Monks and nuns from the Thich Nhat Hanh collective, in Plum Village, France, pay our school a special visit

/ October 22, 2012

Today we welcomed a group of five monks and three nuns from Plum Village. They spent two hours with our pupils this afternoon singing songs, sharing stories and teaching us some simple but powerful mindfulness exercises.

Sister Peace reminded us how effective the ‘inviting’ of a bell can be in bringing us back to focused awareness and the children discussed the various ways we use a ‘mindfulness’ bell at the school, as well as suggesting other occasions when it might be useful – “to help with concentration before doing homework”, “to help calm down an argument” and “to help us connect with how we really feel.” Sister then asked pupils to take it in turns ‘inviting’ the bell, which proved very popular!

Brother Stream handed out clementines and we all learnt how to peel and eat the fruit slowly and mindfully, enjoying the bright orange colour, the citrus fragrance and the crisp sound as we each held a Clementine up to our ear and gently removed the peel in one long piece, before holding a segment in our mouths and enjoying the taste.

We also learnt how to give ‘silent applause’ and how to centre ourselves using our breath and we sang some uplifting songs – “Breathing in, Breathing Out” and “I Love Nature”:

“I love nature, nature is cool

The forest is my classroom, the Earth is my school

Trees are my teachers, animals are my friends

And on this school all life depends”

The group’s energy, warmth and humour was infectious and we all thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. We are really grateful to the Sisters and Brothers for taking time out of their busy touring schedule to visit the school and hope they will return to see us again.

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