Instructions for the “TREE OF LIFE” exercise
Time: This is a one-hour arts-based activity. An optional additional hour can be dedicated to discussing individual trees, sharing between group members, celebrating all children’s contributions, and connecting children.
Purpose: To help celebrate Earth Day and to promote unity, connection and a sense of shared community across the globe, especially for, and with, the children of Ukraine. The focus of this celebration is on the process of creation and connection, not on creating the best tree. The trees are representations of our stories and our lives. All trees hold their own beauty and purpose. Like in nature, every tree is part of the forest. Every tree created will be different, but each tree will have commonalities. It is these commonalities that we seek to celebrate, along with the beauty of each child’s story.
Materials: paper and coloring equipment (markers, crayons, pencils, etc.)
Instructions (first hour):
Draw a tree. You can draw any size, shape, and color tree you want. As you draw your tree, consider writing words in your tree that represent the following aspects of who you are:
- In the Roots of your tree: where you come from (your culture, country, favorite foods, etc.)
- In the Trunk of your tree: your skills and abilities (what are you good at? What do you like to do?)
- In the Branches of your tree: What are your goals? What do you hope for? What are your wishes (for yourself and for others)?
- Fill the top of your tree with whatever kinds of leaves you like. You can use whatever colors you want. If you want to include the names of anyone who is important to you in your tree, you can write their names here.
- To finish up, add the ground around your tree by acknowledging what you can do today, right now, for yourself and your community. You can also take a moment to “ground yourself” by taking a few deep breaths and noticing 3-5 familiar things you see in the room around you.
- After you finish, take a moment to review your tree. What important themes, words, or ideas have you expressed? If you are planning to upload your tree to our website please think of 1-5 words that best represent the themes or ideas from your tree that are important to you.
Optional Additions: if you have time and want to keep building your tree, you can choose to add any or all of these components, as well as any other details you want to include:
Fruit: Gifts people have given you or contributions other people have made to your life.
Flowers and Seeds: Things that you want to do to help make the world better.
Clouds and rain: The challenges in your life that can be unpleasant, but that help you grow.
Compost pile: Important things in your life that are unpleasant which you don’t want in your tree, but whose impact on you cannot be ignored.
Overview of the optional second hour:
–During the optional second hour, invite participants to display their trees and share them with the group. If appropriate for the group, children can be invited to comment on each other’s trees and make additions to their own.
-The group can also be asked whether they want to collaborate on any additions between the trees, to connect drawings or concepts.
-To close the second hour, invite participants to form a circle and do a community grounding activity in which they imagine themselves as a tree, feel their feet connecting to the ground, and reach their hands up to the sky, like tree branches. With their arms raised, invite participants to join hands with the people next to them so that all of the trees come together to form a supportive forest.
Explain to the children how they can take part in the activity. Tell them to take a photo of their tree and upload the finished work using the link:
Fill in the electronic application form.
The result of the children’s participation in the campaign will be a virtual exhibition of drawings, where the trees will be grouped according to the values indicated in them, creating “meaningful forests”.
All participants will receive certificates from the communal extracurricular educational institution “Kirovohrad Regional Center of Children’s and Youth Creativity”, and facilitators will receive a letter of gratitude.
The entire campaign will be shared on the “Kirovohrad Regional Central State University” Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kocdut
Website of the institution: http://ocdut.kr.ua/
Online event of the Festival: https://fb.me/e/28dNpwMcM
Additional information by phone: in US, English/Ukrainian: Natalya Rakevich firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 781-710-7215.
Or in the city of Kropyvnytskyi in Ukrainian: (0522) 32-15-81 (contact persons: (095) 234-64-98 – Nataliya Kostyantynivna Dolgopolova, head of the methodical department of the State Technical University of Ukraine; Tetyana Oleksiivna Gladchenko, head of the Folk Art Department – (095 ) 139-02-79; Diana Oleksandrivna Volobuyeva, methodologist – (095) 646-34-41.