Ever since we moved to the Tumalo campus I have started the year by having the kids make nature mandalas. And even though the assignment remains the same, I am continually amazed how each year the children create something totally different from one another. Likewise, given the same materials to work with it is impressive to see how each group approaches the task differently. Most of all, as a teacher, I love all the learning that this one task encompasses as math and art converge: radial symmetry, geometry, patterns, color, and texture. The organic orchestration of how harmonious the kids worked together on this project was beautiful to witness; their engagement in the process was certainly palpable. Nature mandalas only last for so long; they are not permanent since mother nature, animals or humans can change their shape and appearance at any given moment. However, their beauty will reside in the builder and those who happenchance upon them.
I walk by the mandalas each day on my way into work. I can see the scattered remains of what was once a circle or a pattern, and I am pleasantly reminded of the memory of what was once there and the kids who made them.