I am blessed with the honor and privilege of teaching children at my daughter's school. The Open Classroom is a co-operative school where the parents of the students have a commitment to be in the classroom a minimum of three hours a week, teaching. It is one of the coolest concepts I've ever come across and have really enjoyed the time I've spent at the school. This year I have the opportunity to spend about 12 hours a week at the school because I'm co-oping for my daughter, as well as my former husband's children and I'm loving it! It has been the bright spot in my weeks while I've been unemployed and has seemed to set my life into perspective.
This past week in kindergarten, I had the chance to lead all 75 children through a "Movement, Meditation, Art" process that I've done with adults and older children in groups of about 15 people. Never having worked with a group that young or that huge, I had no idea how it was going to go over and was pleasantly surprised by the end of the 90-minute activity and after hearing the feedback from parents, teachers and children.
During the meditation part, I guided them to their very own meadow and let them create it as they wanted it to be. In this meadow, I guided them to create plants and animals and creatures. I gave them permission to do whatever they wanted to in this meadow because it was their space and they were completely safe. I gave them time to create there and explore and play, then we brought in a "being" - whether it was a person real or imagined, a creature or an animal, it was their choice - who would bring them a box that contained a gift. They had full licensure to create the box however they wanted it to be and it was up to them what the gift would be.
What delighted me the most was hearing the children share of their experiences with the whole group after the meditation section and before they created their art pieces. These children, so full of curiosity and colorful imaginings, shared stories of enchanting images and object lessons that took my breath away. One of the children said, "My person was my father and he gave me a box with nothing in it, but what I learned was how happy he was to give me the gift and I understood that, sometimes, it's better to give than receive." Another child said, "I received two gifts. One gift was only for me, only I could know about it and it's a secret. The other one they gave me so I could share it with everyone." Another child shared, "I could fly and I had a pet dragon that healed things."
I was breathless with all the stories the children shared with us that day and any that they shared one on one with just me. I was touched by how open and willing they all were and how expansive their journeys were. I was also moved by the vibrancy of their imaginings and their messages. It gave me pause to think about how powerful our children are and how much they know that we adults may not ever understand. I felt grateful for the experience of guarding and guiding these miraculous beings and learned so much from them.
The brain does not know the difference between imagined and real. Given that, I'd like to live in the worlds these children create.
© Angie K. Millgate 01/10/10