rubber ducks

Water Off a Duck’s Back

Toby Nirani Moorhouse, the first grade teacher at Ananda Village Living Wisdom School in the Sierra Mountains of California has a classroom routine that allows students to consciously practice non-attachment. This activity is great for younger elementary students, because it brings in the whole class to celebrate and support the practice of non-attachment.

She calls it her Water Off a Duck’s Back activity and shares it here:

The image of water rolling off a duck’s feathers is a fun and vivid way to help young children practice letting go of little upsets. I explain to children that ducks have special feathers with oil that makes the water roll off like beads. They swim and dive, and the water just rolls off their backs.

I teach the students the saying, “Let it roll off, like water off a duck’s back”. Then, I place a small soft duck in a larger dish. The duck could be homemade or purchased. It is important that it be soft or shaped so that a glass jewel slips off of it easily. Fill another dish with water colored glass jewels.

All through the day when a child chooses to let an upset “roll off her back”, she can announce it to the class and then take one of the jewels and place it on the duck’s back. It will immediately roll off of the duck’s back into the dish. At the end of each day, I count all of the jewels so see how many times the class let small things roll off their backs instead of getting upset.

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