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Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children [Paperback]

Thich Nhat Hanh , Wietske Vriezen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 1 2011
Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children is the fruit of decades of development and innovation in the Plum Village community's collective practice with children. Based on Thich Nhat Hanh's thirty years of teaching mindfulness and compassion to parents, teachers, and children, the book and enclosed CD covers a wide range of contemplative and fun activities parents and educators can do with their children or students. They are designed to help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude and confidence, deal with difficult emotions, touch our interconnection with nature, and improve communication.

Planting Seeds offers insight, concrete activities, and curricula that parents and educators can apply in school settings, in their local communities or at home, in a way that is meaningful and inviting to children. The key practices presented include mindful breathing and walking, inviting the bell, pebble meditation, the Two Promises or ethical guidelines for children, children's versions of Touching the Earth and Deep Relaxation, eating meditation and dealing with conflict and strong emotions. Also included are the lyrics to the songs on the enclosed CD that summarize and reinforce the key teachings, as well as a chapter on dealing effectively with conflict in the classroom or difficult group.

Frequently Bought Together

Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children + Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) + A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles
Price For All Three: CDN$ 50.29


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About the Author

Born in Hue, Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, poet, scholar, and human rights activist. In 1967, he was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is author of more than one hundred books, sixty in English. His previous books for children include, A Pebble for Your Pocket, The Coconut Monk and The Hermit and the Well. He lives at Plum Village, his meditation center in France, and travels worldwide, leading retreats on "the art of mindful living."
Wietske Vriezen was born in Wassenaar, The Netherlands. She met Thich Nhat Hanh during a retreat in Holland in 2000 and was touched deeply by the practice. Since then, she has illustrated a number of books based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh most recently Mindful Movements and A Basket of Plums. She lives in Rotterdam, The Netherlands where she works as a psychologist with gifted children.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Planting Seeds of Mindfulness Jan. 16 2012
Format:Paperback
As the pace of life seems to increase to a dizzying speed, it is wonderful to find a book which introduces both parents and children to the concept of mindfulness. Guidance in slowing down, appreciating nature, showing compassion for others - and even breathing - will always be helpful, and this book guides us gently. Our children deserve the opportunity to slow down. If we truly want to create a more peaceful world, there is no better place to start.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmatched Resource for Both Parents and Educators Aug. 2 2011
By L. Erickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a beautiful, practical, and extremely helpful book that anyone interested in introducing children to mindfulness and related practices will greatly appreciate. It was written by the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen monk and teacher, and author of many well-known books, including Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. The book evolved out of his work with children at Plum Village Community, a Buddhist center in Southern France that he co-founded. The book encompasses the work of himself and many of his colleagues at Plum Village, including nuns and monks in-residence, as well as educators and parents that have attended retreats at the center focused on children.

Written for both parents and educators, each chapter of Planting Seeds begins with an overview of a topic, including mindful breathing, meditation, compassion, nature, suffering, healing, age, and death. After the overview, each chapter includes stories, sample activities, and guided meditations that adults can use to explore these themes with children. Many chapters include personal stories from educators and parents that work at Plum Village, or that attended retreats there and then strove to integrate what they learned in their work. They describe their personal experiences - including challenges - introducing children to these activities, in both home and school environments.

Although the themes are all grounded in Buddhism, they are introduced in a way that is non-religious, and so could be used to introduce children of any background to mindfulness. In fact, most of the educators that offer testimonials describe integrating these themes into secular environments, or even religious ones of other persuasions.

The book includes a CD with some of the guided meditations and songs tied to the exercises in the book, including "I Follow My Breath", "Pebble Meditation" and "Deep Relaxation for Young People." Lyrics are included for those songs that have them in the back of book, as well as written overviews of the guided meditations. Four meditation cards corresponding to the four meditations included in the 'Breathing in, Breathing Out' meditation are also in the Appendix.

For example, in the first meditation, the focus is on feeling as fresh and pure as a flower, so the card says:

"Breathing in, I see myself as a flower, a human flower...
Breathing out, I am beautiful just as I am, and I feel very fresh."

Subsequent cards are focused on being solid as a mountain, calm as still water, and free as open space.

Many chapters also include excerpts from Q&A sessions Thich Nhat Hanh did with children involved in these activities. One of my favorites was from a discussion on age and death (Thich Nhat Hanh is referred to as Thay here):

Child's Questions: How old are you?
Thay: Well, how old are you first?
Child: I am six, almost seven.
Thay: Listen, I am going to give you a good answer. I am the continuation of the Buddha, so I am 2,600 years old.
Child: Oh!
Thay: I am also the continuation of my father, so I am 110 years young. I know that you are my continuation and I feel that I am in you, so at the time I am six years old also. That is true, because I have been reborn in that child. He will carry me into the future. So I am quite young. I am six years old. If you look around, you see me a little bit everywhere. I have different ages. Okay?

Overall, this is a beautiful and practical book that any parent or educator (Buddhist or no) will treasure as a guide to introducing children to mindfulness, compassion, and related themes.
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, simple, great for all ages Aug. 2 2011
By Michelle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I work in pediatric psychiatry and have found this book to be very helpful. As an author, Thich Nhat Hanh is engaging, knowledgeable and easy to follow. This book was no exception. I think this is a wonderful book for anyone who wants tips on teaching mindfulness to children. I think it is important to note, however, that some of the exercises are quite Easternized. For Example, there is one snack activity where the children bow to each other. I don't know that I would utilize that part of the activity, but could easily adapt it for my patients. There is also discussion about not killing mosquitos, so certainly one must be willing to take what they want from the book and make modifications as necessary. Overall, this is an excellent book. Thich Naht Hanh, once again, has done a terrific job with what could be a complicated subject.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! April 28 2011
By Christine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love this book -- it has so many great ideas of how to teach mindfulness to children (and for adults too). I am using it for my toddler and preschooler and they love the special time we spend learning from it.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very practical! April 20 2012
By Tara Nicholson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this book I found constructive discussions and activities that I can share with my 5 year old and 3 year old about spirituality. This is written by a Zen Buddhist, and there are Buddhist references, but so much of the activities are non-denominational. Like, holding your finger under your nose to learn to describe what an in and an out breath feel like (awareness). Or a "prayer" for dinner time talking about appreciation of the source of food, to take only what you can eat. Or an activity to sew a little bag (my 3 year old could do this, and I made myself a bag), and collect pebbles for the pebble meditation. There's also a CD where I've pulled a couple songs onto our "kid play list" and sing along on a regular basis. I challenged myself to be my children's spiritual teacher, while kindergarden will be his achademic teachers, and this book has been an excellent reference!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a rare jewel June 6 2012
By artur elias - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a father of 2 kids (age 5 and 6), and a practical student of meditation in the Zen tradition, I've been wondering quite some time about what could be done to lead children in the path of mindfulness and compassion without boring or even harming them in the process.

It's a delicate matter.

I am immensely glad to see that this matter have already been adressed - by Thich Nhat Hanh and his community - and after begining to read the book I feel inspired and grateful.

I feel this book is the closest possible thing to being in a retreat and learning with actual people.

It is well written, it feels lively, it's inspiring, and it's even beautiful to look at - many nice ilustrations.

I have tried the very first of the suggested mindfulness practices, with 6 kids at one time. We all enjoyed it very much.

My daugher's comment to our very first try:

"I loved this! I wish it would never end!"
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