem to melt  right together as one in front of my camera lens.

I am sure that you will agree from some of the photos below, the depth of divine love which pours through each family.

May this Mothers Day be our reminder in deep stillness of the"Infinite Mother"
 who dwells in all of us.
Happy Mothers Day!

In joy to you,

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.

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,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guest Post: Elizabeth Aguilar

 This evening as a guest post, I am delighted to feature one of my colleagues, Elizabeth Aguilar from: Education for Life in Public Schools. Elizabeth teaches 6th grade language arts (English), social studies (history), and art.  On an average day she has 30 students per class and teaches 2 - 3 different sets of students for a total average of 60 -90 students. Elizabeth has taken on teaching Education for Life, in a public classroom setting and has inspired us as a pioneer for Education for Life.  I hope you enjoy her latest post below. She is an inspiration to us all. Thank you, Elizabeth.

 A Festival of Light

   We have wonderful diversity of cultures and traditions represented at our school.  Our students’ families are from all over the world every continent is represented except Antarctica.  Therefore, the holiday season means different things to different students.  We honor these different traditions in many ways at our school, specially in this last week before our Winter Break.  In my classroom I wanted to focus on the shared tradition of “Light” during this time of the year.  So many cultures and traditions have Light as a theme in their holidays.  Most even have some sort of “Festival of Light”.  Well, in Social Studies we are still in ancient Egypt so I was curious.  Did the Egyptians have a Festival of Light?  To my great surprise they did.  Herodotus, a Greek historian in BC tells of the festival of Lychnocaia, “the lighting of lamps”.  Lamps were lit in rows on the outside of houses around this time of the year to help Osiris find his way back from the underworld.

    I shared this information with my students.  I also found some wonderful pictures of the different expressions of light in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as the story of Egypt and light in the natural world.  We brainstormed to understand what Light symbolized.  The students thought it symbolized: peace, happiness, life, power, energy - these were their words.  I told them that I wanted us to experience some type of celebration of Light but that I knew we could not have lit candles in school since it would be a fire hazard.  We could, however,  have a string of lights.  Thanks to help from Erika Glazzard, a fellow EFL teacher, I had come up with a lovely plan.  We would make a walking spiral of light that would lead the students to its center where they could pick up a glass stone that would symbolize a personal excellence quality that they wanted to nurture in themselves in the coming year.  I needed a focal point of light at the center so I brought in an angel that I had from my daughters' childhood.

     The visual experience of having the lights on the floor was beautiful.  It was like walking inside our Milky Way Galaxy.  I played Pachelbel’s Canon in D for music in the background as each student made their own way into the heart of the lights.  After every one had a turn we sat around and had a few minutes of silence as we all tried to expand our own heart’s light.  I’ve asked the students to keep their glass stone to remind them of that special quality that they want to nurture in themselves.

I am a public school teacher in northern California.  I teach 6th grade language arts (English), social studies (history), and art.  This past summer I participated in Education for Life workshops and activities.  I was so excited by what I learned that I wanted to try it in my classroom and document how the EFL principles translate into the public school system.  It’s an on going great adventure that is turning out to be fun and rewarding

 Are you a public school teacher and want to see how these teachings can be applied in a public school setting? Follow Elizabeth at:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Memories that last a lifetime . Saint Lucia Celebration

Today in our prekindergarten classroom we began our morning watching this video and singing together.  I wanted to awaken the children to one of the European festivals that is celebrated every year on December 13th. Today marks the celebration of Saint Lucia from Sweden. Lucia seems to have taken on many stories passed down over generations but above all, the more positive role, as a symbol of light in the dark Swedish winters and as a symbol of growth for man. She is a figure who emerged from obscurity at a time when light and nourishment were most needed.

When I was a small girl growing up in Bellevue, Washington one of the most memorable Christmas's celebrations was when I was playing the piano at my very first recital. As a Education for Life teacher now I have tried to recreate these holiday experiences each year for our children. These celebrations and ceremonies provide a beautiful foundation for children to experience others realities and world cultures outside of their own. It can touch their souls and add a greater depth to their spiritual lives.

This is such a beautiful ceremony. We calmed the lights through the school hall, sang, and gave each child a candle as we walked into each classroom. This year the prekindergarten, kindergarten, first, and second graders all participated in the processional.  Our Saint Lucias, lead the way and passed out our Swedish cinnamon treats.

All the children felt inspired, beautiful in their white attire and uplifted by this sacred event.  They told me they felt like angels. These are what true memories can bring for  the young child and can last a lifetime.

God Jul,
Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

May this day be merry and bright

 At this time of the year children begin to ask all types of interesting questions. Isn't it fun?
 You can see their little minds are just churning away. 

How does Santa Claus really get from the North Pole on a sleigh? Does he really exist? I also love to watch the older children just go along with the fairy tales just to rekindle the familiar warmth of their childhood memories. I can't really remember when my children were told about Santa Claus?  Naturally I try to stay clear of anything commercial in my classroom and inspire the children's imaginations.

I believe that as a parent you just have to be ready each Christmas for that ultimate question and be able to think fast on your feet. Are you willing to tell the truth or play along with the child's imagination of believing in our myths and fables that we are accustomed to during the holidays?

While we were in class this past week, the children began to tell the story of Santa Claus that has been passed down from generation to generation. I was trying to tell them one of the fables that has been told about Saint Nicolas. 
Some of the children blurted out,"They are the same, Chandi." I said. "Santa Claus and Saint Nicolas are the same? Interesting? How do we know?' They all jumped in with their answers. 

I began to tell them that the story of Saint Nicolas is a folktale.  The folktale is a story, passed down verbally from generation to generation. Each storyteller tells the stories a little differently, making them more interesting and fascinating as the ages passed. Different folktales bear the characteristics of the culture, folklore and customs of the people from which they originate.

Intentionally in the Education for Life methodology we try to make teachings practical and real for children. I had to come up with something fast to make my point. This is called a direct experience using a practical method . So all at once I thought of the game,"Telephone". Maybe this will bring out the point of teaching about fables and folktales. 

I had all the children gather in a circle. I started the game, gently whispering a small part of the Saint Nicolas story immediately to my right. Then that child told the story to the partner on his right, thus continuing around the circle. When it got about half way through the circle, the whispers became completely different. Joyful smiles appeared along with silly glances towards me as they whispered. 

 In our anticipation a new part of the story had just began. As it went completely around the circle, there were many joyful laughs and surprises. The story was always very different from the one that was first whispered. The children love this game and they could quickly experience how a story could change over the course of many years and even centuries. 

Christmas is for the children. I love the familiar stories but also the sheer delight of the little daily experiences that make Christmas magical.  I am blessed to be in their company.

May this day be merry and bright.

Until tomorrow.