• Peace
    Building Community,  Calm,  Evenmindedness

    Changing Directions

    Each Monday morning, the elementary and middle school classes gather together for Inner Joy Circle. It is an experiential gathering that helps build school community and aims to give the children a deeper experience of themselves. The planning is done in the flow learning style and takes into account what is happening in the natural world as well has current events. Today’s current event was the mass shooting in Las Vegas. I noticed that the impact of the tragedy affected my thoughts and those of the parents and staff that I met before Inner Joy Circle. A parent shared with me that it was Gandhi’s birthday and she chose to…

  • circle time
    Appreciation,  Calm,  Education for Life,  Experiential learning,  Focused Attention,  Meditation,  Teaching Spiritual Principles

    Circle Time

    Every morning, in every Living Wisdom School classroom from preschool to middle school, the school day begins the same way​. ​ Circle Time is a ​special part of the day for the class to come together in unity, set the intention for the day, share and support one another, and s​end​ collective well-wishes to friends, family, and all of humanity.​ A short meditation is part of each classroom’s Circle Time. ​For our ​Preschool and Kinder​garten classes,​​ a highlight of Circle Time is being a “Shining Star.” Each day a new student is a Shining Star, taking turns in this role to lead the blessing, “light” the candle, and be a…

  • drawing
    Appreciation,  Calm,  Education for Life,  Energy,  Experiential learning,  Focused Attention

    “I like how things are right now!”

    Our Middle School teacher, Matthew Fredrickson, shares a moment from his classroom. On what seemed like an ordinary Monday morning in our Middle School classroom, one of the sixth grade girls smiled cheerfully as she looked at me and said, “I like how things are right now!” For a moment, I didn’t comprehend her meaning. What, the stories? I wondered to myself. The children were crafting stories using their new vocabulary word list-nothing unusual for a Monday morning. The intent serenity of the room was occasionally, and thoughtfully, interrupted with questions about content, phrasing, grammar, or spelling. Smatterings of friendly chatter would follow for a minute or two until gradually,…

  • Michelle and Becky
    Appreciation,  Body Awareness,  Calm,  Conscious Parenting,  Energy,  Nurturing

    Joy Juice

    At Living Wisdom, we use Conscious Discipline, the work of Dr. Becky Bailey, as a complementary tool in working with children. Two of our staff members attended a "Building Resilience in Classrooms" training with Dr. Becky Bailey this past October. Michelle Mall, our school secretary, was so inspired by the training that she's been sending out weekly emails to share...

  • feeding horse
    Body Awareness,  Calm,  Nature,  Teaching Spiritual Principles

    Ahimsa and Chickens

    There was much talk swirling around after the Family Retreat this past summer at Laurelwood. Nitai Deranja, who started the first Living Wisdom School, did most of the teaching and inspired the many families who were there. I wasn't there, but heard about how he taught Ahimsa, and I knew I needed to try that with my class of 1st and 2nd graders. Ahimsa is the term for the practice of non-harming or non-violence...

  • teacher helen holding student
    Calm,  Education for Life,  Energy,  Teachers

    Teaching to Make a Difference

    This year, we have 3 interns at Living Wisdom School who are studying at Ananda College to become teachers. They have been spending 2 days a week in our classrooms observing and teaching a few lessons. In this post, one of the interns, Bardia Behmard, shares some of his reflection from the past 2 months. What is it that makes teachers want to teach? I have thought about this question for quite a while as I’ve been watching Living Wisdom teachers in action. Every Tuesday and Friday, (the days I come over to observe the classrooms) I try to answer this question. I notice a fire in the teacher’s eyes…

  • Melissa and class
    Calm,  Meditation

    Pasta Meditation

    Here’s a mindfulness/meditation activity from Nitya Ferrari, who taught last spring at the Living Wisdom School in Assisi, Italy. Originally, this activity was done with beans at the LWS in Nevada City, CA, but Nitya gave it a distinctly Italian flavor. At LWS in Nevada City, Narani did a “quiet time” activity that worked very well.  The children wore blindfolds while sitting on the floor.  They were given each a handful of beans.  The beans were of 4 distinct shapes (garbanzo, large white beans, small black beans and pinto beans).  The task was to sit quietly with eyes closed behind the blindfolds and separate the beans into 4 piles in…

  • Calm,  Energy,  Nurturing,  Transitioning

    Read Alouds and Energy

    Reading aloud is a major part of Primary class time and I use picture books to spark interest in a new subject, to deepen understanding, or just to be silly. Lately, I’ve been exploring using read-alouds as a tool to shift energy in the classroom. One day, the students came in from a PE where there had been some conflict. Their hurt feelings carried over into the classroom and the endless he-said-she-said began as soon as they got in the room. One student curled up and wouldn’t say a thing except and occasional “no I didn’t!” at the top of her lungs. Communication had broken down, and aside from endless…

  • playdough
    Body Awareness,  Calm,  Music,  Nurturing,  Transitioning,  Water

    Calming Energy with Music

    Usha tells a story in Calm and Compassionate Children about a time that she chose to use music in the classroom to change energy, rather than talking and ordering students about. The students had come in from recess, many arguing and up in arms about something that had happened on the playground. This is a very familiar scene to most teachers, as often simple playground disagreements start to expand to more and more students until most of the students are involved in the dispute. Rather than go straight to talking, Usha suggested that they drink some water, and sit silently for 5 minutes while they drank and relaxed. She put…