by Krysten Fort-Catanese

NPR recently did a project called “Processing Social Distancing with Haiku.” They asked people to capture their experiences and feelings in the Japanese poetry form of Haiku: three lines of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Since April is National Poetry Month, I incorporated this into our remote learning experiences in G3. G3 students came up with wonderful haikus – here are a few examples:

Everything is Closed
Schools, Libraries, Restaurants
When will this be done?!?

Playing In My Room
Origami is So Fun
But I Miss My Friends

Sleep, then sleep some more
Get up for Morning Meeting
Can’t wait to Go-Kart

Toilets will not flush
Plumber, he is back again
Hoping this time works!

I’m missing school friends
I’m sad that I can’t see them
But I have Zoom soon!

The dogs walk outside
The flowers are blooming now
It is beautiful

There are so many ways to help ourselves and our children to process our emotions at this time – and poetry is a powerful way to access our emotional life.  

SEL has always been foundational at Friends School, we keep emotional intelligence and relationships front and center in all that we do. Despite the physical distance, all teachers have been finding meaningful and creative ways to keep students engaged, motivated, and feeling safe in body, mind, and heart. In G3, we have stayed connected in multiple ways, including with our practice of “Time-In.” This is when we practice some movement first, followed by stillness, and then end with some reflection. So much of Time-In is about self-care. One stillness practice that we return to often is “Petal Practice.” We first bring a flower to mind – any flower that we find beautiful or that we particularly like. Then, we bring the tips of our fingers together on one of our hands. On the next outbreath, we open our hand like a flower blooming and then on the inbreath, we close our hand, finger-tips touching again. We follow this rhythm back and forth, back and forth. With flowers blooming all around us now, we can be reminded of Petal Practice and to come back to this moment, this breath, and savor some gratitude for …. Poetry …. Community …. Mindful Awareness … What are you grateful for?

In the spirit of poetry and springtime, I hope you will give these two mindful practices a try: writing your own haiku and taking time for some Petal Practice.

Physical Distance
Still, Emotionally Close
Our hearts connected 

Stop —> Breathe —> Be

Third graders engaged in Petal Practice

Challenging minds. Nurturing spirits. Honoring individuality.