Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Kindness Curriculum Theme 4

April 13th, the one month anniversary of my family's self isolation, was on Monday. It took me a month to get used to the new rhythms and routines, from figuring out food (so glad that Little Egypt Alliance of Farmers - LEAF - delivers!), to what each of my children (age 4 and age 18) needs to help them adjust, to how to share my weekly lesson plans with parent-teachers and teach my group of students online via Zoom session. Now I feel like I have much more energy to get back to things which got dropped in the furor.

One of the things that got put on hold was Zac's Early Childhood class. We've done things together of course, like set up the Spring Nature table (including our new Snowdrop, Crocus, and Forsythia fairies and set of Spring postcards from A Toy Garden) and dye eggs with natural dyes from Nova Natural and make playdough (this recipe is a good one and it is gluten-free, so it's great for children who need that or for families who bought gluten-free flour mix for a recipe and now the rest of the package's sitting around in the freezer).

Zac has done plenty of playing outside in all kinds of weather... and painting and sprinkle dyeing white wool felt with Kool-Aid powder and making wet felted eggs and creating colorful feather collages and doing potato printing... and he seemed happy enough. But when I got out Rhythms on Parade by Hap Palmer and our basket of smoothly sanded driftwood pieces and we did the song "Tap Your Sticks," oh, he was ecstatic. It was a whole new level. He kept asking me if we could do it again and again. He absolutely craved it!

So I think what Zac is really needing is a return to a traditional Circle Time with stories, songs, and movement, as well as doing more complex activities. He has accepted that during The Great Pause no other children will come over. He is ready to adapt to just doing school with me again, as we did a few years ago when he was younger and we were just starting Picnic & Play.

My plan now is to continue and finish up the last weeks of the Kindness Curriculum, which will wrap up his second full year of Preschool. And then when he turns five in May, we will officially begin Kindergarten (which in Waldorf is still play-based and non-academic, but with longer and deeper stories, more challenging fingerplays, more difficult crafts like sewing, etc.).

We are on Week Four, which has "TAKING CARE OF STRONG EMOTIONS ON THE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE" as its theme.

Circle Time

Lesson 10: Busy mind and clear mind

We already have two Ocean Bottles (one for large hands and one for small hands) which are 1/3 vegetable oil and 2/3 water with blue food coloring. These I always keep on the staircase for people who need to take a breath and take a break, but I like the idea of having Zac make his own Mind Jar to keep in a Kindness Place.

And I like all of the other ideas for Mind Jars that are out there! Here are instructions for Six Ways to Make a Calm Down Jar (Elmer's washable clear glue, Elmer's washable glitter glue, Karo light corn syrup, clear tacky glue, Softsoap or other clear liquid hand soap, glycerin). In this set of instructions for How to Make a Mindfulness Calm Down Jar, she talks about having kids watch the mindfulness jar and listen to a sound which is slowly dying away and decide which one takes longer to be "complete." Love that!

First we welcomed the bell and did the Growing Friendship Wish with sign language. Then we did "Tell-All Turtle" on page 6, "Monster Stomp" on page 17, and "What I Like About You" on page 35 of Bedtime Meditations for Kids.

We played the Follow Me game from the lesson plan; then we watched this from Mindful Schools:

Zac really responded to children explaining mindfulness and how they use a glitter jar to help notice and let go of their big feelings. He is super-excited to make one of his own! We ended with Belly Buddies and the song "My Mind is a Clear Blue Sky" from Calm Down Boogie by Betsy Rose.

Lesson 11: Making Mind Jars and practicing using them

Today we did the GFW with sign language, "Hot Dragon Breath, Cold Penguin Breath" on page 38 of Bedtime Meditations for Kids, and made Zac's Mind Jar (glycerin, water, glitter, glitter glue, dish soap). I happened to have a bunch of glycerin from making our Homemade Bubble Stuff in the summer... and of course I have lots of glitter in my Art Room! We also experimented with adding glitter glue to ours so that part of it would move really slowly.

Lesson 12: What else can we do when we are upset?

Start by doing some cards from the Yoga Pretzels Deck.

Read When Sophia Gets Angry -- Really, Really Angry... by Molly Bang and discuss using the suggested prompts in the lesson.

Set up our Kindness Place with bell, lovies, Mind Jar, and Peace Wands. Do "Lovebug Meditation" on page 25 of Bedtime Meditations for Kids. Listen to "Love Makes a Family" from Calm Down Boogie.

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