The Top 5 Reasons Why We Chose LWS for Preschool

 

By Sean McCormick, life coach, founder of Float Seattle, and LWS parent

Hey reader, if you’re reading this you’re thinking about enrolling your kid at Living Wisdom School and if you’re like me and my wife, you’re picky. My name is Sean McCormick, nice to meet you! 

There are a million options when it comes to private preschools I know: Living Wisdom, Montessori, Waldorf schools, Outdoor Schools, Co-ops – all with varying approaches. But let me lay out why we chose, and why we are VERY happy with our choice to enroll our 4.5 year old son – Reza (Re-zuh) at Living Wisdom School. 

 

  • Small Class Sizes: During our research and tours of private preschools we saw as many as 16-24 toddlers per classroom typically with 1 teacher and 1 assistant. Mind-boggling! It’s  challenging enough to give fully present, adequate attention to our 4 and 1-year-old. I can’t fathom 8-10 of them by myself. At Living Wisdom School my son’s class room is some where in the range of 3-4 toddlers per adult.

 

  •  They teach meditation: As a meditator myself, I know firsthand how effective it is for mental balance.   But even if you’re not a meditator you know how powerful it would be for your child to learn a mindfulness practice, where they can calm themselves and become focused on their own. Imagine a scene like we’ve experienced at home where he gets upset at something (as 4 year olds do) but quickly remembers to breath, release the tension in his mind/body and allow us to help resolve the problem calmly. LWS is helping him develop that calm center.

 

 

  • They have him doing yoga: Yeah…at 4…yoga. Yoga is just great overall. I know my little guy is going to have plenty of opportunities to play team sports, but an individual yoga practice is something that he will have for life. Yoga as an important part of preschool learning…yeah, I can get behind that. 

 

  • The faculty are awesome: They are a group of some of the warmest, most authentic people you will meet. They’re involved with Living Wisdom School because they care deeply about developing dynamic little people. I honestly don’t know how they remain so bubbly and patient day-in and day-out with toddlers. But, it extends to the whole school as well. The entire school is small, but every adult in that building is supportive of one another and of the overall goal of developing life-long learners and well-rounded, curious peaceful, people.

 

 

  • They’re teaching students to think and feel for themselves: Our children are going to be exposed to so much in their formative childhood! More than any of us ever were. Even if you restrict screen time like we do, even if you limit exposure to media like we do, they are still going to be influenced greatly by our culture. But at LWS, they are developing critical thinking, critical feeling and self-development that is going to help massively in the long-run. 

 

There are other reasons too, but these are the TOP 5. If you’re interested in learning more, email William Breckenridge – LWS Assistant Director – william@livingwisdomschoolwa.org – or email me personally and I can share more about our experience – seanmccormick23@gmail.com. 

Sean

 

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Chapter 2: Education Should Be Experiential

This is part two of a multi-part series summarizing “Education for Life”, the philosophy behind our curriculum. Reading these articles will familiarize you with the principles and ideas that make the Living Wisdom School a unique educational experience. Please check our site regularly as we post synopses of additional chapters from this original and pioneering text.

Education Should Be Experiential, Not Theoretical

Kriyananda questions the educational status quo in this chapter as he does consistently throughout his book. Simply stated, modern education in the West is primarily theoretical, and the trust that the theories are strong, is problematic. It is too easy to focus on the methods rather than actual tangible results.

Kriyananda takes a look at university professors who are so hung up on theory, and pedantic, elaborate theories of thought that are so stuck on themselves, that they fail to serve a realistic purpose. He mentions the prevalence in elite universities of the teachings of Sartre, a nihilist, whose writings (which are brilliantly developed) is intrinsically non-productive and impractical:

“Theories imposed on reality are allowed to pose as substitutes for reality itself.”

In short after years of education students are left with theories entirely divorced from actual life experience. This leaves the door open for alternative or holistic education to fill in the gaps. If a private education is to succeed, as we will see in later chapters, it has to be willing to be flexible in its approach.

He emphasizes an education that stresses direct experience and observation—not just for the sciences but arts and humanities too. Instead of a system that favors repetition, memorization, and the regurgitation of facts, he believes schooling should be practical giving students useful skills that will help them to understand the world and serve the world around them.

Junior high students serving at Ananda Farm on Camano Island.

 

“It’s no accident, surely, that many of the world’s greatest men and women – scientists, thinkers, teachers, molders of public opinion – either never finished their formal education or did poorly in school.”

He references Einstein, Edison and Goethe as figures that didn’t fit into the paradigm of formal schooling. More modern references are Buckminster Fuller, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Innovators, scientists, and writers like these individuals were inherently creative and did not simply wish to think about something. They had the passion and ability to make their thoughts a reality.

As we will continue to learn through Education for Life, the approach to learning is about critical thought, experience, feeling, and appropriate handling of the humanity of each student in the system.

Tying these thoughts to our Living Wisdom School, we see here the importance of personal experience and consciousness. As a mainstay of the Education for Life approach, meditation is taught as a practical tool for self-exploration and inner-peace. Living Wisdom school teaches the practice of meditation. If you think about the practicality of sitting quietly and calming the mind and one’s emotions as well as developing inner confidence and strength you can understand very quickly what sets apart Living Wisdom from traditional educational structures. More on this subject will be elaborated in future chapters and blog posts!

Living Wisdom School students practicing meditation.

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Chapter 1: Attaining True Success

This is part one of a multi-part series summarizing “Education for Life”, the philosophy behind our curriculum. Reading these articles will familiarize you with the principles and ideas that make the Living Wisdom School a unique educational experience. Please check our site regularly as we post synopses of additional chapters from this original and pioneering text.

Success is Achieving What One REALLY Wants

In chapter one of Education For Life by J. Donald Walters – better known as Swami Kriyananda, the author asks questions about conventional definitions of success. Walters challenges the promoted definition of success quantified by the accumulation of material items and proposes a re-calibration of conventional definitions of success. Walters offers up the idea that success is really about inner-happiness.

“…what people really want from life is not the mere symbols of happiness, but happiness itself.”

As the seminal text and foundation of Living Wisdom Schools approach to education and embedded curriculum, Education for Life challenges the status quo with elegance and grace.

But before we dig further into the first short chapter of Education for Life, or EFL, let’s learn a little more about Mr. Walters, or Swami Kriyananda.

Yogananda (left) and his disciple Swami Kriyananda (right)

 

Swami Kriyananda was a direct disciple of yogi Paramahansa Yogananda – a yogi, guru and largely accepted modern master who authored Autobiography of a Yogi. It was Yogananda whose teaching of meditation and Kriya Yoga illuminated (and continues to illuminate) many millions of Westerners in the deep practice of attaining direct personal experience with God. Yogananda’s teachings continue to inspire individuals and organizations across the globe with several key teachings:

• To disseminate among the nations knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God via the path of meditation.
• To teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness; and to this end to establish Self-Realization Fellowship temples for God-communion throughout the world, and to encourage the establishment of individual temples of God in the homes and in the hearts of men.
• To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna.
• To point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead: the highway of daily, scientific, devotional meditation on God.
• To liberate man from his threefold suffering: physical disease, mental inharmonies, and spiritual ignorance.
• To encourage “plain living and high thinking”; and to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples by teaching the eternal basis of their unity: kinship with God.
• To demonstrate the superiority of mind over body, of soul over mind.
• To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.
• To advocate cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the exchange of their finest distinctive features.
• To serve mankind as one’s larger Self.

-Excerpted from Wikipedia

Of course, this is just the beginning of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teaching, but we’ll reserve that for many more blog posts.

As a direct disciple of Yogananda and a prolific writer, teacher and philosopher Swami Kriyananda penned EFL as an elegant, logical and critical treatise on educating young people. Even in the first chapter of EFL Kriyananda makes the essential distinction between the educational status quo which favors the memorization and regurgitation of facts versus focusing on promoting critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

Like a breath of fresh air, Kriyananda points out the importance of instilling students – like the ones attending Living Wisdom School – with a thirst for wisdom.

“The tendency to confuse knowledge with wisdom becomes a habit for the rest of most people’s lives.”

We can all relate, especially if you were educated in a conventional Western system. The memorization of facts has always taken precedence over self-exploration. Many modern critics of western education point out that our current systems were created for an industrial era population where repetition, memorization, and homogenization were/are optimized for compliance.

EFL as the foundation for Living Wisdom school takes Kriyananda’s direction for building educational institutions that promote inner-exploration and the search for wisdom so that our children may achieve the success that they really want…for life.

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Yoga Day Camp! July 24 – August 4, Ages 5-11 More info here…..

Summer Fun Program! June  26 – August 11, Ages 3-6 More info here…..

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Seattle Living Wisdom School Newsletter | Winter 2017
LWS students get ready for their performance at East West Bookshop
Sharing the inspiring words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi
Inspiration from the Classrooms
In 2009, President Barack Obama encouraged citizens to give back to their communities as a day of service to honor Martin Luther King Day. LWS students in the 5th-8th grade did just that – participating in a program at East West Bookshop that honored both MLK and Mahatma Gandhi. The students recited powerful quotes and told the stories of these inspiring leaders who encouraged us to have a voice against racial, religious, and economic injustice. The message was clear: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”MLK
The joy of service in the Primary Class
Trip to the Fairy Forest on our new bus!
The Primary Class has been reflecting on the wisdom and inspiration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and brainstorming how to make a difference in the world. LWS had a day of service on Dr. King’s birthday and the students wanted to take some action! We made care packages for the homeless, and dog treats and cat toys for the animals at PAWS. They were also cleaning fairies, and secretly cleaned other classrooms while the students were away! The students’ great big hearts and generosity are inspiring!
Photo of Pre-K/Kindergarden at their New Year’s Celebration

The Pre-K/Kindergarten Classbegan the New Year with a celebration! We started with a story about queens, knights, kings and royal animals that were destined for new land. We traveled to the Quiet Kingdom, the Land of Light, and the Melodic Forest. Each child crafted their own mystical boat, which floated to one of the kingdoms where they were given a New Year affirmation to guide their journey through the year.
Celebrations such as this help inspire children with a sense of life’s wonder, sacredness and beauty.
Joy is part of the curriculum in Miss Jennifer’s preschool class!
Meet Jennifer Tal
Though preschool teacher Jennifer is new to us, she has years of experience helping preschoolers flourish and grow. Jennifer has already won the hearts of her students and the staff with her creativity, enthusiasm and skillful guidance!

Jennifer’s class has been busy making new friends and learning many new things. First they looked at the world around them and considered: How do we know it is Winter? Then they learned from Frog Toad how to be a good friend. This month they have been exploring the senses, starting with the eyes. One of their recent projects involved making their own kaleidoscope!

Kaleidoscope fun!

We are enrolling now. Call (425) 772-9862 for a tour!

Experiential Science with Buddy Wilson
Using the Light Spectroscope
Recently, in their weekly lab with Science Specialist Buddy Wilson, the Middle School class studied light spectrums using a Spectroscope. The students learned that we only see 1.5% of the electromagnetic spectrum and from this limited amount of information, we create our visual perception of the world.

At Math & Science Night each one spoke publicly about the results of their individual research projects: Reflecting and Refracting Light, G-Force, Spectrums, Stress and the Body, Ink, Hovercrafts and more. The projects were intriguing and their poise was impressive!

A Note from Susan
As I was thinking of what to write for this newsletter, I received a weekly inspirational email from Devi Novak, who with her husband Jyotish, are spiritual directors of Ananda Worldwide:

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the world-renowned Suzuki School of Music Education, was a humanitarian as well as a pioneer in musical training for children. In his book, Nurtured by Love, Dr. Suzuki shares a story that has relevance for us today.

He, his wife, and their two small children were living in Matsumoto, Japan in the painful, chaotic period following the end of World War II. Dr. Suzuki was a violinist and music teacher, and though Japan was in a state of economic and social upheaval, his family was able to maintain a simple, refined way of life.

Learning that one of his prewar students was now a homeless war orphan, Dr. Suzuki and his wife brought this young boy into their home. After some weeks of trying to work with him, Mrs. Suzuki felt that the situation was hopeless and said to her husband, I am sorry, but I cannot handle this boy he has no manners and no sense of obedience. He is disrupting the harmony of our home.

Dr. Suzuki replied, You are right. He has lost all discipline and refinement, so we must all be even more disciplined in our behavior. Eventually, surrounded by love and courtesy, the little orphan assimilated the vibrations of the Suzuki home and became an integral part of the family.

What can we learn from this story? We, too, are living in chaotic times, in which truth, compassion, and selflessness are being superseded by lies, callousness, self-interest, and greed. In order to counter those values we reject, we need to try even harder to express those that we cherish.

At Living Wisdom School, that is one of our goals to cultivate higher values and give our students the understanding and the experience that life is most happily lived when we include the happiness of others as part of our own, when we expand our awareness to include their realities, when we get in touch with our own calm, loving center and relate to others from that perspective.

Blessings,
Susan McGinnis

Co-Director of Living Wisdom School

Please forward to friends, grandparents, and anyone
you think may be interested in our school.
For additional information and inspiration:

LWS Seattle Facebook

Copyright © 2017 Living Wisdom School of Seattle, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are a parent of a child at LWS and have opted in by registering your child and/or you ​have been affiliated with the LWS school and community.

Our mailing address is:

Living Wisdom School of Seattle

6717 212th Street SW

Lynnwood, WA 98036

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Celebrating Cultural Diversity

In recent times, we have seen an increased number of hate crimes and bullying incidents by adults throughout the United States and Europe. This unfortunate behavior is trickling down to the children in our communities, causing some to shrink in fear and uncertainty, and emboldening others to bully and abuse their schoolmates.

At Living Wisdom School children are taught how-to-live skills. Along with reading, writing, arithmetic, science and art; children learn how to make friends, expand sympathies and cultivate courage. They learn how to work through disagreements in a way that leaves everyone feeling empowered.

Last week on the soccer field, one of our 1st grade boys received a blow to the face from a ball kicked by another boy. All play stopped as he tumbled to the ground. The children gathered around the boy to make sure he was OK. There were lots of hugs and pats on the back. The boy was alright, but a little indignant. “Why did you kick that ball into my face?” he asked. One of the girls put her arm around him and said, “He wouldn’t do that on purpose – he cares about you!” The hurt boy thought about it for a few seconds, smiled brightly, brushed himself off, and play resumed.

This is just a small example of how the how-to-live skills taught at Living Wisdom School help the children to work through social challenges to a positive outcome. You can learn more about how-to-live skills here.

Through story telling and role playing, the teachers at Living Wisdom School help the children to understand that although others may dress and speak differently than we do, we all have a much in common. Everyone wants to have friends and to be loved. Each of us has feelings, that can sometimes be hurt by mean words and misunderstandings. People everywhere want to have a comfortable home and nourishing food to eat. Everyone values a kind and loving family.

While its important to help our children discover and appreciate the common ground we have with other cultures, we must also teach them to value and respect cultural differences. What a boring world this would be if we were all the same!

Child meditation Inner life

There is an underlying oneness that permeates all life. Direct experience of that oneness naturally expands our sympathies to include all that is. Experience of this one reality helps us to work well with others, to experience peace in our lives, and to be even-minded and cheerful when  things don’t go our way.

At Living Wisdom School the children learn to experience this oneness through the practice of yoga and meditation, and by exploring the various faith traditions throughout the world. We sing spiritual chants and pray for expanded awareness and healing in our lives, and in the lives of others. This universal approach to spirituality provides an opening for a personal one-on-one relationship between the infinite presence and the individual child. This relationship gives the children a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.

Living Wisdom School offers a safe environment for children of diverse backgrounds to come together to develop academic skills, to explore science and the arts, and to develop a deeper understanding of their relationship with one another and with the world in which we all live.

Living Wisdom School children

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Seattle Living Wisdom School Newsletter     |     Winter 2017
LWS students get ready for their performance at East West Bookshop
Sharing the inspiring words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi 
Inspiration from the Classrooms
In 2009, President Barack Obama encouraged citizens to give back to their communities as a day of service to honor Martin Luther King Day.  LWS students in the 5th-8th grade did just that – participating in a program at East West Bookshop that honored both MLK and Mahatma Gandhi.  The students recited powerful quotes and told the stories of these inspiring leaders who encouraged us to have a voice against racial, religious, and economic injustice. The message was clear: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”—MLK
The joy of service in the Primary Class
Trip to the “Fairy Forest” on our new bus!
The Primary Class has been reflecting on the wisdom and inspiration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and brainstorming how to make a difference in the world. LWS had a day of service on Dr. King’s birthday and the students wanted to take some action! We made care packages for the homeless, and dog treats and cat toys for the animals at PAWS. They were also “cleaning fairies” and secretly cleaned other classrooms while the students were away! The students’ great big hearts and generosity are inspiring!
Photo of Pre-K/Kindergarden at their New Year’s Celebration
 
The Pre-K/Kindergarten Class began the New Year with a celebration!  We started with a story about queens, knights, kings and royal animals that were destined for new land. We traveled to the Quiet Kingdom, the Land of Light, and the Melodic Forest. Each child crafted their own mystical boat, which floated to one of the kingdoms – where they were given a New Year affirmation to guide their journey through the year.
Celebrations such as this help inspire children with a sense of life’s wonder, sacredness and beauty.
Joy is part of the curriculum in Miss Jennifer’s preschool class!
Meet Jennifer Tal
Though preschool teacher Jennifer is new to us, she has years of experience helping preschoolers flourish and grow. Jennifer has already won the hearts of her students – and the staff – with her creativity, enthusiasm and skillful guidance!

Jennifer’s class has been busy making new friends and learning many new things. First they looked at the world around them and considered: How do we know it is Winter? Then they learned from “Frog & Toad” how to be a good friend. This month they have been exploring the senses, starting with the eyes. One of their recent projects involved making their own kaleidoscope!

Kaleidoscope fun!

We are enrolling now. Call (425) 772-9862 for a tour!

Experiential Science with Buddy Wilson
Using the Light Spectroscope
Recently, in their weekly lab with Science Specialist Buddy Wilson, the Middle School class studied light spectrums using a Spectroscope. The students learned that we only see 1.5% of the electromagnetic spectrum – and from this limited amount of information, we create our visual perception of the world.

At Math & Science Night each one spoke publicly about the results of their individual research projects:  Reflecting and Refracting Light, G-Force, Spectrums, Stress and the Body, Ink, Hovercrafts and more. The projects were intriguing and their poise was impressive!

A Note from Susan
As I was thinking of what to write for this newsletter, I received a weekly inspirational email from Devi Novak, who with her husband Jyotish, are spiritual directors of Ananda Worldwide:

“Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the world-renowned Suzuki School of Music Education, was a humanitarian as well as a pioneer in musical training for children. In his book, Nurtured by Love, Dr. Suzuki shares a story that has relevance for us today.

He, his wife, and their two small children were living in Matsumoto, Japan in the painful, chaotic period following the end of World War II. Dr. Suzuki was a violinist and music teacher, and though Japan was in a state of economic and social upheaval, his family was able to maintain a simple, refined way of life.

Learning that one of his prewar students was now a homeless war orphan, Dr. Suzuki and his wife brought this young boy into their home. After some weeks of trying to work with him, Mrs. Suzuki felt that the situation was hopeless and said to her husband, ‘I am sorry, but I cannot handle this boy — he has no manners and no sense of obedience. He is disrupting the harmony of our home.’

Dr. Suzuki replied, ‘You are right. He has lost all discipline and refinement, so we must all be even more disciplined in our behavior.’ Eventually, surrounded by love and courtesy, the little orphan assimilated the vibrations of the Suzuki home and became an integral part of the family.

What can we learn from this story? We, too, are living in chaotic times, in which truth, compassion, and selflessness are being superseded by lies, callousness, self-interest, and greed…In order to counter those values we reject, we need to try even harder to express those that we cherish.”

At Living Wisdom School, that is one of our goals–to cultivate higher values and give our students the understanding – and the experience – that life is most happily lived when we include the happiness of others as part of our own, when we expand our awareness to include their realities, when we get in touch with our own calm, loving center and relate to others from that perspective.

Blessings,
Susan McGinnis
Co-Director of Living Wisdom School

Please forward to friends, grandparents, and anyone
you think may be interested in our school.
For additional information and inspiration:

LWS Seattle Facebook

Copyright © 2017 Living Wisdom School of Seattle, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are a parent of a child at LWS and have opted in by registering your child and/or you ​have been affiliated with the LWS school and community.

Our mailing address is:

Living Wisdom School of Seattle

6717 212th Street SW

Lynnwood, WA 98036

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp

 



Susan McGinnis

Co-Director
Living Wisdom School of Seattle
425-772-9862
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Join us for Yoga Camp this summer!

July 24 – August 4. Yoga, outdoor activities, crafts, swimming and more.

More info here…..

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