distributing instruments at assembly

Morning Assembly

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The day at APV begins with a mindful assembly which serves as the philosophical and practical foundation for the entire school day. It sets the tone for all of the learning initiatives that the students will undergo throughout the day. Students are exposed to meditation, music, and drama in a community environment that promotes positive emotions.

Students are divided into 6 groups, one for each school day. Each group is responsible for unlocking the doors in the morning, cleaning the facilities with other staff members, and arranging the assembly room mats and instruments for assembly.

Outdoor, Environmental Mindfulness Exercises (10 minutes)
At the ring of the second bell, students assemble outside and are led through an observation-based mindfulness session of approximately 5-10 minutes. Students are asked to pay attention to the natural surroundings, to the sounds and smells as well as the sights, of the hillside. Students are asked to watch their breath and their bodies, to feel their bodies and be aware of as much as they can while still observing nature.

Sitting Mindfulness Exercises (10 minutes)
After outdoor mindfulness exercises, students are brought inside and seated, led through a sitting meditation. Teachers are seated and model appropriate meditation posture as well as behavior as students, particular the younger ones and those just beginning, will take time to understand the methods.

Music (20 minutes)
The day’s organizational group distributes instruments to the students. There are several kinds of instruments: tabla, dolak, dupli (tambourine), mangira (tiny cymbols) and triangle. Students sing 3 songs selected from the Prekash Path, APV’s book of songs that have been composed by the community. After those three songs, a fourth song is often selected for one student to perform a solo. A harmonium and a tabla lead the students to the correct beat. Often, children will lose the beat and other students are instructed to help them understand the beat and the music through modeling as well as through active help.

Mantra (5 minutes)
Two mantras are selected to chant at the end of the music. Students are regrouped into their original meditation posture and have their eyes closed as they recite the mantras. Percussion can accompany the mantras at times.

Announcements
After the mantras are completed, any announcements are made. This is when school news is announced, when community decisions are made, when birthdays and celebrations are announced, and when the call for dramas are put in by the students.

Performance Time
Students often prepare dramas, songs, or written pieces for assembly. This is a good time to take what is inside the classrooms and present it to everyone in the school for the entire community to learn. Interactive learning exercises like English language and math lessons, are excellent for this time, though teachers should continue to model proper attention. These exercises are important for the children to grow their executive function abilities.

Dismissal
Students are dismissed and sent to their classes.