Spring Cleaning     
                              April 2010    
Clean & Fresh...
The cleansing ritual is an important (and functional) element across cultures - performed prior to the start of anything new.  Before we begin a prayer ceremony, a new day, or the preparation of a meal, we ritually wash, scrub and sanitize.
This month, as nature cleanses the earth with spring rains, involve your kids in helping to clean your house.  Montessori educators recognize the importance of Practical Life Exercises - sweeping, washing, etc. - to develop and refine motor skills.  These exercises also encourage children to take ownership of and pride in maintaining order in their environment.  An important life skill indeed!     
With Earth Day on the horizon, let's make sure we use safe and natural cleansers to regenerate our homes this spring - a practice our ancestors in India were experts at.
So bring out the squirt bottle and sponges and let's begin!
 DIY Natural Cleaner

Kids love to clean!  Montessori schools recognize this inclination and encourage students to care for their environment - both at home and at school.  We made a refreshingly natural all-purpose cleaner that kids (and adults) can squirt to their hearts content - using water, vinegar, baking soda, and a few drops of yummy-smelling essential oil.
Read more...   
In India, back in the day, people used pure and natural elements such as neem branches (to brush their teeth), soap nuts (for soap and shampoo), as well as powders and juices to keep their spaces squeaky-clean - many of which are being recycled into trendy modern "green" cleaners.  Maybe our ancestors had it right after all! Read more... 
 Tulsi - Holy Basil

Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is grown in the courtyards of many Hindu homes.  Tulsi is personified as a mythical consort to Lord Vishnu and is therefore very dear to him (and that's why the plant is grown outside the home - so Lakshmi - who resides inside the home - won't get jealous!).  Tulsi also has powerful medicinal and antioxidant properties - and it reportedly absorbs toxins in the air, making it a natural air purifier.  Your local temple may sell Tulsi plants, but you can also buy seeds or drink Tulsi teas Learn more about Tulsi... 
 Cultural Safari for Kids!

Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi this month - to mark the day their 10th and last Guru - Guru Gobind Singh - founded the Khalsa (Sikh brotherhood).  For the greater Punjab region, this day is also a mega harvest festival.  So what does that mean for kids?  Well you can find out with Kaur Foundation's Cultural Safari DVD. You'll get to meet a Sikh family, watch a turban being tied, and witness bhangra dancing at a Baisakhi festival.  This DVD is terrific model for all cultural groups.  Watch a preview at their website here... 
Multi-Cultural Musings
The latest from our blog:
Mar 24:  Happy Birthday Rama
Mar 18First Flush Darjeelings
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We'll have a very special
guest blogger during the week of
April 12th - so be sure to visit us then.
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Check out...
Aruna Hatti's interview with Indian style blog  BollyINSTYLE.  Read about what influences her and what she has planned for the future!
Time to Celebrate! 
Apr 14:  Baisakhi (Sikh)
Apr 14:  Tamil / Sinhala
             New Year
Apr 15:  Bengali New Year /
            Bohag Bihu (Assam)
Apr 22:  Earth Day 
"Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean."
 -- Goethe
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