Building a better future by bringing indigenous teachings to schools
"The most incredible sign of our times is that all of the humanity is singing the same song in many different languages and traditions. The song is a hymn of hope for the unity of purpose as peoples of the world learn to respect and love one another, and to cherish and protect the natural resources that sustain our lives."
Bernardo Peixoto, Ph.D., anthropologist, consultant to the Smithsonian Institute
“Teach your children to dream a different dream."
Our country is made up of immigrants that settled here from all corners of the earth. They represent over 180 different languages, traditions, cultures and religions. Some of them suffer anxiety, depression, divorce, drug abuse, violence, racism, poverty and pollution at alarming rates as they try to acclimate themselves into the American melting pot. Considering the extent of the problems young people face today, a forum to teach them cultural tolerance, to build self-esteem, and to explore and clarify their identity and dreams for the future, is more important now than at any time in history.
Encouraging students’ creative and cooperative thinking, communication and problem solving skills, and developing respectful relationships with the whole of nature (people, animals, plants, and the environment) will prepare them to live a better life. The students will experience, through movement and visualization techniques, concepts that previously might have seemed remote and academic.
The principle idea of the program is to bring the teaching and wisdom of indigenous peoples from around the world—teachings of unity, love and respect for one another and the environment, of building bridges between all cultures, of supporting communities and of healing—to New York’s public school students.
The program is designed to stimulate young people to think, question, and re-examine the way they relate to themselves, to others and to the earth, to inspire and empower them to explore their cultural heritage.
The staff guides participants through a series of processes and introduces them to tools they can take back to their life drawing on a variety of disciplines in the arts. The sessions are a time of bonding, sharing, and enjoyment—an affirmation that learning can be fun and enlightening.
We do not promote any specific religion or world-view, but rather aim to stimulate students to think, question, and explore alternative possibilities, and to cultivate a greater capacity for wisdom in solving problems.
The program is multi-sensory and includes movement, music, rhythm, storytelling, guided imagery, imagination games and drawing. The students come together to sit in a circle on the floor in order to create an alternative environment and spark their creativity.
The Bridge Program will provide three 3-hour sessions for the students involved in the Freeport High School STARS program. Currently, there are approximately 70 STARS students identified in this program, who meet weekly from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM. There will be two primary facilitators and one or two assistant facilitators, providing a ratio of approximately one facilitator to between 15 and 25 students.
The program will begin with a video presentation, The Eagle, and the Condor. The video will lead into a series of experiential exercises that introduce the students to indigenous practices and which are repeated in varying forms during each of the three sessions. The facilitators teach step-by-step techniques designed to:
* Develop self-esteem, creative and cooperative thinking, team building, communication and problem-solving skills.
* Teach students techniques to ground and center themselves physically and emotionally, and to deepen and strengthen concentration and focus skills.
* Provide a safe place for students to talk about their feelings and concerns.
Beats In Our Body - Tel Aviv Israeli nursery
Daily Reflection 13/11/17 (From the JECC School)
Yesterday Group 4 had a visit from one of the children’s grandfathers, Itzhak, who is a Shaman. Lonnie overheard him drumming in their classroom and thought that we would love to have him come drum for us as well - so today, we had a visitor!
We sat down in a circle this morning with Itzhak as he showed us the special drum that he brought.
"What is painted on the drum ?" Itzhak asked.
Lily: A bird, A moon and a star.“
Itzhak started to rub his hand on the drum and listen to the wind-like sound it made. Then he had a question for us…
Put one hand on your chest. What is it that is drumming inside? Boom, Boom Boom, Do you feel it?" He asked.
"Yes, your heart is beating like my drum. Now I will drum in the same rhythm".
We listened to the steady sound he tapped out on his drum. Then Itzhak asked us what happens to our hearts when we run? He started to drum a little louder and a little faster and invited the children to stand up and dance with the beat. There was lots of giggling!
No, Stop. Put your hand on your hearts.
Leah: "Boom Boom Boom..."
"That's right your heart goes faster, right?"
Next, Yitzchak went around asking the children what their favorite animals were so that we could dance like different animals! We danced like kangaroos to short beats galloped like white horses too fast and steady beats and meowed like cats to slow beats. We even danced like Batman!
As we finished up and thanked Itzhak for his visit, he asked the children which dance was their favorite. Each of them said that their favorite was the animal they had chosen. Itzhak explained that the animals they choose to imitate express their character. We loved having such a new and interesting person visit our class this morning! We learned that we can connect the inside of our bodies to the music, and that we don’t even need to have a Shaman to do so - we can use the drums we have in our music room!
We look forward to discovering more ways We look forward to discovering more ways to connect between our bodies and music!