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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 🙂




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!!!


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

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!

Lesson 13 : Being a good friend

In this fifth set of lessons in grade two, we’re looking at how to be a good friend. Lesson 13 focuses on the one true friend, that we will always have by our side – God. Because he loves each one of us and cares for us all, He overlooks our shortcomings and forgives us when we forget to follow His guidance. Knowing that God is there for us always, makes us feel we’re never alone. Of course, there are many other friends we have as well, some stay with us for a long time, some come and go. It’s these relationships we need to nourish and look after.

We’ve decided to choose a different prayer to learn by heart for this set of lessons – it is this one:

We decided to memorise it by learning the tune with it – haven’t quite decided which one yet, either from Anthony and Michael’s Strive CD or Tara Ellis’ Devotions.

After spending quite a bit of time on making sure we understand all the words in this prayer, we moved on to making friendship bracelets – yay!

We used this lovely tutorial for an easy way of braiding the fishbone pattern bracelets. Using embroidery cotton (get cheap 5 colour packs from the Warehouse, for approx NZ$2.50), the children made some gorgeous bracelets – we might have to do this again, it was fun!

To finish off, we shared the story of Howard Kelly – and the famous story A GLASS OF MILK. Unfortunately we ran out of time to look at the other story in the lesson and do any of the drama. But we might be able to complete that next week.

See you all then!

Lesson 12 – Cooperation

From the lesson intro text:

Many things cannot be done by one person alone. Without cooperation, little can be accomplished in this world. Think of all the people of the past who have worked together to help improve the world! Advances in medicine, the quality of the food we grow, discover ways to communicate with people in far-off places….

And we, too, work together in harmony in our class here, in our families and at school. Sometimes this means that we must be ready to give up what we want for ourselves for the good of the whole. We show kindness to those with whom we are working and patience when someone makes a mistake.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá often spoke about the importance of cooperation. Human beings are meant to cooperate and associate with one another. Through association, He told us, we find happiness and develop, as individuals and collectively as a group.

To illustrate the theme of today’s lesson – the children shared the story of Nettie Tobin and the cornerstone. They then cooperated on a joint ‘book-making’ project, where each of the children took on a specific part of the story and illustrated it, to then be collated into a beautiful little book ‘Netty’s Rock’. What a wonderful job everyone!

The book is currently at home with one of the collaborators, and we’ll show more pics next time. Here is the making of…


The last page of the children’s book contains the quote for today’s lesson:

“The supreme need of humanity is cooperation and reciprocity.” – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá


Lesson 10 – and welcome back :)

We had our first childrens’ class today, after the school holidays. Welcome back everyone! After some beautiful prayers read by all children and some pretty impressive poi-action, waiata, and morning tea, the older class launched into Set 4 of Grade 2.

This set of lessons (3) is all about living in Harmony. And the first one, about the importance of unity. As with the previous 3 sets, we started learning a new prayer. To help us do so, we created a ‘mural’ containing all the imagery of the beautiful language used.

Our students today worked hard to plan their mural of the prayer…

This is the complete prayer:

O Lord God!

Make us as waves of the sea, as flowers of the garden, united, agreed through the bounties of Thy love. O Lord! Dilate the breasts through the signs of Thy oneness, and make all mankind as stars shining from the same height of glory, as perfect fruits growing upon Thy tree of life.

Verily, Thou art the Almighty, the Self-Subsistent, the Giver, the Forgiving, the Pardoner, the Omniscient, the One Creator.

We then looked at one part of the drama activity for this lesson – the story of a hand, where the fingers fight and then decided they don’t really need the thumb. The thumb agrees to just go and have a rest and leave other fingers to fend for themselves – when they try to pick up a pen and write, or close some buttons, or even catch a ball, they run into troubles. Realising, they can’t quite do it without the thumb. They make peace and start working together again – even though they’re all different – short, long, bending this way and that – they are very strong when working in unity and harmony.

…fingers fighting…

…and fingers working in harmony 🙂

We finished our lesson for today by making little ‘hand-puppets’, out of popsicle sticks and foam-hand-shapes, to remind us of the story, that even though we’re all different and have different roles, looks etc – we’re only reaching our real strength when we work together.

Next week we’ll continue with our lesson and work through the story and drama elements we didn’t get to today. See you all then!

Last class for this term – Crafts! :)

Happy end of term everyone!

We had our last class today and as our last few lessons were all about knowledge and learning the sciences, arts and crafts, we finished our term with a very crafty session! yay! Sewing handpuppets, stuffed eye-monsters and sausage dogs; harakeke weaving, pompom making, and baking delicious banana chocolate chip muffins…What a wonderful way to finish up – enjoy the pictures and see you back on the 22nd of July!

And here something to share for next month’s Maori Language Week – the unity Prayer in Te Reo (the link below lets you download a pdf version of it). We’ll be practicing it more in new term. Ka kite anō.

Unity Prayer in Maori

Lesson 4 (grade 2) on Obedience to God’s Laws

Today we started the second set of Grade 2. Each of the 7 sets in Grade 2 have 3 lessons, that concentrate on one theme – the last set (lessons 1 to 3) was on Prayer, this second one now is on Obedience to God’s Laws. We will probably dedicate two classes to each lesson, as we don’t seem to be able to pack everything into one – so bear with us as we make our way through them 🙂

Each set has a new prayer that the children are encouraged to memorise. For the last one we used memorisation cards – this time we decided to come up with our own tune to memorise the prayer (see copy below). We’re half-way there already – hopefully I’ll be able to post an audio file, when we’re done next week!!!

We took a thorough look at the words in this prayer, to make sure all children understood the meaning. (Eg. unite = bring together; commandments= binding instructions; endeavour= undertaking, service, the act of following God’s law, etc).

Then we talked about how laws (in general) keep people happy, safe and content. The children were sharing some laws they knew and scenarios of what would happen if they wouldn’t be observed.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us that life was created for happiness, not for sorrow, for pleasure, not for grief. It is through following God’s loving guidance and living according to His teachings that we find true happiness – a happiness that will last forever.


For our drama portion of the class, we enacted the lesson’s story of the ‘King and his minister (and the cabbage)’. In short it goes like this:

The king tells his minister that he heard that cabbage is bad for you, to which the minister replies, he’ll immediately tell the cook to not serve it anymore. A short while later, the king eats some cabbage and finds it most pleasing, telling his minister so. The minister immediately says he’ll inform the cook to cook it often now. The kings asks him what he’ll tell the cooks when they ask why he changed his mind about cabbage? Minister: “I will tell the cook that I am the servant of the king, not the servant of the cabbage. What is pleasing in Your sight is pleasing in mine.”

The children took turns in the roles of the king/queen, minister, cook (and pot), as well as the cabbage. 🙂

Well done everyone – can’t wait to finish composing our melody for the unity prayer next week – see you all then!

The younger children (3-5s) made beautiful windsocks, with quotes about service on them (sorry, the photographer was a bit slow in catching them whizzing past....)

Lesson 3 (grade 2) on ‘Prayer’ – how to pray

Sorry this post is a bit late – I’ve had my wonderful family visiting from overseas 🙂

Last Sunday we finished the first unit of Grade 2, which is all about PRAYER. In this third lesson, we looked at ‘how’ we pray. Respectfully, with dignity, patiently and fully concentrating on the Word of God… We looked at this over two lessons – in the first one we tried to set the atmosphere for it by setting a table nicely with a cloth and candles, starting out with some music (a ladder for the soul) and then taking turns to read a prayer each, slowly and with devotion – everyone listening carefully, while the other reads.

In our second lesson we discussed how we need to show reverence even towards the Books that contain the Words of God. Not just banging them on the table or throwing them to each other, but handling them carefully, as we would a little bird, or precious object. To make this concept of respect and devotion more tangible, we decided to make little felt-covers for mini-prayer books. See the picture for the lovely results!

We simply used a plain straight piece of felt, wide enough to fold in on both sides and create little ‘sleeves’ for the front and back page of the prayer book used – and then sewed them top and bottom with a blanket stitch.

It’s been an interesting experience using the new materials (Ruhi Curriculum, Grade 2) and working on the same topic for 3 lessons in a row. There is definitely more space for getting deeper into it! The crafts we selected to support the learnings were partly new and some we’d done before (felt covers). They are always a great way to remind the children of their learning and them something to take home and share with families too.

Next Sunday we’ll move into unit 2 (lessons 4-6) – exciting times! 🙂

Grade 2: ‘Prayer’ – lesson 1 (part2)

How well the children did with their memorisation cards! We practiced the prayer again on Sunday and most of them already had the prayer memorised! Wonderful!

class on prayer (with older children)

Following on with our theme from the previous week, we continued to look at the ‘nature of prayer’. As we ran out of time the previous week, we now worked on the drama elements of lesson 1 – practicing to use our bodies to express/imitate certain movements or animals. From grasshoppers hopping, to lions roaring, from snakes slithering to panda bears munching – I think we had it all 🙂 These exercises are a lead-in to more elaborate drama practice later, and are designed to help us control our bodies, practice movement to express certain words, ideas and concepts.

The children then finished off with a little craft activity, related to the prayer they are memorising – “I am a tender plant, cause me to be nurtured through the outpourings of the clouds of Thy Mercy” – decorating beautiful pre-cut flower shapes.

Younger children made animal headbands…

We also introduced our Memorisation Booklets, which the children get to take home every week to practice their quotes and prayers from the lessons in set 1-3 (grade 2). Each time they give it a go and try to say it off by heart in class, they receive a little sticker – yay!

Note: Next week is the beginning of the festival of Ayyam-i-Há according to the Bahá’í calendar. To celebrate this, we are planning some fun, games and a BYO-picnic at Mc Jorrow park – meet us there at 10am to share in the joy of celebration (if it rains, meet us at Ko Te Aroha instead).

First class – new lessons, Grade 2: ‘Prayer’

With the first class of the new year, we introduced the new lessons for Grade 2 from  the Ruhi Curriculum. In this level, the lessons are structured slightly differently: there are 7 units of 3 lessons each. Each unit concentrates on one theme, which is then looked at in 3 sessions.

Our first theme is PRAYER. Looking at the what, why and how we pray. Understanding that it is a way to communicate with God, expressing our hearts desire and love.

The children memorize a new prayer for each unit. To get started with memorising the first one, we created little prayer cards: each one has an image on the front and the appropriate section in words (illustrated in the image) on the back. Using the images as triggers to remember the words, the children will committed to memory all the words very soon.

Stories and Drama are another integral part of the Grade 2 lessons. We are planning to put more emphasis on the storytelling quality this term, bringing props, pictures and energy into it as well. We didn’t quite get to the drama itself as we ran out of time. We’ll catch up next Sunday.

Thanks to everyone for making it such a wonderful start to the year – all the help and support we get from the community and the many smiling faces of the children, make it the best place to be on Sunday morning 🙂

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