It is an extraordinary time to be alive right now. This morning the Saskatchewan government announced that it was following the lead of other provinces and closing schools indefinitely. While this is the best decision that they could make at the time, it creates some real concerns for parents. I cannot address all of your concerns, but I can share some classroom magic that will support ongoing learning for you and the young people in your life.
If you or anyone you know is wondering how to move forward in a way that keeps your young people connected to learning I have a few thoughts. My first thought is that this is as opportunity to re-define learning the way we have always envisioned it.
- Learn a language with your child (maybe your heritage language?).
- Re-connect with the land daily, fresh air boosts the immune system.
- Teach sewing skills (or have a relative do it) and repair everything that needs a button, hem or seam.
- Teach critical thinking and the skill of vetting sources using ongoing media coverage and social media.
- Teach crocheting or knitting, remember to start small.
- Teach ceremonies, protocols and customs that are important to your culture or religion.
- don’t make meals FOR your family, make them WITH your family.
- Help young people build their own routines that will support long term health.
- Challenge your family to find math in every day life and environments.
- Find ways to support your community.
If you are still with me I have a challenge. . .
Create a “Keep Calm and Learn” box for your home. Choose a common space that everyone has access to and start filling it day-by-day, element-by-element. This isn’t a sprint its a marathon. Create the elements one at a time, and do it as a family. In fact, I will help you. Check in every once in a while and I will post a new activity or share a new resource that you can use to connect and learn. Make this part of your daily routine, so everyone knows exactly what each thing is and how to use it.
Let’s start with a sparkle jar
This activity is sometimes referred to as “Mind in a Jar” because the water signifies our mind and the glitter our thoughts and feelings. When the water is calm it is clear, much like our mind is clear when our thoughts and feelings are calm. When something happens that causes our thoughts and feelings to swirl around, even just a little, we cannot see quite as clearly. And when the mind is very active, we can’t see (through the bottle) at all. If we needed to make a decision or respond thoughtfully to someone, we would be very challenged to do so until we were able to calm our mind and see clearly.
It is important for children to understand that our thoughts and feelings are not bad, even when they are upsetting – they are a part of what makes us who we are. Mindfulness teaches us to grow in our awareness of our internal and external states; to be curious of our thoughts and feelings, and learn to sit with them even when they are uncomfortable.
This jar can be used for all ages as a calm down strategy.
Sparkle Jar Materials
Small jar: make sure it’s one that will hold liquid tightly
2 tubes of glitter glue
Half a tube of glitter
A few drops of food color
Water (switch out with oil if you want to slow it down – then just use sparkles and other treasures without the glue)
Glue gun or crazy glue to glue the lid closed.
This is pretty simple: just add everything to the jar. Use warm water and give it a good shake to get the glue mixed in well. Bring on the peace!