The minute we arrived in Den Bosch (the home of artist Jheronimus Bosch), we dove right into work with the teachers and students of the Zonnelicht School. This Neo-Humanist based institute provides exceptional early education and after school programs for 400 students from infancy through 12 years of age.
Zonnelicht's students are nurtured by highly trained and deeply caring teachers. Inside the building were warm, sunlit, plant-filled spaces containing thoughtful hand-crafted wood toys and natural fibre napping nests, without a lick of petroleum-based mass-produced plastics. Mother Nature enveloped everyone inside and out. Many parents brought their precious bundles to school by bike, even in the light rain.
We played the Peace Games with the teachers first. They were a hoot - open-hearted, spontaneous and clearly having as much fun with each other as the kids do everyday on the playground.
Playing the Peace Games with the kids was endearing and delightful. They were very curious as to what these new games were about. Kids of differing ages and personalities engaged with each other. Even the youngest of players felt empowered through stretching and filling the space with their arms and legs.
The two to three year olds needed an adapted program. They copied simplified kung fu and yogic exercises on their own mats. They were still at the stage of learning just how to copy and follow directions.
The 4-8 year olds were able to flow from guided meditation to exuberant, yet mindful group games, displaying creative moves that surprised and delighted us.
Their big smiles and bright eyes proved that while having lots of fun, the Peace Games taught them patience, awareness, sensitivity, focus, and cooperation, even though most of these kids spoke only Dutch. These somatic lessons transcend age, gender, language, and culture, and speak to our common humanity.
Bonus: Watch GM Marilyn share profound wisdom with teachers!