Tag Archive | story

A class with the ‘littlies’… learning about patience

Kia ora everyone! We had a fabulous class supporting our youngest children’s class participants – the 2-5 year olds. Starting out with prayers and songs and of course a scrumptious morning tea, Raewyn then started the lesson on patience.

First we heard the story of the tortoise and the hare. Each of the children could then choose to be either a tortoise or a hare – colouring in their little paper puppets (stuck on a straw) and re-enacting the race, that the two take. The hare laughs and is off in a hurry, realising, that the tortoise cannot keep up with his speed. He goes and has a little sleep since he’s so far ahead of the tortoise. But – the tortoise – slow and steady, wins the race, while the hare is sleeping! What an example of patience and perseverance! 🙂

After finishing the race, there was a sing-along to Stefan’s CD – the ‘Patience’ song: “…practicing patience is a wonderful thing, the more that you practice the more love it will bring, so be willing to wait for the things that you want, be patient and gentle and kind…”

And then the wonderful children did some more crafts – a pretty little butterfly, cut out of coloured paper, and its wings decorated beautifully with glitter gems and coloured bits of paper. They then got stuck onto a peg, that had a magnet attached, so the butterflies can go to our homes to adorn our fridges. They’ll definitely help us remember to be patient – just as it takes time for a caterpillar to wrap itself up into a cocoon (or chrysalis) before transforming into a beautiful butterfly.

After a snack of popcorn, which the children helped make (very patiently too!) it was time for quick ride on the 6-seater buggy – what a wonderful Sunday! Thank you everyone and we can’t wait to see you again next week.

Grade 2 – lesson 4: Selflessness

Thanks to our wonderful friends for hosting our lesson in Carterton today!!! 🙂 We had a wonderful day… starting out with prayers and singing, we reviewed our memorisations. The stickers in the memoristation booklets prove to be a very encouraging incentive…. well done everyone! The children couldn’t wait to have a turn at trying the quotes they had memorised already!

Selflessness – when we are selfish, we are worshipping ourselves, when we become selfless, we are like stars shedding the light of truth on the world of humanity, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us. The more selfless we become the better we are able to help change our world into a better place and bring about the unity of humankind. One is honourable if one arises to serve others; one is wretched and low when one ignores the good of society and thinks only of selfish interests.

“If man be imbued with all good qualities but be selfish, all the other virtues will fade or pass away and eventually he will grow worse.” –Bahá’u’lláh 

After also looking at today’s quote on selflessness, we then learnt a new song called ‘Kam Kam, Ruz Beh Ruz – Little by Little, Day by Day’. (you can find it here: http://www.ruhi.org/resources/songs/25_KAM_KAM.mp3)

Our story for today was about an old farmer and his meeting a king. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá often used to tell stories to illustrate praiseworthy qualities, and this is one of them. (Ruhi Book 3a, p36) The old farmer is planting trees, and when the king asks him about why he would do that, even though he might be long dead when these trees finally bear fruit, the farmer replies, that he enjoyed eating fruit all his life, off trees that people before him had planted. So he is now planting trees for the people after him. The king is so happy with this answer, that he gives the farmer a gold coin. The farmer smiles and says that these trees had borne fruit already, although he only just put them in the ground…

After some warm up drama exercises, we enacted this lovely story, with the children taking turns being the king and farmer, the king’s horse and bystanders. They are definitely developing more skills – it’s fantastic to see!

 …the farmer and the king…

To remind us of this story of selflessness, we did some crafts, and ‘created’ some trees – and the odd farmer and king seems to pop up as well 🙂

Beautiful work everyone! and thanks again for hosting our class – it’s been so much fun! 😉

Lesson 2 : Have a pure, kind and radiant heart

What a beautiful day we had to learn about purity of heart. So much sunshine, in and outside the classroom 🙂 After prayers, we started our lesson with learning a new quote by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

“He is God!  O God, my God!  Bestow upon me a pure heart, like unto a pearl.”

The beautifully illustrated version of it, was our colouring in activity at the end of class too. (See today’s lesson in pdf format for a copy of it.)

The story we read today, was from a new book, called ‘Daily Reflections and Stories for Children‘. It is compiled by Munirih Hodge and Margo Styan – and the short stories are beautiful – 19 different ones, all arranged by virtues and spiritual qualities. The one we read today, was about two visitors who came to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They didn’t like each other at all, but ‘Abdu’l-Bahá showed them how to be friends and told them ‘My home is the home of joy and delight. My home is the home of laughter … Whoever enters through the portals of this home must go out with a gladsome heart.” They left the house the best of friends. 🙂

To visualise how precious our hearts are and how practicing kindness and radiance can help us to keep them pure, just like a pearl – our craft was inspired by shells and pearls. See the pics for details…

 

After playing musical statues with Stefan Brown’s ‘Kindness’ song, we settled down for some calming colouring in. Well done everyone! What a lovely class!

Next week we’re having a special class as it’s ‘Ayyam-i-Há – the time of hospitality, celebrating unity and gifts… We’ll keep you posted on what’s planned, as soon as we have all details sorted 🙂

Lesson 1 : unity in diversity

What a beautiful first class, thanks everyone! We started out with lesson 1 (from the Ruhi Curriculum) which is all about UNITY. After some fun introductions – where the children said their name and an animal, that starts with the same first letter, as well as making that animal’s noise – we shared a prayer for children, by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Today’s story was called ‘The Secret in the the Garden‘, by Winifred Barnum, in which an old lady tries to teach the villagers to live in harmony, just like the beautiful flowers in her garden. At first only a very clever little girl really understands her and then helps the others in the village to learn about the beauty of unity in diversity.

We didn’t quite have time to memorise the quote for today – but created some sparkly candle holders to remind us of it. They are made of little glass jars, that we glued over with torn, colourful paper-bits and then we simply stuck a tealight inside them.

So powerful is the light of unity that it can illumine the whole earth.

Well done all – they look gorgeous! 😉 I can’t wait for tonight, when we can light them and enjoy the colourful light that will glow from them! See you next week, where we will learn about the importance of having a pure, kindly and radiant heart…

Have a look at a pdf of the complete lesson here, or check out the ‘lesson page‘ for more 🙂

Lesson 23 : Humility

We started our class today with prayers as usual. While doing so, we tried to take on a humble posture, as if we would be approaching a king. The children did very well!

Book 3 has a beautiful little song for this lesson called ‘Be like the Earth’. I’ve just found this great wikisite with all the lesson’s songs here. The imagery created by the words of the song, inspired our art activity for today – gorgeous and lush collages of trees, gardens and everything on the earth…

We were all quite addicted to making collages, letting it take up most of our lesson time 🙂 We did have time for a quick story about how ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was a perfect example of humility. You’ll find it on page 32 of Ruhi Book 3.

To finish off today’s lesson, we started learning a new prayer – which has been put to music most beautifully by Tara Ellis. It is a prayer by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and goes like this:

O God!  Refresh and gladden my spirit.  Purify my heart.  Illumine my powers.  I lay all my affairs in Thy hand.  Thou art my Guide and my Refuge.  I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being.  O God!  I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me.  I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

O God!  Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself.  I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.

You’ll find all details for this lesson on the ‘lesson‘ page. See you all next week – where we learn more about Compassion.

Lesson 21 : Truthfulness

Kia ora – what a beautiful day it turned out to be! We had a fabulous lesson today – learning all about truthfulness. Being truthful is not always easy, we found out, but then telling lies never feels right either! Sometimes just exaggerating a story we tell about something we did, is moving away from being truthful. There’s no harm in it, if we say that it’s just a (made-up) story, but not if we pretend it was true. Investigating the truth for ourselves is another important aspect of practicing to be truthful – don’t just believe everything other people tell you…

Bahá’u’lláh said: “Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.” The children learned this quote very quickly with some vigorous drumming, to get the rhythm right – well done!!!

The story of The Berenstain Bears and the truth – was the perfect illustration of today’s theme. It’s a great story, liked by younger and older audiences alike. And as one of our students in today’s class pointed out, there is a really lovely quote in the front of the book:

In the book, Brother and Sister Bear made up a fantastical story of a bird, that supposedly had flown into the treehouse and knocked down Mother Bear’s favourite lamp… the bird took on all sorts of different shapes, colours and features, with every retelling of the untrue story. In the end they learn that there is nothing finer than telling the truth – because trust, if broken, cannot be mended, whereas a lamp can always be glued back together :)!

Our birds were colourful and brightly fantastical as well – but we made them out of paper, and didn’t use them as a scapegoat…

And because it was such a sunny day – we took our birds outside to fly about and rest in a tree…

Thanks to all the wonderful children, for being such lovely students today – and see you next week. Or if you can all make it:

Join us for the Holy Day Celebration on Friday 12 November – for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh! We’ll celebrate at the Featherston Community centre, starting 5.30pm with devotions, music, and stories and then have a shared pot-luck dinner. Look forward to seeing you all there!

For references to today’s lesson – check out the lesson page (lesson 6 on truthfulness, and lesson 12 on kindness for the bird templates)

Lesson 18 : Justice

Today we looked at the lesson on “Justice” a bit closer. Starting out with some of the explanations from the Virtues Guide. There are some fabulous examples in there about what being just really means (see pages 161 onwards). We learned, that being just is looking through our own eyes and not through others – finding the truth for ourselves. Making sure things are fair, treating everyone equally, no matter what their race, background, age or looks are.

Virtues Guide - 'How to practice justice'

 

The children practiced being just by having share out bunches of balloons. There wasn’t always an amount, that made equal distribution easy (ie. 11 balloons shared among 3) – and they came up with some very creative solutions: giving others more balloons than themselves; keeping some balloons on the side, if someone else might come along, etc.

The children were very good at sharing fair and square! Their sense of justice is fabulous!

After practicing our quote (see quote of the week) we learned the song from Book 3 “Justice is the way” (page 19, or use lyrics here, thanks to resources on http://aotearoa-institute.bahai.org.nz). We had good fun with it! Doing it in lots of different voices 🙂

For crafts, we created justice puzzles. Each child had a pre-cut jigsaw puzzle (from the 2$ shop, 4 in a packet) and drew their interpretation of the path of justice. Some very imaginative work  results!

We finished today’s lesson with the story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, travelling from ‘Akka to Haifa in a regular coach. See pages 20 – 21 in Ruhi Book 3.

This was our last class for this term – next week is school holidays – 🙂 – see you all back on the 17th of October, same place, same time (although it will be daylight savings by then – yay!).

Lesson 17 : Pure, kind & radiant heart

This must be one of my favourite lessons 🙂 it is based on lesson 2 in Ruhi Book 3, and we’ve gone through it before. The children needed very little prompting to remember the quote for today’s lesson:

“O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart.”

We changed the craft slightly too – painting beautiful hearts – pure, kind and radiant ones – but then stringing them up, instead of using them as magnets. We loved the way they look, when we wrote the words first with oil crayons, and then painted over with a water based paint – the brightly colourful results are gorgeous!

 (the lovely ‘heart-mobiles’ and their makers 🙂 )

For today’s story, we used an ‘old’ book I had from my parents, called ‘The Scottish Visitors’ – a story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to London. It’s beautifully illustrated, and the story suits age groups from 5 to 12 alike!

We finished the class by playing the game ‘Burning thirst’ (Ruhi book 3, page 18). Sticks are tied to childrens’ arms – to prevent them bending their elbows – and they pretend to have walked in the desert and are very thirsty. A glass of water is given to them and they have to try and drink it (only works if they work together and hold it for each other). 🙂

And then sang Stefan Brown’s song on ‘kindness’. Always a favourite of everyone in class. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday everyone and see you next week, which will be the last class of this term (19th September).

Lesson 16 : Unity

Happy Fathersday..! We had a small class today, no doubt, children were at home celebrating their dads 🙂

We looked at the virtue of unity in today’s class. The quote, which we learned in lesson 1 already, was quickly memorised or remembered. And we moved straight to some songs – ‘unity’ by Stefan Brown, and ‘Ye are drops’ from Ruhi Book 3.

We made some unity candle holders – a triangle made up of linked people, which the children decorated beauitfully, set on a base, with a candle in the middle – they look really cool – well done!

After the crafts we played  a game called ‘giants’. Where two children are tied together by their leg, and have to work together to walk. Making it more difficult with obstacles they have to manage, or funny walks – frog leaps, duck waddles, etc. – we had some very talented giants, doing great team work!

We finished our lesson today with a story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the charcoal – p 15. Ruhi Book 3. Check out the Lessons Page  for more info. As we are now repeating the 15 previous lessons, I won’t post them in every report again. Only the bits we did different or that are new the lesson done previously.

If you are using any of these lessons, leave a comment let me know how they work for you – it be great to hear what others do in their classes and ways to continually improve them 🙂

Til’ next week! 😉

Lesson 15 : Trust in God

This is the last lesson of the Ruhi Book 3 programme – and a beautiful way to round up everything we’ve learned. Putting our trust in God and committing our affairs into his keeping.

The word ‘affairs’ took a bit of exploring with the children – what are our affairs? Are they the things we think about, worry about, get caught up with….? Our fears, our longings, everything that keeps our minds, hearts and souls busy? We figured that there isn’t one correct answer, and maybe they are different ‘things’ for different people.

The children learned the quote of today (see box on the right) in record time. Well done everyone! We then moved on to do some arts/crafts – a beautifully decorated prayer, which we attached to a little paper stand, so we can have it our our night tables, or where we can see it easily.

With the children’s amazing track record of memorising, we might need to tackle the prayer from the art activity next time… 🙂

We finished our lesson with a story from Ruhi Book 3 – about a father (Sina) and his son (Habib), travelling together to visit some Baha’is in a village far afield. The travel was hard going, the weather miserable and on top of it all Sina got sick. His son took him to a village where they knew noone, but were warmly received and looked after. It turned out, that the whole village was Baha’i too, and all ended well – an example of how when we put our trust in God, he will be there to help and guide us.

Have a look at today’s lesson here – or check out the ‘Lesson’ page.

Next week we will start with lesson 1 again (Unity) exploring many more ways to learn about the virtues and principles taught in them. See you all then! 🙂

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