Highlights from a past class

adding handfuls of happiness to the world – caring for the environment

Guiding children in mindfulness

The theme this week was “Caring for the Environment”. It was wonderful to hear the children share about recycling, picking up other people’s litter (and of course not littering themselves!) and other ways in which they try to care for Mother Earth. There was much talk on how to save water which is of course a critical point at the moment for all of us living in the Cape. It warmed my heart to see how in touch these little souls are with our planet and its needs.

In a recent walk in Newlands Forest, I found some interesting bits of nature – a leopard spotted leaf, a furry pine cone scale, a hard seed that looks like a fairy’s balloon and a few other things. We passed the pieces around and each child got to smell, feel and notice each item. We took a moment to recognise how incredible and beautiful nature is.

I then read the children the most wonderful book called “in the forest” by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud. It is an intricate pop-up book with an important message about the importance of nature for us and for animals. It is beautifully illustrated and I heard many ooohs and aaaahs when reading the story ?

We then moved into some mindful artwork by making rain shakers. The children amazed me with the results! Such glorious creations with beautiful, calming sounds. There was some fine motor skill involved when the children needed to push split pins into the cardboard tubing. Before the lessons, I had made some holes in each tube so that it was a bit easier for the kids to push in the split pins. We then put a handful of kidney beans into each tube and close it tightly. The children could then choose from a variety of coloured paper, coloured wool, oil pastels and khokis to decorate their rain shakers.

I allowed each child to only take one piece of wool of each colour. If they wanted more of a particular colour, I suggested they swop / bargain with a neighbour. It was wonderful to see the communication that ensued and the resulting kindness. It was a non-threating environment for the children to practise communication and negotiation, and to share and help each other.

While the children worked on their rain shakers, I played some background nature sounds. The result was a wonderfully, calm and peaceful space where the creativity simply flowed!

It was a wonderfully creative week and hopefully our rain shakers will encourage the heavens to bless us with much needed rain this coming week.

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