Quan Yin is a Buddhist deity of compassion. Her spiritual archetype, however, exists across many different religions and cultures. Mother Mary within Christianity and Sophia within Gnosticism, for example, represent similiar all-loving and all-merficul qualities. Many beautiful art pieces, theater skits, short stories and community projects were born out of Domain Day. This one, however, stands out as a unique integration of the creative and spiritual domains beautifying and uplifting our campus.
The Spiritual Domain Group designed and built this shrine with Quan Yin as its center piece. She had long stood by the water-feature in the outdoor classroom, before Rainbow teachers and Spiritual Domain Group leaders, Mark Hanf and Justin Pilla, spotted her and felt her to be the perfect point of inspiration from which to build a shrine. After having smudged the area with sage, the dozen students began by placing their own personal artifacts within the center of an imaginary circle. Students then took turns placing the large rocks in a measured and intentional formation to mark the boundary of the shrine. Max had been gathering these large obelisk- and sphere-shaped stones over the course of several visits to the same enchanted forrest creek. The mindfulness with which every piece of this altar was put together cast a spell of wonder over the young spiritualists. In between building the shrine, they picked up instruments from a blanket lined with shakers and hand drums to accompany the ceremony with music.
In its second year as an ‘annual Rainbow celebration’ Domain Day has received extremely positive feedback from students and teachers alike. Within a small multi-age group, students get to spend a whole day focusing on a domain they feel passionate about. They can choose between the physical, natural, social, emotional, creative, mental, and spiritual domains. This intentional time spent with teachers who have also been called to that particular domain gives students the opportunity to embody that domain more fully. And because each domain is connected, and linked to the greater whole, a student’s comfort in one domain inherently empowers their understanding of the others. In this domain group’s case, each student was able to embody the spiritual domain’s cornerstones of ritual, world religions, contemplation, and communion with the natural world, while simultaneously working through the challenges and gifts of the creative, social, and natural domains.
Thank you, Spiritual Domain Group, for leaving behind this radiant evidence of your connection to spirit. You have altered our space and given us a sanctuary at which to breath and center. We invite all who stop by our campus to visit Quan Yin, and if inspired, to leave her a token of gratitude.
On April 22, 2017 billions of people worldwide will commune with the Earth through a variety of celebratory activities honoring Earth Day! Earth Day, started in 1970 is the largest secular holiday- celebrated by more 193 countries. Although observed to provoke environmental awareness, action and policy changes, RCS sees Earth Day as an opportunity to pay respect to the sacred bond between nature and humanity.
Earth Day is everyday at RCS! The natural world serves as an important teacher in the lives of all our students. This connection is emphasized in our mission to “develop accomplished, confident, and creative learners who are prepared to be compassionate leaders in building a socially just, spiritually connected, and environmentally sustainable world” and serves as one of our 12 guiding principles “through understanding nature we understand ourselves therefore the learning environment extends into the natural world, the greater community. A relationship with Nature yields stewardship.”
The natural domain is also one of the Seven RCS Learning Domains that shapes our holistic model. Growth and development in the natural domain is nurtured through various learning experiences that become part of daily routines and rituals. Please see the table below for the learning goals and descriptors.
We also strive to nurture deep nature-student relationships through various nature based centering practices that emphasize this spiritual learning goal:
Communion with the natural world: Understanding our interconnection with the natural world. Cultivating a reverence for Life. The Natural World serves as our teacher and guide as we explore our inner selves.
Additionally, RCS’s mascot happens to be The Rainbow Warrior. The legend of the Rainbow Warrior names the warrior as a protector of Mother Earth. In this legend, there will come a day when people of all races, colors, and creeds will put aside their differences and will band together- unified. Like the colors of the rainbow, they will move over the Earth like a great Whirling Rainbow, bringing peace, understanding and healing everywhere they go. Creatures thought to be extinct or mythical will resurface at this time. Great trees that perished will return almost overnight. All living things will flourish. If you wish to read more about why we chose the Rainbow Warrior as our mascot and the legend in full please click here.
Everyday at RCS is Earth day. This incredible reverence and respect for the natural world permeates our curriculum and our culture. We all have a stake in caring for this Earth – is some cases it is a religious value, in others a moral responsibility or a matter of equity. The RCS holistic model specifically emphasizes nurturing environmental stewards that have a intimate, empathic and sacred connection with the Earth. It is through this empathy and connection from which they solve environmental problems. Additionally, by cultivating a sense of the divine or sacred in nature than it has the power to become a life-long spiritual teacher.
We invite all of our Rainbow grandparents and special elders to a welcoming celebration and performance in the auditorium at 10:30am on Monday, April 24th.
We are so excited to welcome our grandparents and elders onto campus for this special day. During the school year we foster multi-age connections through all-school ceremonies and classroom-partnership projects. It is a special honor, however, to welcome into our world of children the elders who helped create them. RSVP by emailing Kate, our Office Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance for your time, visit, and generous presence. Your grandchildren have been preparing for your arrival all week and can’t wait to share the wonder of their learning with you.