Highlights from a past class

holiday workshop (jul 2017, day 2) – hearing

Guiding children in mindfulness

We started off the class today with a fun name game. I have a big, brightly coloured ball of wool that zig zagged its way through the circle with each child calling out the name of the next person they wanted to pass it to. There were a couple of “what’s your name again?” moments but the group is definitely starting to connect. Once the ball had been completely unwound, we marvelled at the cool spider’s web that had been formed. We did some lovely deep breathing exercises while lifting the colourful web up and down.

Today the lesson was about drawing attention to the present moment through sound. We spoke about how some people like loud noise while others prefer quiet. It is a valuable insight for children to be aware of how auditory sensitive they are and how much noise they can tolerate. And then what they can do when their threshold is reached.

We looked at how the ear works. We paid particular attention to the cochlear because of its beautiful spiral shape. We then thought about other things in nature that also have a spiral shape – snail shells, millipedes when they curl up, chameleon’s tails and more. It was wonderful to think that we each have two of our very own spiral shapes inside our ears. We then played a game where I showed the children pictures of various spiral shapes and they each had a chance to guess what they were – ranging from whirlpools to cinnamon buns to spiral staircases.

I then brought out my stethoscope – the real deal! – and each child had a chance to listen to their own heartbeat. It was lovely to see the awe and delight on hearing their very own heart beating! This is a wonderful mindful exercise to help the children draw their attention inward. It was interesting how they each verbalised their heartbeat rhythm in a different way with a slightly different beat. It seemed that in the class today, no two heartbeats were the same ?

The next exercise we did, involved a variety of musical instruments, including a tambourine, a rain shakers, some bells and a variety of other shakers. The object of the exercise was to pass all the instruments around the circle without any of them making a noise. It took great concentration and team work to achieve but the kids did well. They even came up with tips and tricks to stop any sound, which they joyfully shared with the group.

We then moved into a sound meditation. With the children sitting or lying down, we closed our eyes and focused on noises in the distance – cars on the freeway, distant voices, banging and drilling from the building site down the road. We then focused on noises just outside the room such as birds singing in the trees. After that, I asked the children to focus their attention on noises inside the room such as the person shuffling next to them. Finally, I asked them to focus on any internal noises and the breath. This is a wonderful meditation for children. Almost all children respond well and are eager to listen for the sounds. Today was no exception and all the children participated well – eager to share what they had heard, especially the various noises from the building site down the road.

Our art activity for the day was making our very own drums. The children coloured some wonderful designs which they stuck onto an empty tin. They covered the top and bottom of the tin with felt. They then practised their fine motor skills by threading wool through the felt and adding beads on a few of the strands. I think I over reached slightly with this activity and much assistance was needed with the threading but they all seemed really pleased with their final product.

We then ended off the class with a Listen and Repeat exercise. Each child had a chance to tap out a short pattern on their drum which we then repeated as a class. Great fun!

So, another good day in using the senses to help us bring awareness to the present moment.