“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”– Thich Nhat Hanh
We have a new tool in the play yard. I gather small groups to try it out. Breathing in: Smell a flower. Breathing out: Blow out a candle. We take turns using the breathing ball to notice our breath and breath together.
Days after our small group orientation, Kimberley brings the breathing ball to a small group that is dysregulated after a conflict. There focus shifts immediately and they each use the ball to calm their bodies, as Kimberley assists. Since then, pairs of children ask to access the ball and use it with respect and intrigue. They breath in while expanding the colorful “ball” and exhale while contracting it.
What a blast! For wheel week, children’s brought their favorite riding toy and helmet. We closed the parking lot to cars and rolled around on bikes, trikes, scooters, wheel barrows and wagons!
We offered wheeled picture lacing cards, cars and ramps, wheeled coloring pages, and an array of books about bikes, trucks, buses, wheelchairs and more!
We offered a basket of stuffies who wanted rides around our loop.
We played a game in which we awarded a golden ticket to everyone who completed a loop on wheels. Each child put their ticket into a common container so we could work together to fill it to the tippy top! Upon our group accomplishment, we could chant, “Team work! ” or “We did it!” emphasizing collective gain over personal accomplishment– team work over competition.
We invited guests to our online circle to teach about wheelchairs and bike safety. We learned wheelchairs promote mobility and enhance quality of life for people who have difficulties in walking; and it’s important to make space for people using wheelchairs to get by. We learned that traffic signs are relevant to cars, pedestrians and bicycles. And we rocked out to Kimya Dawson’s playful song “I Like My Bike”
*Thanks to Katherine & Nicholas from United Cerebral Palsy for sharing about Nic’s wheelchair use.
*Thanks to Liz from Clever Cycles for sharing about bike safety.
“Racism against the AAPI community has been going on for a long, long time. But the rise of hate crimes since the start of the pandemic has been so significant, and I worry what kids might be hearing. Note: I don’t mention any specific incidents. The first 2 mins is me talking, and the last 3 is playing my song ‘Stand Up’.”- Miss Katie
Look at what we can accomplish when working together! Thanks to everyone for joining the effort to freshen up our beloved play yard. Here’s to playing together this Spring!