This past week I gave one of my favorite group lessons. It was heartening to hear the excited gasps and exclamations from my second year students when they realized what the lesson was. One little girl sitting near me said, "I LOVE this lesson." The concept of "love lights" was introduced to me through the book Honoring the Light of the Child by Sonnie McFarland. The concept is simple: that we all possess a center of goodness and light (I am fortunate in my faith-based setting to be able to call this "God") which allows us to share goodness, light and love with those around us. This concept is illustrated very visually through the lesson I presented using the manipulatives described in Sonnie's book.
During my group lesson I took the tray shown below from the shelf (it was out in the classroom for the first time that day) and brought it to the line. I held up the blue "person" outline and told the children that this person represents every person living on Earth. We talked about how God made us and also every human being as well as the Earth and every living thing on it. I explained that God actually lives within our hearts and fills our heart with love. This love is called our "love light". When we are especially excited or happy or proud, our love lights shine brightly. I illustrated this by shining a lit flashlight behind the person as shown in the second photo. I told the children that sometimes we can see their love light shining out from their eyes when they feel happy. Then I used another "shield" (basically a laminated frame with black tissue paper) and slid it behind the person. I told them that when we feel sad or hurt our love light grows dim. This can happen when people say unkind things to one another. The good news is that God is still in our hearts and we can see our love lights still shining, just not as brightly. When this happens we need to find a friend or a caring grown-up to help us feel better so our love lights can shine brightly again. At this point I pulled out the "dark" shield so the light shone brightly again. This lesson gives me a perfect opportunity to illustrate how important it is to treat one another with kindness so we don't make someone's love light get dark.
This is probably one of the most powerful group lessons I teach each year. It is also the lesson that parents tell me really resonates with their children. I've already gotten several comments or emails from parents since my lesson last week telling me that their children came home talking about this lesson. And really, isn't it an important lesson for all of us? That we try to live each day in ways that brighten the lights of those around us.
As an exciting sidebar, I am super-excited that I will be presenting a workshop in February at a Montessori conference where Sonnie McFarland is the keynote speaker. That should be so inspiring. I can't wait. CLICK HERE to find out more about this conference. Maybe I'll see some of you there? Hope so!