As the end of the school year approaches, Rainbow teachers and staff are taking every opportunity to give our students memories to last a lifetime. Afterschool’s very own Slime Club spent their last session making a huge vat of Oobleck! Queen D, our fearless Afterschool director, reported, “We danced, ran, did cartwheels, walked slow and fast, punched, slapped, pushed, pulled, stood still and sunk, made balls and more on the Oobleck pool!”
Join us on Wednesday, May 31st at 6:30pm as we celebrate the transformation and growth of each of our students as they complete another milestone on their journey through childhood and into adulthood.
We are especially excited to honor the 22 eighth graders making the transition to High School this year. Before receiving their diploma, each graduating eighth grader will address their whole community with a self-reflective speech. Every year our graduates stun us with their insight, inspiring us into our own reflections on community, transition, and transformation.
Graduation will take place on the lawn of the Orr Mansion at Rainbow Community School on 574 Haywood Road, Asheville. Parking is available at 60 State Street on our lower Omega Middle School campus. Once the parking lot is full please be mindful of where you park in the neighborhood. Looking forward to seeing you at our beuatiful outdoor graduation celebration!
The goals of meditation can vary from practitioner to practitioner. A practitioner may meditate to calm themselves, regulate emotions or reduce stress. They may also engage in meditation as a strategy for deep reflection, connection or intuiting. In its traditional form, it is practiced by sitting still and focusing on the breath or bodily sensations. This traditional practice shows up in Rainbow classrooms and centering practices but just as the goals of meditation vary, so can the form it takes.
At RCS, meditation takes on many shapes and often engages various learning domains. Creative meditation, for example, is explored through expressive ways such as mindful drawing or writing. Students may also embody a kinesthetic meditation by mindful walking, yoga or interpretive dance. Additionally, solo time communing with or observing nature attends to the natural domain.
Meditation at Rainbow, regardless of form begins by slowing things down, bringing awareness to the body and aligning each activity with the breath. The rituals of a 2nd grade centering often begin with a gentle reminder from their teacher, Eddy, to still their bodies, hold a silence for the candle lighting and three deep communal breaths. Eddy also recognizes the boundless physical, mental and emotional benefits of collective singing and to that end, it too has become part of these cultural rituals. Ultimately, communal singing in this reverent and celebratory way has become a meditation for these students. Simple melodies paired with profound lyrics aim to deepen the already sacred tone, nurture a transcendent experience, strengthen their bond and invite a bit of whimsy.
On this day, once the centering rituals are complete, Eddy begins describing the meditative drawing activity the students will be participating in. He explains that they will be using shapes and forms to create a collaborative sculpture, meditate on it and then draw what they see. He explains that the goal is to bring mindfulness to their observation and their drawing skills.
He invites the students to choose a three-dimensional shape from the tray and then asks them to place their shape on the silk that covers the center of the rug. This communal creation resembles a city of sorts. He prompts the kids by saying “imagine walking through this world. Let your imagination allow it to come alive, look at it from all angles, what do you see, what is around you…meditate on it.” He then rings the singing bell and tells them that when they can no longer hear the song of the bowl that will serve as their signal to begin drawing.
Eddy emphasized to the kids to just… draw what they saw. Those simple words became so freeing for the kids. Those words evoked a sense of autonomy that set the stage for a pure meditation. They were able to fully embrace the practice- free from perfectionism, free from concern for mistake making or being right over wrong. The tone of the classroom settled into a calm inquiry, a collective focus, and a creative meditation.
How can your traditional meditation practice take on a new form? Try something different today? Mindful eating, tea meditation, deep listening, walking meditation…
Make a list of 5 daily activities that you can bring some mindful presence to and take a pause for those each day. Try it for a week. What do you uncover or discover? REFLECT.
|Rainbow’s Omega Middle School sixth grade class studies Social Entrepreneurship every year. In the spring the students come up with business ideas that reflect their passions, skills and support making the world a better place, whether at home or on the other side of the globe. By May they have a prototype ready to sell to family and friends on campus and based on feedback, will refine it and present at the West Asheville Farmer’s Market on May 30th.
Every Friday our Fundraising Manager and Nonprofit Development Consultant, Sara Stender, works with the sixth graders. She shares about the past week:
It has been so rewarding working with the 6th grade social entrepreneurship class this spring. This week we learned more about consciousness in business. We reflected on values – how to build businesses that represent what we believe in – and how to communicate them to our customers. Many of you saw how this is reflected in the student’s businesses that were set up on the deck last Friday. Thank you for supporting their work and for offering feedback during the final stages of research and development. The class will be selling at the West Asheville Tailgate Market on Tuesday, May 30th, from 3pm-5pm so please stop by and say hi! Some characteristics of a conscious company as defined by our sixth graders this week include:
We had a compelling conversation with Chipper Bro, who has been with Patagonia since they started in 1973! He explained the importance of transparent business practices and encouraged us to get involved with the company’s Traceable Down project. Chipper also helped us to remember that even big companies like Patagonia often start with one person and their passion. 43 years later the company is influencing other large global corporations to implement environmental and social practices that help shape a brighter future for all of us.
On Tuesday we took a field trip to The Hop ice cream factory where owner Greg and manager Gretchen really honed in on what it means to be community-driven, and how to know if a company is walking the talk. Greg shared that building relationships with their suppliers and customers is the most important thing – more than just a sale – and sourcing clean and local ingredients (even the unicorn poop!) to support the environment and the local economy. Thank you social entrepreneurs of all ages for being a beacon of hope!
A special thanks to Asheville Tourists owners and Rainbow parents, Brian and & Kali DeWine. Their gift of game tickets helped raise funds for the 6th graders to start building a Conscious Commerce Cart that will showcase social entrepreneurship for years to come!
Come celebrate the return of the faeries with us this May Day from 10:30am to 12:00pm in the Outdoor Classroom on Haywood Road!
We will celebrate the magic of spring by dancing together, wrapping the May Pole, eating berries-n-cream, blowing bubblles, bursting with song, and reveling in our bright costumes. We invite you to come dressed up in fairy, magical, and animal inspired outfits. We can’t wait to see you sparkle! If you feel inspired to, we also welcome you to bring small gifts to place in the nooks of nature for the faeries and their houses.
Beltane, or May Day, lies directly opposite Halloween in the solar calendar. Both mark the point between the preceeding equinox and the following solstice. The holidays mirror each other as opportunities both to interact with magic beings, wether ghostly ancestors or trickster faeries, as well as to mark a major shift in our relationshiop to the sun, wether we’re moving towards the shadows or turning towards the warmth of light.
Thank you for coming to celebrate this bright, flowering, new beginning of springtime with us! This is one of our favorite holidays we celebrate and we cant wait to share it with you. Check out our pictures from years previous to get a sense of the festive magic involved ♥.
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.