Students explore nature creatively, design mandalas and establish an interactive Pop Up exhibit for Preschool and Primary pupils.
As part of the Who We Are Unit of Inquiry, Kindergarten students explored ways to help them begin to self-regulate. This led to inquiries into strategies to use when one is feeling sad or frustrated, and ways one can achieve calmness. As a class they explored thoughts on being calm vs excited. The children gave their feedback on what techniques one could use to generate calmness and discussed what makes them feel calm.
With clipboards in hand, the children embarked on surveying various ICS personnel and leadership team members to research what happiness means to those individuals – asking them to draw and describe what or who makes them happy. The classmates wrote letters asking for drawings about what makes children in other grades feel happy. Then the Kindergarten youngsters illustrated and discussed with their fellow classmates who and what activities make them happy.
Learning about yoga and mindfulness helped the students to focus their attention and increase coordination whilst releasing excess energy. They were enthusiastic to practice the different yoga poses so they could create their own. The youngsters were asked how the postures make them feel, what they found particularly easy and what they found challenging, as well as what they think about while practicing each pose. The pupils described the ideas and feelings created through body movements.
The yoga activity proved helpful beyond physical wellbeing. A sense of togetherness was promoted and seen were social and emotional learning in a display of enhanced focus and better concentration. The students then created mandalas, drawing circles that have unique meanings to each artist.
When skies are clear, the youngsters head into the nearby forest to examine elements that are like mandalas in nature. They spy items that inspire them to create nature-based mandalas such as fallen twigs or small pinecones, colourful dried leaves, small rocks, pine needles. In using objects they find during their quiet stroll through the forest, the students learn that not everything of value must be material. Furthermore, the creative project allows them to express themselves and discover concepts of symmetry and patterns in objects of nature, which is important in learning about Math - to explore mathematical patterns and structures.
Later, a Yoga Pop Up exhibit was held in the Primary building where other Grade groups were invited to peruse the mandala art and to design their own. Guests were also encouraged to share what makes them feel better when they are sad. A yoga mat was available if pupils were keen to try any of the Kindergarten children’s yoga poses or if they were interested in creating their own.