The Bliss of Solitude

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz #178 – 24th March 2020

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I know I said I was retiring but I will keep going, slowly, until the end of the calendar year.

The Bliss of Solitude

I have recently returned from a week’s hike in Tasmania – the Cradle Mountain Overland Track – and it was extraordinary, for many reasons. (Lucky I went when I did as now the borders are closed.) What struck me most was how quiet it was, apart from the occasional other hiker on the track. Wallabies, wombats, skinks and other small animals actually don’t make a lot of noise – none, in fact. Occasionally there would be a bird or a small insect or else water trickling over some rocks nearby, but otherwise all was eerily still and quiet. Blissful and beautiful.

At the end of the week we were back in ‘civilization’ which meant we could get news of the outside world, which meantime had gone to hell in a handbasket! I was frequently heard on the track saying, ‘Beam me up Scotty’ (if you are old enough to remember Star Trek you will know what I’m referring to) as some of the track was gruelling to say the least, but now I wanted out of the situation for different reasons. It was all just too crazy, especially coming on top of the bliss of silence and of solitude. The contrast was jarring.

When we have the benefit of escaping our lives, even briefly, to switch off from electronic gadgetry and tune in to nature, we actually hear, smell and see what is around us, and occasionally taste and touch too. It got me thinking about children who are super-sensitive to sensory stimulation. They could do with a lot of bush walking! These are the children whose eyes water when the sun is too bright for them or the lights are too bright. These are the children who startle excessively at loud noises or who cannot bear to have the tags on the inside of their shirts rubbing against their skin – the tags have to be removed. These are the children whose diet is very restricted as a lot of food is unpleasant for them. Children with sensory processing disorder just need to be managed slightly differently. (Beware in the music room! If it’s going to be loud, provide headphones.) I recommend walking in nature and even gardening – provided the plants are not too prickly – and bear in mind some children will have difficulty with dirt and mud – provide gloves. Parents, naturally, have to take a primary role here but there are plenty of nature playgrounds that schoolchildren can go to for lessons outside class.

What we can learn from these children is that we can all do with turning our lives down a notch or two. Given the current crisis, it is an opportunity to slow down and breathe. What else can we do instead of living such frenetic lives? Children pick up on the stress around them and they need the bliss of solitude even more than adults do. They are not mini-adults but little people trying to navigate the world around them. Some do so more successfully than others. If your school is in lockdown, be grateful. Breathe. Think about how different next term will be in terms of peace and quiet. We all need it from time to time. Program it in – meditation, relaxation, yoga – after lunch is a good time. Calm children learn better.

I wish you all the best of luck in the coming days and weeks. Breathe.

ECE State Conference in Perth 19 & 20 June 2020

Quotes of the Week

No person has ever gone blind from looking at the bright side of life. (unknown)

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.
Vernon Sanders Law 

Do not follow where the path may lead – go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. (source unknown)

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
From “The Gift of Zen 2008 Calendar”

You can always tell an old soul by how friendly they are to trees. (source unknown)

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.  (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – The Little Prince.)

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Entertainment

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In case you have children who forget to wash their hands, teach them this and play it to them before morning tea and lunch every day –
@lady_flufferton (FB – Lisbeth Kristina Pihlgren Loof 16 March – Lots of Soap)

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at conferences. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

Kidz-Fiz-Biz
PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892 Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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