Teaching Children JOY

Dear Parents
We hope you liked Part 1 of this article. Here is part 2. Looking forward to your feedback.

TEACHING THE JOY OF THE BODY
The Child’s Perspective

Here is a conversation I had with my three-year-old.
“Why do you have a body?”
“To skip with!”
“To skip with?”
“Yes.”
“I see. What’s the best part of your body?”
“The eyes.”
“Why?”
“‘Cause I see the flowers.”
“Oh?”
“But the nose is too, ’cause I smell them.”
“Do you hear them?”
“No, but if you close your eyes you do hear teensy little things.”
“Like what?”
“Wind & trees.”
“How do they sound?”
“Swish, swish, but quieter than that.”
“Any other part of the body you like?”
“The tongue to talk–you hold onto it & you can’t talk–try it–say my name.”
“Unghun–uwam.”
“See!” (Laughter)
“Shawni, does your body make you happy?”
“My body is the happy!”
The spontaneous delight & built-in curiosity of little children make them receptive to the joy of the body. They are perfect pupils, but they still need teachers. The sensing equipment is built in–they receive the sensation–but they need to interpret it to feel its joy. A child’s senses are more acute than ours, but the joy of the body lies in understanding what we sense, & that is where the teaching comes in.

How To

Learning the name of the body parts.
1. Play “Simon Says.” The leader gives various commands. “Touch your tummy.” “Lift your left foot.” “Close your eyes.” The rest of the players follow a command only if it is preceded by “Simon Says.”
2. Play “Hoky Poky.” Players stand in a circle & act out this rhyme: “You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in & you shake it all about. You do the Hoky Poky & you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about–hey!” Rhyme is repeated with each part of the body.
3. Make a large puzzle of the body out of heavy cardboard pieces for children to put together. As they do, they name each part & tell what it can do.
Teaching appreciation for the body.
1. “What is it?” game. Blindfold the children. Then let them hear & smell & touch & taste various things & try to identify them. Use things with interesting textures (sandpaper, cotton, polished stones); different sounds (bottled water, marbles in a box, a bell); distinct odors (perfume, popcorn, pickles); distinct tastes (sugar, salt, peanut butter).
2. Teach appreciation of the human body over other bodies. Pretend you are an elephant, bird or squirrel–what can you do? What can’t you do? (Walk on two legs, pick up things with your fingers, talk, walk while carrying something.) Now pretend you are a plant–what can’t you do? (Almost everything.)
3. Relate the senses to their uses. Make a chart with six columns. List the five senses across the top of the chart in columns two through six. Let the children pick items to list down the left column & put checks in the appropriate columns for the senses that perceive them. Examples: Wind–we hear it, feel it. A hot dog–we smell it, feel it, taste it, see it.
4. Talk about each activity afterward; recall it with glee. Say, “Wasn’t it great to see which senses we use?” “Wasn’t it fun to identify the sound?” Also, while the activity is actually taking place, try to find opportunities to say, “Isn’t this fun?” “Aren’t our bodies great?” (Note: This is a key throughout the process of teaching children joy. During & after each experience with joy, help the child to identify the joy & be conscious that he is feeling it, so that he wants it & recognises it the next time.)
Use & development of bodily skills.
1. Dancing & marching. Use a variety of music, ranging from light, fairylike ballet to heavy soldier marches. The stronger the rhythm the better. Encourage freedom of movement & lack of inhibition: “Try to kick the ceiling.” “Look like a big tree swaying in the breeze.”
2. Learning to catch a ball. Few abilities give a child a greater sense of physical confidence & satisfaction. A large foam or sponge ball is easy to catch, a good first step.
3. Hearing game. Record some common sounds & play them for the children. See if they can identify them, for example:
Doorbell ringing
Corn popping
Blowing of bubbles (straw in soap solution)
Toilet flushing
4. Outside obstacle course. If your yard conditions permit, set up outside some of the following things to form an obstacle course:
* a six- to eight-foot-long 2×4 beam, set up on two bricks (one on each end) for the children to walk along.
* Old tires laid down in a row, to walk on or in.
* A rope stretched between two trees, eight or ten inches from the ground to jump over.
* A large inflated inner tube to climb over.
* Large cardboard cartons with one end open & a hole cut in the other end or the top for the children to crawl into & climb out of.
Be creative. Look around your yard or garage for additional ideas. Be sure the materials are free of slivers, nails, or other hazards & are on a safe surface so the children will not get hurt if they fall. Caution the children against pushing. Everyone should go in the same direction.
Care of the body.
1. Show children pictures of two people: One an “In-shape” athlete, one a sagging, out-of-shape person. List the things one does that the other doesn’t do: Exercises, eats good food, keeps himself clean, gets enough sleep, etc.
2. Identify “healthful” & “sometimes” foods. You will need a flannelboard, a piece of yarn to divide the flannelboard into two sections & several food pictures cut from magazines (coloured ones are best). Prepare each picture for the flannelboard by gluing a piece of flannel on the back. Put the pictures in a box.
Ask the children to tell you some food that helps them to be well & strong. Then ask them to name some foods that taste good but that we should not eat too often (cake, cookies & other sweets). Then say, “In this box I have some pictures of foods that are very good for you & also some foods that we will call `sometime foods’, those that we should not eat too much of. This side of the flannelboard will be for the healthful foods & that side for `sometime foods’.

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Independence Day 2014

The day began with a hearty play outdoors and ended with hilarious performances by our young dancers! It was great to see all perform so carefree and happy! What a way to celebrate the Spirit of Freedom! Enjoy the pictures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drama in Sunbird!

Drama in Sunbird! What do you mean?

Indeed, “Drama Bugs” is the newest thing in Sunbird. Introducing to you our creative art teacher, Joseph.
Joseph is not new to Sunbird. He has been there for a while, entertaining the children with puppet shows and lending a supportive hand with many improvements in the school.
Joseph is involved in various activities with an NGO, where he spends many hours with underprivileged children.
Also known as Jockel the Clown, he changes into a role of art, drama and humor. He comes around for birthday parties and has a lot of tricks up his sleeve.
(You can contact him at 8105117653 and see his blog on http://www.jockeltheclown.blogspot.in)

Now Sunbird is privileged to have him once a week for drama class. It is a part of the after care curriculum and enhances children’s interpersonal skills. Enjoy the fun moments captured with him.

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Quotes

To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education.    John Ruskin

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Lots of New Learning

Sunbird students explore new means of learning in various ways; a feast of new experiences for all senses. Thanks to all the parents who contributed! Enjoy the crisscross photos clicked throughout the first term.

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Teaching Children JOY

Dear Parents
As announced earlier this month, we are publishing small articles for your parental enrichment. Enjoy these suggestions with your little ones.

THE JOY OF SPONTANEOUS DELIGHT

I was alone one day, walking to lunch on a busy Boston street. Ahead was an old man, begging, “Any spare change?” The young businessman ahead of me brushed him off. “No, no–sorry.” Too busy. Then I came up to the beggar. I saw his face. I saw character mixed with tragedy in the old eyes. “Come on–come to lunch with me.” Spontaneous, spur of the moment. The man was surprised. I was surprised. I’ll forget other lunches, but never that one. The incredible story of a broken man’s life–it did him good to tell it; it did me good to hear it. He left with a full stomach & with a flicker of hope because someone had cared & listened. I left happy because I had helped, but also because I had done something spontaneous–free–open.

The Child’s Perspective

I was upstairs in my bedroom; eighteen-month-old Josh was right below me downstairs in his sister’s room. At first I thought he was crying, but as I listened again, I heard it for what it was; a loud, spontaneous belly-laugh. I knew he was down there by himself, because I could hear his sisters with Linda in the kitchen, so I sneaked quietly down to observe. I peeked through the door just in time for the next peal of laughter. Josh, his back to me, was sitting on his haunches facing Saren’s bed. The bedspread, hanging to the floor, suddenly bulged & then lifted to reveal Barney, our big black Labrador, squirming out from under the bed. There was something funny about Barney’s shifty-eyed sheepish look as he pushed his head out from under the spread. Josh laughed so hard he fell sideways. Then he promptly crawled under the end of the bed (Barney following), crawled back out from under the bedspread, & turned to watch Barney come out again.
Josh’s laugh made me smile, made me feel free. Adult laughter is too often sarcastic or boisterous or somehow forced & brittle. Josh’s spontaneous laugh pealed out like a thousand bells–the kind of free, delighted laugh that most little children have & most adults lose.

How To

The key method is encouragement & reinforcement. Children will repeat what they are praised for.
There are many ways to encourage & sanction a particular behaviour; perhaps the best way of all is by participating in that particular behaviour yourself.
Get excited with children. Swallow your sophistication–be a child with them, emote with them. When they say, “Oh, look!” you say, “Wow, yes!” Don’t say, “Calm down, son,” or “Not here, dear.”
Do spontaneous things with them. “Josh, your mom looks tired. Let’s put her to bed for a nap, & you & I will fix dinner.”
Make spontaneity a high priority. Place enough value on spontaneity that you let it happen even if it’s a little inconvenient. Suppose you are walking outside on a warm Summer afternoon & you spot your two-year-old stomping with delight in his first puddle. Resist the urge to yank him out with a “No, no!” Put rubber boots on him & let him do it. (Or put boots on yourself & do it with him!)
Get up & do a little dance when the music & the mood hit you.
Engage in the kind of play that produces exciting & unpredictable results.
Blow bubbles with a straw (in a glass of soapy water, or in the tub at bath time).
Play in water with empty plastic bottles, straws, or funnels.
Finger paint with shaving cream. Squirt a small amount of aerosol shaving cream on a smooth formica surface or table in front of each child & sprinkle on a little red powdered tempera paint. Let the children spread it around with their fingers or whole hands. Then sprinkle on a little blue & yellow tempera paint in different places so they can mix colours & see what happens.

The Family Treasure Chest

We have a “treasure chest.” It is just an old wooden box, painted many beautiful colours, with a big combination lock on it. The children know from experience that there is always a surprise in it.
Once or twice a week, on special occasions or perhaps for rewards, the chest is opened by daddy, the only one who knows the lock’s combination. It is amazing how delighted a child can be with one small peanut butter ball, a pine cone, or even a small sponge so he can help wipe off the table. Anything, so long as it comes out of the treasure chest, produces spontaneous delight.

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Enjoy yourself in a dazzling kaleidoscope of a Sunbird week

Come along and travel with us through a week of activities, where the fun continues, be it learning how to find a rhythm, listening to classic musical masters, pegging bowls, engrossing in a creative story telling session and celebrate a birthday, this time our never tiring driver.

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Quotes

The child discovers the joy that comes

from learning something new….

and his vision grows as he begins

to see all the things he can do     (Author Unknown)

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Teaching Children JOY

Dear Parents

Introducing to you a series of small articles with the hope to support the fine tuning of parenting. Many of you are already aware of these points, but in our busy lives it is not always easy to apply each aspect. Enjoy!

TEACHING CHILDREN JOY–By Linda & Richard Eyre

INTRODUCTION

When our children were born, we began to search for objectives. We began to ask what we most wanted for our children, what we wanted to give them. The trouble was, there were so many things: Love, security, confidence, creativity, friendliness, peace of mind, self-esteem, imagination, concern for others, individuality, a sense of service. The list kept getting longer.
The breakthrough occurred one evening when we had the opportunity to speak to a large group of parents. We handed out a slip of paper to each couple & asked them to write the ages of their children on one side. On the other side they were to write, in one word, the thing they would most like to give their children. We said, “If you had a one-word wish for your children, what would it be?”
The results were quite remarkable. Virtually all parents of preschoolers said the same thing. Parents of elementary-school-age children were also relatively unified, but in a different direction. Parents of teenagers had still another wish. For preschoolers, parents wanted happiness. For elementary-school-age children, parents hoped for responsibility. And for teenagers, most parents wished for more unselfishness, more service & less self-centeredness.
It was the beginning of our program of “parenting by objective.” We decided that we would consciously adopt the following objectives & sequence:

Ages 0-6: Teach our children joy.
Ages 4-12: Teach our children responsibility.
Ages 10-16: Teach our children service & empathy.

We knew there were overlaps. There were elements of responsibility within joy, & service within responsibility, but we felt that we needed a focus–a clear, strong, single goal to work on for each phase of a child’s growth.
This book, “Teaching children Joy,” was born of our efforts. Each chapter presents one particular “joy.”
One problem most parents face is a difficulty in measuring their success. Since they do not have specific goals for a “yardstick,” they not only do more reacting than acting, they end up measuring their success by the emotions of frustration & impatience that they often feel.
A parent with one basic objective each month, on the other hand, can look past the momentary crises that come to all families & can see the progress the children are making in the area of that monthly goal. This is why we recommend that you select one “joy” to focus on each month.

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Health, Nutrition and Safety

Dear Parents

Sunbird announces the date for our upcoming seminar:

PEP FOR HEALTH, NUTRITION AND SAFETY

DATE: 26/7/2014

TIME:  10 am to 12 pm

VENUE: SUNBIRD EARLY LEARNING CENTRE

Thank you for marking this date and registering at the earliest.

Your Sunbird Team

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Great Outdoors

A welcome change, Sunbird takes the children twice a week for organised game activities to Sunbird Play. Enjoy the snaps.

 

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teaching methods

Sunbird’s First Field Trip of the Year: Kalyan Rathore (http://www.saatchiart.com/jksrathore)

A very big thank you to Kalyan, Bhavna and his family for welcoming us in his studio on the ORR. On Friday morning, Sunbird caravan set off on a long ride, and thanks to our accompanying smart parents using the GPS, we found the place just in time. Though it was quite a long and winding road through terrific traffic, your brave students got a special treat from Kaylan: how to make their own cube and giraffe from a piece of paper. On top of it, all were treated to a lovely warm chocolate with delicious cake. Indeed, we shall have an eye feast on the following photos. Happy viewing.

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Early Learning is fun

Sunbird’s first two weeks, looks like all had a lot of fun learning!

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nutrition truth for your toddler

Dear Parents

Every year we face a lot of questions about proper nutrition for toddlers. As we all know, this aspect is a fundamental one to growth and well being of a child, which has repercussions much later on as well. Since part of our management is a dietitian, the following link has been studied and suggested to you for your information. If you have any clarifications on this, please do not hesitate to write to us at our email. Happy studies!

https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/outline

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Who Are Our Children, Really?

Who Are Our Children, Really?

By Linda Kavelin Popov with Dan Popov, Ph.D., and John Kavelin, book excerpt

What kids are

Like an acorn, which has within it the capacity to become a towering oak, a child has great potential. All children are born with all the virtues, the gifts within, waiting to grow. You may have noticed sometime or other a plant sprouting up through the concrete of a city street. The urge for growth is one of the strongest needs of any living thing.

What a child becomes is a result of four things: nature, nurturance, opportunity, and effort. Nature is a child’s natural giftedness or virtues “profile.” Although each child has all the virtues within them in potential to one degree or another, the potential for the development of certain virtues is greater in a particular child, just as a rose has different attributes than a chrysanthemum. Nurturance is how a child is educated, how his gifts are recognized and supported, the difference between watering a plant and letting it wilt. The opportunities children have to act on their virtues give them the possibility to become who they are. A great musician of world-class creativity without an instrument may never learn of the special music she has within her. Effort is a child’s responsibility, his ability to respond to the opportunities to practice the virtues.

Ultimately it is the choice of a child to act on her own potential. It is said that God provides nature and a parent provides nurture. The child himself must choose to respond to the opportunities in his life. Choice is at the core of moral will.

We have such a short but critical time in which to have a fundamental impact on the development of the character of our children, which is the greatest asset for their happiness. Much of their character development is complete by the time they turn seven.

What kids are not

We are used to thinking of children as psychological beings who need good physical care and also affection, respect, and a healthy balance between dependence and independence. The idea of a parent as a spiritual educator builds on yet goes beyond the notion of the child as a psychological being.

The book offers a frame of reference in which a child’s need for character education is primary. A parent, as spiritual mentor, focuses first of all on facilitating the child’s moral readiness. In order to make the shift from caretaker to educator, it is helpful to let go of notions about children which are not true to their spiritual nature.

Your child is not born a blank slate upon which you will write. There is no such thing as a generic baby. True, a child’s personality and character are not fully formed. But they are “in there.” Just as an oak is in an acorn—not a spruce or a palm but an oak—each child is born with a special bundle of potential. In that bundle are three things:

  • Inherited traits
  • Individual temperament
  • Innate capacities: gifts, talents, abilities, limitations, and virtues

Spiritual parenting involves a focus on a child’s gifts and possibilities, a readiness to support them to develop all they can be—to give life their best effort.

A child is not a prince(ss) which parents warp into a frog. This is a modern notion which implies that if we left them to their own devices, children would be pure, undefiled, whole, and perfect. It contends that we are the ones who mess them up and “dethrone” them. This is a half truth. Parents do have enormous influence on children and can shape the script a child carries through life. But it is also true that left to their own devices, children are likely to take the path of least resistance, resorting to survival instincts, the animal side of their nature as material/spiritual beings. It is easier to develop the lower side of their nature, which doesn’t require them to engage their will. So children very much need a guiding hand to lead them. They are not inherently “pure.” They have the potential for both goodness and for destructiveness. Every quality they possess, every virtue, can be directed or misdirected. That’s why your role is so vital to their success.

There are many virtues that thrive only under conditions of challenge. How can one learn patience without having to wait? How would a child ever develop determination if life did not provide frustrations? How could we learn forgiveness without being hurt? If we don’t use our virtues, we lose them, just like muscle tone in the physical body. Protecting children from their challenges is running interference with the Creator. As moral champions, our children deserve more respect.

Some of the best parents have children who make very bad choices or are born with a particularly difficult temperament. How you parent is your responsibility, how they turn out is a complex and mysterious process, with many influences other than yours.

The opposititis trap

We often unconsciously project onto our children the unmet needs we had as children. If something in our childhood caused us pain—usually a lack of love—we tend to go one of two ways. Either we unconsciously repeat our parents’ behavior with our own children, or we go to the opposite extreme.

We are far more aware of wanting to correct the sins of our parents when they emerge in our behavior than to catch the more insidious habit of opposititis. For example, if our parents were very judgmental and made their affection conditional on our performance, we want to give unconditional love to our children. What that may look like, unfortunately, is giving them carte blanche acceptance no matter what they do, whether they are being rude or courteous, kind or cruel. In doing so, we are ignoring their true needs for mastery and meaning. If our parents tended to be too affectionate and sloppily sentimental, we may hold our children at arm’s length, giving them the respect and space we always craved. Meanwhile, they may be longing for more hugs.

The problem is that either way we are “reacting” to our own story rather than truly seeing our children. Our parenting becomes dictated by our needs and experiences rather than what is going on for our children. Rather than consciously treating our children as they need to be treated, we are treating them as we wish we had been treated by our parents.

The “chip off the old block” syndrome

Seeing a child for who she is, a unique individual, calls for us to detach ourselves from any expectations we may have of what the basic nature or “virtues profile” a child of ours “should” have, especially in the service of our egos. If she seems to be a quiet child who likes to read and has only one or two friends, it is not our place to try to shape her personality into that of an outgoing socialite. If we happen to be shy and have some painful memories of social awkwardness, we may feel the need to push this gentle little soul in a direction that is not hers.

Many people spend years feeling they are not enough no matter what they do. The disappointment of a parent is devastating to a child. When our children disappoint us—and they will—it is for one of several reasons. Some of these are:

  • We may not be setting clear boundaries about the specific virtues we feel are called for in a situation.
  • We have unreasonable expectations.
  • We are failing to see the individual that our child is.
  • We are reacting to some lack we feel in ourselves.
  • They are having an off day—and need a little tolerance.

Of course, we have a desire to pass on what we have learned to our children, but the truth is that they meet life with a fresh perspective. It is far more empowering to focus on the virtue of excellence or purposefulness and then to discover, with great curiosity and openness, how your child will uniquely express these virtues in his life.

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