It’s been a while…

childrens class Masterton west

For all you wonderful children and children’s class teachers out there – you’ll have noticed, that it’s been very quiet from this corner 🙂 Our children’s classes have changed, moved and morphed over the last half year and I haven’t kept this blog up to date.

The Children’s Class at Ko Te Aroha ‘Te Whakakotahitanga o te Rāwhiti’ is still happening, in a slightly different format – Monday afternoons 3-4.30pm, currently for 3 to 5 year olds. This class is taught by Raewyn, based on the Hidden Gems and Ruhi Curriculum and you’ll find updates on their facebook page.

Then there is another class which started last term (yay!), now held at 11 Pownall Street, on Sunday mornings – 10.30 to noon. Taught by Lily and ably assisted by Aisha. Children in this class range from 5 to 9 year-olds, and they are working their way through Grade 1 of the Ruhi Curriculum.

I hope to add some insights and class reports soon…children’s classes are on term break at the moment, starting again in 2 weeks. In the meantime, I hope the existing material on this blog is still useful to you 🙂

With lots of smiles and love!

Leyla

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Consultation and year end review…

Today was a celebration of all the things we learned over the last 21 lessons of Grade 2 – wow! Over this past year, we have worked our way through 7 different themes: Prayer, Obedience to God’s Laws, Seeking knowledge, Living in harmony, Being a good friend, service and Consultation. All of them represent patterns of conduct, that show the inner qualities of the virtues we studied in Grade 1. It’s been quite a journey and I’m very proud, how well the children participated and made this journey so exciting!

To remember the 7 prayers the children have memorised as part of these lessons, we made some very special prayer books today. Get the copy master here (print on 2 separate A4 sheets, fold in half on the horizontal and vertical) and tie together with string – done 🙂

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To finish off for today we prepared some of the craft activities for our end-of-year special day at the upcoming Whiti Te Rā, Saturday 8 December, 9.30am to 4pm at McJorrow Park. Don’t forget and do come and join us there at the Te Whakakotahitanga o te Rawhiti stall for some crafts and fun… It’s been a wonderful year – thank you to everyone who made it possible!!!

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Craft ideas are from the Australian Peace Pack – thank you Australia!

Lesson 21 : Consultation – like making soup….

Lesson 21 has the most wonderful introduction on consultation and the spiritual qualities we need to practice when consulting with each other –

When people come together to consult, they share their ideas with purity of heart and radiant spirits. They all know that, in order to discover the right way forward, they must each contribute their thoughts and understanding. They speak courteously to one another and use kind and gentle words. More important, they know that they must listen carefully to one another and think about what each person is saying.

It is in listening and thinking, not just speaking, that ideas come together; new and wonderful ideas are born. Think of making soup. Many different ingredients are put together in a pot, like carrots and beans, salt and water, and as they cook over the fire, all the separate things melt together into one whole and become a delicious meal for everyone to enjoy. In consultation, as all the participants share their thoughts lovingly, listen patiently and think carefully, with their hearts turned to God and confident in His blessings, the most beautiful ideas emerge.

We decided for the next lesson – we will make soup! 🙂

For today’s lesson, we then concentrated on finishing the memorisation of our prayer. The second half of it was turned into a beautiful pop-up card. See the pics for examples.

There are only 2 more classes before the summer holidays… Next week (2 December) we’ll make soup (bring an ingredient if  you can) and the week after we have our end-of-year celebration – at this point it looks like we might go to the pool – wohoo! 🙂

Note: We’re very excited to be at Whiti Te Rā again this year – held on Saturday, 8 December – where we will have a stall to join in with the neighbourhood celebrations. Come and say hello 🙂

Lesson 20 : Consultation – the source of good and well-being

Singing at the beginning of our classes – we always start with music and prayers and some morning tea – all the age groups together, before starting our separate classes.

For today, we stared with a craft activity. To focus our attention the prayer we are memorising (still working on the first part of it) we created collages – depicting the imagery in the prayer:

‘O my God! O my God! Thou seest these children who are the twigs of the tree of life, the birds of the meads of salvation, the pearls of the ocean of Thy grace, the roses of the garden of Thy guidance.’

Looking at the power of unified thought and action – this was our story for today:

Not long ago, in a country where many people farmed the land, heavy rains caused flooding across an entire region. The rivers overflowed their banks and the flood waters destroyed houses, bridges and schools, roads and fields, sweeping away the crops that had been planted. When the floods were over, most people were left with nothing. They had no homes, and there was little food.

Now, the Bahá’ís who lived in other parts of the country, knowing that the people of the region were suffering, came together to consult to find a way to assist. They realised, of course, that the people needed food. But, as the Bahá’í friends discussed the matter, it became clear that it would not be enough to simply send food. It would be important for the people to be able to grow crops again. How could they help for this to happen?

If they could only get seeds, the people of the region could farm and grow food for themselves as they had done before the flood. Everyone could see that this would be a good way for them to help. So what did they do? The decided to use money contributed by their community to buy many tons of corn seeds. Trucks were piled high with sacks of seeds and transported to the areas that had been worst affected by the floods. The people expressed joy and gratitude, singing and playing drums. With these seeds, they could start farming again, and in spite of the suffering caused by the floods, everyone felt hopeful, strong and happy.

We finished today’s lesson with some drama exercises and a group improvisation – each one representing a character in a village that gets affected by a hurricane and then have to work together to rebuild the village.

Lesson 19 : Consultation

Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding. –Bahá’u’lláh

We are now starting set 7 of the Grade 2 lessons – last set before Grade 3 – wohoo! 🙂 These next 3 lessons are all about ‘consultation’ and how consultation leads to greater understanding. When we consult, we come together in search of truth, discussing possibilities, talking over ideas and sharing understanding. All the participants contribute in whatever way they can so that a unified vision of the way forward can emerge.

We brainstormed some ideas on when we can use the gift of consultation – at school when deciding what game to play during lunch break; at home, when deciding what movie to watch for family movie night; when having to decide on what options to take at school; when planning a family trip; when buying a birthday present for someone; etc etc. we can consult on amy matter big or small!

We used the drama exercise for this lesson, which was great fun! The king of a large kingdom comes to visit a small village. He arrives at night on a large animal nobody had heard of before – an ‘elephant’. As he camps on the outskirts of the village for the night, the villagers send out some youth to go and find out what this ‘elephant’ looks like. It is pitchdark and each youth takes a turn to ‘see/feel’ the elephant. Each comes back with different reports – it’s like a snake at the front, long, thick and bendy; it’s like a tree-trunk that moves; it;s like a wall with rough skin on it; it’s smooth and pointy at the end; it’s like a rope….  such differing impressions make it hard for the youth to explain the elephant. On consulting together they realise they have simply ‘seen’ the elephant from different sides and if they put them all together they can make out a perfect image of the elephant! yay 🙂

To finish off our class for today, we started making pompom bookmarks – see this fabulous tutorial for instructions.

And while we had our class – the youngest participants had a puppet show – I didn’t get a chance to ask them what the story was about, but see the pics for now 🙂





Lesson 18: Work in the spirit of service is worship

“It is incumbent upon each one of you to engage in some occupation – such as a craft, a trade or the like. We have exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship of the one true God.” – Bahá’u’lláh

As we grow up, we each become engaged in different kinds of work and make an effort to learn the skills and abilities, knowledge and qualities, we need to serve. Be it as a farmer, a doctor, a teacher, a scientist, a musician, or a factory worker. You too, will need to think about how you will contribute to the welfare of society as you grow older.

With this introduction, the children then brainstormed some ideas of possible occupations and specifically, what professions they would like to carry out – we had it all, from zoo keeper, to fashion designer, to ornithologist – there are sooo many options out there! 🙂

Our craft/art activity was inspired by today’s story on calligraphy. During the time of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the children in ‘Akka were taught to do calligraphy. One boy found it very hard to concentrate and patiently practice it, as he would rather go out and play. One day, he used all his willpower to perservere and produced a beautiful piece of calligraphy, so when it came around to showing his work to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he received praise for it and was the happiest boy in the world. But the following week, he hadn’t produced any more work to present and thought if he would show the same piece again, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá surely wouldn’t remember… But of course He did and commented on  the fact how closely this piece matched the one he showed last week…




We noticed that doing calligraphy takes a lot of patience, perseverance and care – and probably a lot of practice to become good at it. The perfect exercise in endurance and excellence 😉

We used the letters of the P22 Ruthie typeface to trace our names and practice a little calligraphy – everyone did an amazing job! wohoo!

Lesson 17 : Service – working hard for the benefit of others

Today’s lesson was about service – and how we need to work hard and make an effort every day for the benefit of humanity. Taking ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the perfect Example, we see how there is no time to be idle (or bored!).

Waste not your time in idleness and sloth. Occupy yourselves with that which profiteth yourselves and others. – Bahá’u’lláh

We read a beautiful story in the context of ‘selfless service’ –

There was a man in Haifa who disliked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Whenever he saw the Master, he crossed the street to avoid Him. Finally, one day he approached ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and said, ‘So You are called the Servant of God.’ ‘Yes,’ said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘that is my name.’ ‘Well,’ said the man proudly, ‘I am Moses.’ Very well, Moses,’ said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘meet Me at this corner at seven o‘clock in the morning tomorrow and we will go and serve the people like the great Moses did.’ The man agreed and when they met the next morning, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took him on His routine of serving the unfortunates, helping the poor and needy, consulting with people and giving counsel. At six o‘clock that evening when they returned to the spot where they had started, he was extremely weary. ‘Remember, Moses,’ said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá before they parted, ‘I‘ll meet you here tomorrow morning at seven o‘clock.’ Again they met the following morning and again ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took the man through His regular work. Returning at six o‘clock that evening the man was very tired. Sternly, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told him, ‘Remember, Moses, tomorrow morning I‘ll meet you here.’ They met the third morning and again ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took him through His regular work day. When they returned that evening, the man was exhausted. As they parted, the man said, ‘‘Abdu’l-Bahá, tomorrow morning I will no longer be Moses.’

 

 

 

As a craft we made some lovely little bird-feeders – reminding ourselves, that we can extend our service to include the animal kingdom too 🙂 Cut out from egg-cartons, decorated and attached with some string, they hand in the trees, full of breadcrumbs for the birds to feed on!

We skipped the drama for this lesson, as we spent more time practicing our prayer for this set. Writing it out on in parts on little pieces of paper, we distributed them around the room – walking from piece to piece we recited line to line – until the children new the whole prayer off by heart without using the words – WELL DONE!!!! 🙂

End of term – Service session

We had a wonderful end-of-term class today! As our lessons are all about service, we’ve finished off with a few projects: weeding the veggie-beds at Ko Te Aroha, making pikelets for everyone and creating some beautifully decorated crowns, for all these wonderful acts of service the children completed. It’s been a wonderful term, and we wish everyone a happy break over the school holidays. We’ll be back after Labour weekend, end of October. Ka kite!

That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. –Bahá’u’lláh

Lesson 16 : Service

Lesson 16 is the first one in Set 6 – all lessons in this set are about Service. And this first one focuses on ‘serving God by serving His loved ones’…

We started to brainstorm some ideas of what sort of service we could do, as a group/class: baking & sharing the food, reading stories to the younger children class, gardening around Ko te Aroha, and cleaning up the neighbourhood streets – were just a few of the ideas. We decided to start with the neighbourhood cleanup right away – see below – the wonderful children picking up rubbish in the streets!

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We also made a start with learning the new prayer for this set of lessons – it is this one:

We decided to write the prayer up on a big hand shape – lets hope it will make memorising easier 🙂

Next week we’ll continue with our lesson on service (as we didn’t quite get to finish) – more service projects are planned too, we’ll do some baking, read stories for the younger children and if the weather is nice, make a start with the gardening too. That will also conclude the classes for this term – so hope to see you all there!

“That one indeed is a man who. today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race.” – Bahá’u’lláh

 

Lesson 15: It’s a blessing to have many true friends

Today’s lesson concludes the set on “Being a good friend”.

We first reviewed the prayer we’re learning (Refresh and gladden my spirit…) – using the melody by Tara Ellis. And then we went over the lesson’s intro”

True friends care for each other. They enjoy spending time together, and each wants what is best for the other. If we see our friends are sad, we don what we can to bring joy to their hearts. If a friend is sick, we want to make sure he or she is well cared for. Because we want what is best for our friends, we listen to them and always try to pay attention to their wishes. It is a joy to give something up when we know it will make our friend happy or help him or her to progress. In friendship we give of our time and our possessions and share our happiness and our learning. What a blessing to have many true friends.

Of course, sometime friends (and we) make mistakes. and we may feel sadness in our hearts – but we can be forgiving. When our hearts are filled with generosity and we remember our love for our friend, we can forgive and the sadness goes away.

We then focussed on today’s story – it is about a mountain, who was so tall, that he only had the lovely fluffy white clouds for company. He loved playing with them, but was very sad, when one summer’s day, they didn’t return. He asks the sky, why they’re not coming, and sky tells the mountain, that they’ve gone to a afar away place to the kingdom of winter and they’re not returning until the end of summer. The mountain is very sad and starts to cry, his tears running down his side in rivers. Before long, the cracked soil on the plain far below drinks up all those tears and starts to flourish. It calls out to the mountain and thanks him for the water. The mountain is very surprised – he’d never looked down below and was so happy to have found a new friend in the meadow.

To remember that we can find friends in the most unlikely places (or at least in places we might not have looked before) the children painted the scene of the mountain – with fluffy white cotton balls for clouds…

To finish off our class for today, we played a great game, as part of drama improvs – sitting in a big circle and passing around various every-day items (a ball, remote control, pen, piece of fabric, etc) – each child in turn has to pretend this object to be of a certain use (fabric – this is my hanky, my blanket, my apron, my turban, etc). It was fabulous, and we had so much fun doing soooo many rounds, we didn’t even have time left to do the drama improvisation 🙂 Maybe next time!

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