In my early creative play and in my artwork, I could see at that young age what my later life would be like. In kindergarten I drew and painted pictures of my home. There were gardens all around and lots of children inside. Over time these early visions have manifested into my current reality. Now at age fifty-three, I am the director and owner of Khalsa Childcare in Leverett, Massachusetts which provides day care for children ages two to five. “Khalsa” means “pure one.”
Khalsa Childcare has a spiritual foundation. Like the nature of life and the children that we serve, our children’s center is always evolving and growing. We are a blending of the experiences, influences and inspirations that I have been blessed to receive throughout my life. From the spiritual path we learn to maintain a healthy and clean body, mind and soul by taking care of ourselves through yoga, meditation, proper eating and positive thinking. From the Waldorf system of education, based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, we learn to flow with the breath of life, inhaling and exhaling with the coming and going of its many tides. From Hippocrates Health Institute, we learn that living foods promote optimum health and inspire us to nurture our planet.
I first met Drs. Brian Clement and Ann Wigmore in the 1970s at Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston, I was so deeply inspired by their teachings that I adopted the living foods lifestyle and brought it home to my family. Each day at Khalsa Childcare we produce a vast array of sprouts, fresh green drinks, sauerkraut and dehydrated foods. It takes organization and cooperation, and each person plays a role. My husband is the main grocery buyer. To supplement the produce from our own organic garden, we buy cases of organic produce from local organic farms and orchards.
My two assistants make wheatgrass juice, green drinks and a giant salad, and I make the dressings, snacks and lunches. The children love to help. They soak and sprout the seeds, and then plant them in the soil on sprouting trays. They pound the cabbage in the bucket for sauerkraut and even hull the buckwheat and sunflower greens for our salads. It’s fun to work to lively, rhythmic music! One of the most precious moments of our day is when the children gather around the table, mouths wide open and heads lifted high to receive their gentle eyedropper squirt of wheatgrass juice.
Parents often ask for recipes for dishes we prepare. We are finishing two projects which celebrate our dining rituals-a CD compilation of our favorite songs and blessings, and a recipe book-Amar’s Live Food Recipes-featuring illustrations by the children and our “Very Berry Birthday Layer Cake.” So yummy! At Khalsa’s parent conferences we address the child’s personal and social development and discuss diet in relation to behavior and health. We have a lending library of books, audiocassette tapes and DVD’s and we provide group and one-to-one food preparation instruction. Our newsletter features a regular recipe corner and health tips geared toward the living foods lifestyle.
In addition to responsible self-care, we also promote responsibility in caring for our group and our planet. Each day when a child comes through our door he or she becomes part of a larger family. Throughout the day we encourage an awareness of this family and an excellence in our interactions within it, from our speaking and eating, to our recreation. We strive to empower the children to take responsibility within the group in a graceful and confident way. They learn to speak, to listen and to work together. In all of our activities we talk about carefulness and appreciation for our earth through the materials we use and the ways in which we use them. As recycling keeps our rivers and streams unpolluted and the animal and plant life alive, eating living foods keeps out blood streams clean and continually oxygenated, helping us to feel and look our best.
At Khalsa Childcare, we are always open to insights, support and information to further our mission. The definition of success as Ralph Waldo Emerson expresses it rings true in our hearts: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” At Khalsa Childcare it is indeed our very joyous mission to succeed …one healthy child at a time.
Arnar Kaur Fuller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Vol 25 Issue 2 Page 28