School for the First Grade Jellyfish began as usual this morning with stations of building blocks, coloring sets, puzzles, and games neatly contained on each of the four-person tables. Bowie and Judah were busy building extraordinary creatures that turned effortlessly into whirring machines, a forrest of trees, and then finally into the flying contraptions pictured below with their amazing ability to land upside down and hang from the “ceiling”. Next came a special centering. Every first grader grabbed their sturdy sketch book and a pencil on their way out the door, as they prepared to spend some quite moments centering with their tree. Children drew the images that came to them in the silence as well as creative representations of the trees they’ve been tracking throughout the changing seasons. As soon as she had sat down at the base of her tree, Jett sprung back up and ran to her teacher. “My tree is flowering, Ms.Itiyopiya! Look!” she said. After ten minutes of relaxed mindful presence with their trees, the First Grade Jellies gathered around the candle Ms.Itiyopiya had lit in honor of nature and waited ceremoniously for their teacher to blow out the candle, signaling the end of centering and the beginning of a bright new spring day.

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