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Emotions (Body) • Feelings (Mind) ✂️DIY 😃😮😡😢☹️😆Puppets ♻️🚽Craft 🎥 101

Please meet our EMOTIONS/FEELINGS puppet friends! 

Many people use the words “emotions” and “feelings” interchangeably. However, although highly related, the meaning of emotions and feelings is distinct.  An emotion is a conspicuous physical bodily response to a common change, while a feeling is a mental reaction to an emotion that is personal and gained through experience. Interestingly, emotions actually proceed feelings.   

IMG_9207 To apply our theoretical knowledge, we are making EMOTIONS puppets. 

DSC_0363What you will need:

  • recycled toilet paper rolls,
  • pipe cleaners,
  • hole puncher,
  • googly eyes, 
  • Pom Poms,
  • Sharpies pens,
  • and a glue gun. 

In this video, Adrian is making a 😢 sad crying puppet. 

DSC_0389 Meet Mr. 😢 Sad.

While I helped with drawing facial expressions (children drew a rough draft for me on the side), they were in complete control as to how to decorate their puppets.    DSC_0392

This craft can promote gross motor skills when the child has to press the hole puncher to make a hole in the paper roll. Also, it promotes fine motor control when the child has to insert pipe cleaners into the punched out holes. 

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EMOTION puppets can be a great tool to help teach a child to identify and talk about feelings. Through role-play and pretend puppet shows, you can help a child gain confidence about how to express feelings and respond to them in an appropriate and healthy way.

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Since emotions are physical, they can be noticed by facial expressions, blood flow, and a body stance. Feelings, on the other hand, are mental and as such, they cannot be measured precisely since they reflect one's personal associations to emotions. So, this was a great exercise to discuss how eyebrows and/or shape of the mouth can give us clues as to the puppet's emotional state.

DSC_0382While emotions are usually fleeting, the feelings they evoke may last for a long time. And because emotions can initiate feelings, and feelings in turn initiate emotions, it is important to teach children to understand how they feel to prevent a cycle of at times painful and confusing emotions. 

Here, Adrian is making an 😡 Angry Guy, associating the color red with a strong emotional state. 

DSC_0389Meet Mr. 😡 Angry. 

DSC_0389Meet our 😃 Happy Puppet. 


DSC_0389Meet our 😮 Surprised Puppet. 


DSC_0389Meet Mr. ☹️Sad. 


DSC_0389Meet the 😆Laughing Puppet. 


DSC_0383Meet our EMOTIONS Puppet Friends! 

You may also prompt your child to play out puppet faces in order to help him/her connect the emotions with physical sensations. This way, the child can see that emotions affect what he/she does, and that there is a choice about how to respond to a particular feeling. Julia, for example, if she is upset or unsettled, needs to have a "TTYL" with me (Talk To You Later), meaning that she wants my undivided attention for a minute or two to express how she feels and what troubles her. This seems to always work in making her feel better and centered. Adrian, on the other hand, is not very emotional at his age, so no elaborate routine is required: a hug and a sorry always do the job.

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I hope that you will find our EMOTIONS Puppets craft useful in teaching your child that there are many different feelings, and that it is totally normal to feel them all. Feelings may be comfortable or uncomfortable, and feeling emotions, whatever they are, is a natural phenomenon. Young children deal with many of the same emotions adults do. Children get frustrated, sad, angry, nervous, happy, or shy or embarrassed, but they often do not have the words to describe how they are feeling. I hope that with the help of this puppets craft, you can enhance your child's socio-emotional development by helping him/her understand feelings and express emotions in a healthy balanced way.  

DSC_0070I also made this EMOTIONS puzzle where a child has to match two parts of the face. Make sure you color-code on the back of each piece by placing same-color stickers on halves that make the whole. (For example, the 😡angry face will have two 🔴🔴red stickers on the back of each half; this way the child can self-correct.)

 
DSC_0070Once the child matches the puzzle-pieces, as a control of error, he/she can turn the faces and see if the assembly was correct.

The Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation has a great article here about different ideas on how to teach children about emotions.

Also, Emotions and Mindfulness go hand in hand, so read here a post "🕉Mindfulness with Children (☮️PEACE Education)" and here "Montessori ☮️PEACE Shelfie (Grace &Courtesy, Gratitude, Pillars of a Peaceful Character)."  


DIY ☮️ Mindful ✨Glitter Calming Jar •Meditation 📿Tool for Kids•

Before we can be 🙏thankful, we need to be mindful. So, we made this DIY Mind✨Glitter Jar as a meditational tool to calm down, reflect, express gratitude and count blessings🙏.

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A Mind /Calming Jar is a wonderful meditation tool to offer to a child who feels overwhelmed, upset or stressed. As an example of Focused Attention Meditation (object of focus): a child is encouraged to focus his/her attention on a single object like a breath, a mantra, visualization, part of the body, or an external object like a Mindful Jar. 

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What you will need to make this Mindful/Calming Glitter Jar:

  • a  jar (baby food, mason-jar, or any other recycled glass jar),
  • glitter glue (we are using blue one - buy here),
  • extra loose glitter,
  • warm water to help dissolve the glue (you can also microwave the jar for 30-60 seconds, or keep heating it up until all the large clumps are dissolved); 
  • a glue gun,
  • an object to look at once the glitter settles (we are using a Dragon- Silhouette Jade pendant).

DSC_0027   To secure a pendant to the lid, we are using a glue-gun and double-sided tape. 

DSC_0027Adrian thought that a Dragon Jade pendant inside a Mindful Jar would be nice to observe once the glitter settles.

DSC_0027  The ratio is 1:1, depending on the size of your jar. 

DSC_0032Add about one tablespoon of glitter glue per one cup of warm water, (2 tbs to 2 cups, etc).

DSC_0032The bigger the jar, the more glue you would add. Also, if you desire a thicker consistency and longer "settling/calming down" time, increase the ratio by adding more glue. 

DSC_0043  We also added extra loose glitter for more sparkle effect.  

The sight of dancing glitter was mesmerizing indeed. Offer your child to imagine the glitter as wondering thoughts. When you shake the jar, imagine that it is your head full of swirling thoughts. As the glitter slowly settles, imagine your thoughts or unease or anxiety settle as well, calming you down.

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The more glue you add, the thicker the density would be, slowing down the settling process since the glue makes the water thick and gooey. It a 1:1 ratio, it takes about five minutes for all the glitter to slowly and gently swirl around and settle - the perfect time for a child to reconnect, find the inner balance, gather thoughts and feel the gratitude.  

 

DSC_0062  Also, the warmer the water, the quicker the glitter will settle. 

Lastly, although we rarely use time-outs, I imagine this jar as a nice alternative to a time-out, encouraging a child to refocus without a sense of punishment: stop the behavior, shake the jar, focus on dancing glitter, reconnect with oneself.

Above all, I trust that this Mindful Glitter Jar will be a great meditational tool to quiet the mind, gather thoughts, find peace and inner balance while watching the glitter swirl around and around. 

For more on Peace education, read here "Montessori ☮️PEACE Shelfie (Grace &Courtesy, Gratitude, Pillars of a Peaceful Character)." 

For more on Thanksgiving-Inspired activities, see here "🦃Thanksgiving Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study." 

Lastly, the Dragon Jade pendant is from our China Continent Box - see here a detailed post "Montessori Cultural & Science Lesson (China 🇨🇳 Continent 📦 Box)." 


🕉Mindfulness with Children (☮️PEACE Education)

Do you practice mindfulness with your children? A big part of Montessori education is teaching children to be mindful, respectful and ☮️peaceful with oneself and others. However, in this hectic busy world, when we have no time to stop and "check-in" with ourselves, even less with others: both physically and mentally - When is the right time to introduce the Practice of Mindfulness to our children? When is the right time to teach them meditation?

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Mindfulness means maintaining present awareness of our feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. It also implies acceptance, being able to think and feel without judging — without believing that there is a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel at a given moment. My own mantra has always been that "whatever happens, happens for the better, even if, at first, it seems like things are turning for the worse." So, when we practice mindfulness, we are present in the "now" with every fiber of our being, without reminiscing about the past (whether it is of happy moments or grievance) or imagining the future.

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Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation and is the English translation of the Pali word "Sati" which means "activity." However, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zin and Eckert Tolle. Research studies have supported the conclusion that the practice of mindfulness is strongly correlated with well-being and perceived health and that worry contributes to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. We usually worry about the future: however, those imagined events might never even materialize, and at a present, there is little we can do about them since they are in the future ... out of reach. So, by bringing our attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, by bringing mindfulness into our daily lives through the practice of meditation, we can experience true bliss and happiness of "now" and reduce both rumination and worry. So, let's stop worrying and start living!

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While with Julia (6 years old), I have been discussing the concepts of being in the now and enjoying the present moment for a while now, with Adrian (2 years old), we are just starting ... And, to bring mindfulness to toddlers, a lot has to happen: they have to be well rested, fed, not overly stimulated, calm and able to sustain their attention for longer than few seconds. 

DSC_0831.JPGRead here "Mastering the Art of Letting Go!" in a post "Practicing Mindfulness at 1 year old with a 🖌️💧Buddha Board."


Also, what type of meditation should be introduced? Meditation is classified into two categories based on the way we focus attention: Focused Attention and Open Monitoring.

(1) Focused Attention Meditation (object of focus): entails focusing the attention on a single object like a breath, a mantra, visualization, part of the body, external object, etc. Examples are Samatha (Buddhist meditation), some forms of Zazen, Loving Kindness Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Sound Meditation, Mantra Meditation, Pranayama, some forms of Qigong, and many others. See the Mindfulness Glitter Jar Meditation below. 

See here details on the "DIY Mindfulness Glitter Jar Meditation Tool for Kids Calming Jar."

 

(2) Open Monitoring Meditation ( a process of monitoring): entails monitoring all perceptions: either internal (thoughts, feelings, memory, etc.) or external (sound, smell, etc.) without judgment or attachment. It is the process of non-reactive monitoring of the content of experience from moment to moment, without dwelling on them. Examples are Mindfulness Meditation, Vipassana, as well as some types of Taoist Meditation. Zen🕉 Garden Meditation SandBox (below/buy here) is a type of Mindfulness Meditation: a miniature version of the traditional Japanese meditative garden. Assorted stones and other objects provide visual interest and a counterpoint to the garden's serene patterns. 

Children are born mindful, and with wisdom we can keep this skill alive: 'Montessori is wonderful in this way'. - The Dalai Lama

All you need to participate in the art of Zen gardening:

  • purified sand (you can also use salt, sugar, polenta or any other tiny grain),
  • small objects: e.g. marbles, polished rocks (we also added a starfish, shark tooth etc.),
  • a small rake,
  • and a tray to contain everything.

A Zen Garden is a mindful tool to bring a child to the "now" - to the precious eternal moment of the Present, offering a child an opportunity to sensorially explore the sand, gracefully raking around objects, thinking only about the precise movement of the hand, focusing only on the sparkling white sand and the design a child chooses to create. These moments are truly meditational, quieting the mind and enriching the soul.


Whether you practice Focused Attention and Open Monitoring, the true purpose behind all meditational “means” (either object of focus or process of monitoring) is effortless inner silence - quiet, “empty” and introverted awareness or “Pure Being.” It is in this state of “pure effortless presence” – being in the now - where the attention is not focused on anything in particular but is reposed on itself - the deeper states of consciousness can be discovered.

With children, in an effort to introduce this state of pure presence, practicing (1) Focused Attention Meditation might be a good starting point for children to develop stamina and ability to sustain their attention. Also, holding something tangible (like a pebble or a marble), while focusing on a familiar object, might be less abstract and more inviting for a child. So, to put this to practice, we read a book A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles (buy here) where four pebbles are selected to represent an image of nature and its corresponding qualities: 🌸FLOWER (FRESH), ⛰MOUNTAIN (SOLID), 🏞STILL WATER (REFLECT), and 🌌SPACE (FREE).

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In this book, each pebble is presented as a tangible way for children to return to their breathing and their bodies; and to connect to the world around them since each pebble also represents the quality the child can associate with. A 🌸 FLOWER represents beauty and freshness, while a ⛰MOUNTAIN stands for solidity and focus. Still calm 🏞WATER, like a clear lake, reflects the surrounding, so the child is encouraged to reflect things inside and around. Finally,🌌 SPACE, like the big blue sky with lots of space in and around, inspires the child to feel free and at ease. 

A child is gently encouraged to meditate - that is "to think quietly about something" while sustaining attention on just one pebble at a time, so we decided to practice "Drawing Meditation" by focusing on STILL WATER while painting a picture of a lake. 

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Julia and I breathed in and out and smiled at each other as we painted the water. We had not uttered a word during the entire drawing session. Our whole focus was the lake: its stillness, the calmness and clarity of the water and the extent of how much of the undistorted and beautiful surrounding is being reflected in it. Just like with a person: when the inner self is tranquil, still and calm, one can see things for what they really are - undistorted, clear, true.
DSC_0372-001During this Drawing Meditation, we used watercolors, and it was a very special experience: we were doing it together (my painting is on the left), sharing the process, meditating, slowing down, reconnecting with our inner-selves and focusing on the qualities of water, while trying to reflect things just as they are, inside and around.


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Our ☮️Peace Inspired📚Books:

  1. Silence Book (buy here) gently encourages children to stop, listen, and reflect on their experiences and the world around them.
  2. If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People (buy here) explores the lives of the hundred villagers. Children will discover that life in other nations is often very different from their own. If the World Were a Village is part of CitizenKid: a collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.
  3. The Listening Walk book (buy here) is one of the children's favorite! Discover your world filled with wonderful and surprising sounds which otherwise get drowned-out in our noisy environment.
  4. A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles book (see above/buy here) shows a child a concrete way to be mindful by connecting to a pebble representing an image of nature.
  5. Meditation Is an Open Sky book (buy here) offers a terrific introduction to simple child-friendly mindfulness/meditation exercises.
  6. What is God? book (buy here) is an eloquent introduction to the ideas behind God and various religion, which brings forward complex ideas in a way children will understand. It is written with a simple clarity and beautifully illustrated with just the right blend of seriousness and humor.
  7. Maria Montessori: A Biography For And By Children book (buy here) is written in a simple child-accessible way and is full of children's drawings depicting the life of Maria Montessori.
  8. Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being book (buy here) offers children gentle series of physical movements based on Yoga and Tai Chi movements, as an approach to Buddhist teachings. Mindful Movements book is a great meditational "yoga" manual: simple enough for a child to follow and substantial enough to provide a simple base for meditational movements. 

DSC_0014For more book ideas, see here "☮️PEACE Education•Have you Filled a Bucket Today? 📚Book."  

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In Montessori ☮️PEACE education, when two children are experiencing conflict, it can be difficult for each child to truly👂🏻 listen to what the other child is saying. To assist with this, one child can hold a symbol of ☮️PEACE, which generally, in a Montessori classroom, is a🌹 rose (we are using a handmade ❤️heart; a 🕊dove can also be used). A child holding it would state why s/he is upset and then pass the ☮️symbol to the other child who then has a chance to respond, passing back and forth until each child had expressed their feelings and felt adequately acknowledged. Finally, reconciliation would end with a 👋🏻handshake signaling ☮️ PEACE. So, when 👧🏻Julia and👦🏼 Adrian would have a disagreement, I would gently remind them to go to their ☮️PEACE corner and retrieve the ❤️and speak their hearts💖. They would then sit across from each other on the rug and express their frustrations. Let me tell you, it always works and the PEACE is signaled with a 🤗 hug.  Read more here

DSC_0052 For more on mindful practices, read here "🕉Zentangle Mindful 🖋️Art for Children." 

 

IMG_9207Read here 🎥"Emotions (Body)•Feelings (Mind) ✂️DIY 😃😮😡😢☹️😆Puppets ♻️🚽Craft."

 

DSC_0316-001 For more on meditation, read here "Guided 📿 Meditation with 🎶Neoclassical Music." 

Mindfulness is closely connected to Montessori education. Here is a short exert from Michael Olaf: Mindfulness Practices in Education 

Mindfulness is a quality of focused attention on the present moment accompanied by a non­‐judgmental stance;  its  “systematic  cultivation has been called the heart of  Buddhist meditation”. Mindfulness practice is fundamentally simple: focus on the breath; pay attention; be aware. “Mindfulness is cultivated by assuring the stance of an impartial witness to your own experience. To do this requires that you become aware of the constant stream of judging ... and learn to step back from it.” One needs to learn to trust in own intuition and authority. Yet, conventionally, we train children that teachers are the judges and will reinforce their judgments with grades, gold stars, and demerits. Thus, child’s own sense of authority is rarely paramount in this setting, rather they are subjected again and again to adult judgment. Thus, it can be concluded that Montessori education as a form of mindfulness education.

So, what can we do to help our children become more peaceful, mindful persons? As a parent, you can lead by example by developing your own meditation practice and then showing your children the way. Also, establish a quiet "Mommy and Me" time when you can speak to each child and discuss what had transpired during the day and how they felt about it: did something happen in the school, or you might want to take this time to express that when you raised your voice, for example, you did not mean to upset anyone and you apologise for that and so forth. Moreover, set realistic expectations and make it relatable - on a child's level. Lastly, make it special, make it personal - let it be! 

Read here  about Montessori Peace Education and our Peace Corner in a post "Montessori ☮️PEACE Shelfie (Grace & Courtesy, Gratitude, Pillars of a Peaceful Character)." 


Montessori ☮️PEACE Shelfie (Grace &Courtesy, Gratitude, Pillars of a Peaceful Character)

Montessori education has been referred to as "peace education" and even Gandhi praised Montessori's approach to world peace. "If we are to teach real peace in this world... we shall have to begin with the children."—Mahatma Gandhi. So, how is PEACE cultivated in a Montessori environment? Maria Montessori believed in freedom of movement, the power of observation, and the need to "follow the child." So, since children in a Montessori classroom are free to choose an activity and work at their pace, as well as are free to move around the classroom, the teacher's main goal is to make sure that children are engaged in their prepared environment and offered an opportunity for immense concentration. "Work cycles" are valued and protected, allowing children to experience the sense of security, satisfaction, and joy from their uninterrupted work.

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Also, through Grace and Courtesy lessons, children are given tools for peacefully resolving conflicts and thus cultivating a peaceful, productive and harmonious environment for learning. Children are proactively shown by example how to respect a classmate's work, how to carefully walk around a work rug, or how to interrupt politely.

Moreover, by teaching children gratitude as a part of peace education, we can ensure that they have all the tools they would need to meet every situation with a mindset of abundance, appreciation, and joy. Gratitude is a powerful mindset of "having enough" which brings the fullness of life, and we as parents and teachers can play a vital role in helping our children learn a lifelong appreciation for what we already have, rather than what we do notMontessori pedagogy defines gratitude as an active appreciation for the everyday elements that nourish the whole child — including their growing bodies, minds, and spirits. Despite the obvious benefits that gratitude offers developing minds, neuroscience proves just how effective daily gratitude can be: improved physical and psychological well-being, higher self-esteem, and even longer lifespans. Exercises in Grace and Courtesy reflect Montessori's method of “peace education” when children are shown ways to roleplay situations to use “please” and “thank you” or to offer help to a friend in need, as well as using manners at the right time and place. With regular gentile reinforcement, simple scenarios would prompt children to exercise grace, courtesy, and gratitude when the situation requires. So, to help children slow down and plant a seed of gratitude, we can create a PEACE shelf or a corner which would provide a child with a space for regular self-reflection.

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Our ☮️PEACE shelf is an inviting place where Julia and Adrian can go to throughout the day to check-in with themselves and observe their ever-changing emotions. With a zen garden to touch and feel, a mindful puzzle to assemble, a smelling box to sensorially stimulate the olfactory sense of smell, children know that they have a place where they can quiet their mind and focus on the present moment.

What is on our ☮️Peace Shelf:

  • Pewter Labyrinth (buy here) with a stylus for 'walking' it. Tracing the labyrinth path is an ancient meditation form often described as a path to wisdom and peace and commonly used as a tool for personal reflection, psychological and spiritual transformation, and comfort. A child would run a fingertip or a stylus along the grooved path. And because labyrinths are right-brain activity enhancers, tracing a labyrinth path is calming for both: adults and children. 
  • Tibetian Singing Bowl (made in Nepal) with leather wrapped wooden stricker (buy here) is one of my children's favorite meditational tools. Once they had learned how to make the bowl "sing" the healing sound is nothing I have heard before.
  • Four Pebbles to accompany a book A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles (buy here - read about it here);
  • Wooden hand-made Dove puzzle (buy here) which symbolizes peace and harmony.
  • Wooden Mandala puzzle (buy here) is hand-painted in ecological colors, presenting an intricate combination of beauty and aesthetics for children to work on peacefully. (Each puzzle is unique and made to order.) 
  • Tibetan Buddhist Wooden Prayer 8 mm Beads Wrist Mala Bracelet (buy here or similar here) is handmade in Nepal and is of exceptional quality.
  • Scented Calming Box (see below);
  • Thai Blessing Zen Buddha statue (buy here or similar here) is a perfect addition to our peace corner as it diversifies our peace education, opening doors to discussing an inspiring story of a prince who renounced the glory and riches in a pursuit of enlightenment. 
  • Zen🕉 Garden Meditation Sandbox (below/buy here) is a type of Mindfulness Meditation: a miniature version of the traditional Japanese meditative garden, where assorted objects provide visual interest and a counterpoint to the garden's serene patterns. (More about Zen Garden here.)

This Zen Garden is also an easy DIY, and all you need to participate in the art of Zen gardening:

  • purified sand (you can also use salt, sugar, polenta or any other tiny grain),
  • small objects: e.g. marbles, polished rocks (we also added a starfish, shark tooth etc.),
  • a small rake,
  • and a tray to contain everything.

 

Dealing with Conflict

Children are born mindful, and with wisdom we can keep this skill alive: 'Montessori is wonderful in this way'. - The Dalai Lama.

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In Montessori ☮️PEACE education, when two children are experiencing conflict, it can be difficult for each child to truly listen to what the other child is saying. To assist with this, one child can hold a symbol of ☮️PEACE, which generally, in a Montessori classroom, is a🌹 rose (we are using a handmade ❤️heart; a 🕊dove can also be used). A child holding it would state why s/he is upset and then pass the ☮️symbol to the other child who then has a chance to respond, passing back and forth until each child had expressed their feelings and felt adequately acknowledged. Finally, reconciliation would end with a handshake signaling ☮️ PEACE. So, when Julia and Adrian would have a disagreement, I would gently remind them to go to their ☮️PEACE corner and retrieve the ❤️ and speak their hearts💖. They would then sit across from each other on the rug and express their frustrations. Let me tell you, it always works and the PEACE is signaled with a hug. (You may download Peace Table Cards with instructions on how to deal with conflict for free here - I had purchased them from here.) 

 

Building A Peaceful Character

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A Peaceful character of the child develops since birth when s/he observes unconditional love, tender care, patience and absence of violence. And "violence" needs not be physical, which is very obvious; at times, phycological violence (taking on a verbal form) can be even more detrimental than physical since it is inconspicuous. Leading by example, by being kind, tolerant and loving, we can show our child that this world can be trusted, that the child can feel safe and secure in it, both outside and inside. And, as the child gets older, you can discuss the pillars, on which a strong loving and peaceful character can be built. 


DSC_0013We are using finger puppets to represent each foundational pillar. 
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The six pillars of a Peaceful Character are (download the pdf here or click the link here):

  • Respect
  • Caring
  • Fairness
  • Responsibility
  • Trustworthiness
  • Citizenship.

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We can help build a peaceful world by building our own character with values and qualities that would shape our finest thoughts, actions/reactions, and feelings.

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One of our PEACE materials is a scented calming box. You can add anything that might calm your child like a cinnamon stick or pieces of lavender, or scented dried fruits. For some reasons, this is the first material both of my children open when they retrieve our PEACE box from the shelf.

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  “Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.”  - Maria Montessori.


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Our ☮️Peace Inspired📚Books:

  1. Silence Book (buy here) gently encourages children to stop, listen, and reflect on their experiences and the world around them.
  2. If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People (buy here) explores the lives of the hundred villagers. Children will discover that life in other nations is often very different from their own. If the World Were a Village is part of CitizenKid: a collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.
  3. The Listening Walk book (buy here) is one of the children's favorite! Discover your world filled with wonderful and surprising sounds which otherwise get drowned-out in our noisy environment.
  4. A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles book (buy here) shows a child a concrete way to be mindful by connecting to a pebble representing an image of nature.
  5. Meditation Is an Open Sky book (buy here) offers a terrific introduction to simple child-friendly mindfulness/meditation exercises.
  6. What is God? book (buy here) is an eloquent introduction to the ideas behind God and various religion, which brings forward complex ideas in a way children will understand. It is written with a simple clarity and beautifully illustrated with just the right blend of seriousness and humor.
  7. Maria Montessori: A Biography For And By Children book (buy here) is written in a simple child-accessible way and is full of children's drawings depicting the life of Maria Montessori.
  8. Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being book (buy here) offers children gentle series of physical movements based on Yoga and Tai Chi movements, as an approach to Buddhist teachings. Mindful Movements book is a great meditational "yoga" manual: simple enough for a child to follow and substantial enough to provide a simple base for meditational movements.

DSC_0014 For more book ideas, see here "☮️PEACE Education•Have you Filled a Bucket Today? 📚Book."  

IMG_9207Read here 🎥 "Emotions (Body) •Feelings (Mind) ✂️DIY 😃😮😡😢☹️😆Puppets ♻️🚽Craft."

For more about our ☮️PEACE Education, read here "🕉Mindfulness with Children." 

For more on Gratitude and Thanksgiving, read here "🙏Thankful 🌳Tree🍂 • 🦃Thanksgiving Inspired ✂️Craft."

For more on Thanksgiving-Inspired activities, see here "🦃Thanksgiving Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study." 


☮️PEACE Education• Have you Filled a Bucket Today? 📚 Book

One of the six main categories of Montessori Practical Life activities are social lessons on Grace and Courtesy which include developing social skills such as saying please and thank you, learning how to take turns and listen to others, proper table manners, how to interrupt someone, how to speak with an inside/outside voice, or how to turn the page of a book. The emphasis is always placed on the personal dignity of the child and the respect of individual rights. Dr. Maria Montessori strongly believed that a natural companion to Grace and Courtesy is Peace education, having great confidence that if we are able to raise peaceful children, they will, in turn, grow up to be respectful and peaceful adults. “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future. ... Within the child, lies the fate of the future,” she said. 

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So, to promote ☮️ peace education, we love 📖 reading Have You Filled a Bucket Today? 📚book (buy here). While the book encourages positive behavior by alluding to an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love by "filling buckets," I had set up an area with a real bucket, scrap-paper, 🖊pencils, and ✂️scissors. 

DSC_0026After reading the book, my children naturally wanted to be "bucket fillers," and to become mindful of that, they would ✍🏻️write daily one thing that filled another's bucket (or their own). Filling one's invisible bucket can be a kind word, a smile, or a hug. Being caring and sharing, being patient and learning to wait a turn, helping each other in play or work also counts as "filling a bucket." There are so many ways to enrich someone's day! 

DSC_0028This had become a beautiful tradition to come to the bucket and retrospect about the day: "What have I done to make another's day brighter? Have I filled someone's bucket today?" These thoughts bring the child to the primary act itself, strengthening the connection between the deed (e.g. a hug) and the result (e.g. happy Mommy). 

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So, our bucket is filled with love notes, hearts, drawings, colorful bookmarks for Mommy and so forth. As such, our bucket helps us be mindful, considerate and compassionate. 

DSC_0028"Adrian filled my bucket by giving me a smile," Julia. 

Dr. Montessori described education, as a "help to life" which starts at birth, feeding a peaceful revolution and uniting all in a common aim, attracting them to a single center. She encouraged Mothers, fathers, and politicians to "combine in their respect and help for this delicate work of formation, which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound psychological mystery, under the tutelage of an inner guide. This is the bright new hope for mankind.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 15).  So, when my children come to the bucket, they stop, think and reflect: about the day and what they did, mindful qualities which are the core of Montessori espoused Peace education. Thus, I hope that by building a peaceful core, it will prove to be a strong pivoting center for a peaceful adult. And our peaceful education needs not be elaborate: it can be as simple as reading a book and "filling one's bucket" with happy thoughts and happy deeds. 

For more about our ☮️PEACE Education, read here "🕉Mindfulness with Children" and how to introduce it.