• Meher School Community

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. As part of the school’s activities this month, the Equity and Inclusion Committee has prepared a diverse and engaging list of things families can do outside of school to support the Asian and Pacific Island community and celebrate its heritage. Here are this week’s offerings.



Book Recommendations

Asian Americans Who Inspire Us by Analiza Quiroz Wolf Age range: Children

Drawn Together by Minh Le Age range: 5–10

I Dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne Age range: Children

Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo Age range: Adult


Art Projects to Explore

Origami Heart

Origami Animals

Traditional Asian Craft


Field Trips

Peony Garden Chinese restaurant, 1448 So. Main St., Walnut Creek

Ohgane Korean BBQ & Cuisine, – 3915 Broadway, Oakland


Discussion Topics

Bystander Intervention (for parents), Hollaback

Asian American History in the US (for parents), PBS


Recipe

Hainan Chicken Instant Pot (Singapore)

Ingredients

1 whole chicken

1 whole ginger

1 bunch of green onions

White rice (for family of four, the submitter of this recipe usually cooks 4 cups of rice, but says it’s up to you)

1 bottle Hainan chicken rice sauce

Olive oil

Salt

Garlic

Soy sauce

Limes

Sesame oil

Sriracha sauce

Bowl of ice water, enough to cover a quartered chicken


Directions

There are 4 parts of the meal: the rice, the chicken, the ginger sauce, and the soy sauce.

  1. Rice: Add 1 tablespoon Hainan sauce per cup of white rice into the rice cooker.

  2. Chicken: Deconstruct chicken into quarters. Leave skin on but remove fat and undesirable parts.

  3. Put water and raised metal grid in the instant pot. The water level should be just shy of the metal grid line. Put chicken on grid. Chicken should not touch water. Add about six slices of ginger and a few green onion slices onto the chicken.

  4. Set the Instant Pot to Meat/Stew, 17 minutes, and Normal Adjust.

  5. When chicken is done, release pressure immediately and open when steam has been released.

  6. Put chicken in a bowl of ice and water for 5 minutes. Make sure it is completely covered by water. Pull it out and cut chicken into smaller slices.

  7. Ginger sauce: Put ginger and green onions in food processor. Add olive oil and salt to taste. Amount of all ingredients depends on your tastes. More ginger equals more spicy.

  8. Soy sauce: Finely chop three large cloves of garlic. Mix with soy sauce. You can add lime, sesame oil, and sriracha.



Parents and teachers have become better observers of children over this year. Staying home, starting distance learning, going back to school, donning masks – are all experiences that have required the ability of adults to tune into children’s reactions in more attentive ways. This is actually a form of mindfulness, being more fully present for children because we have understood that they needed extra support. Hopefully, we won’t lose those observational powers as the world opens up more.


Some parents and teachers have worked on teaching children tools for being fully in the moment, as a foundation for handling change in ways that promote well-being, during this period and throughout life. Summer is actually the perfect season for this kind of exploration in order to increase children’s awareness of their bodies, their feelings, their thoughts, and the world around them. It’s a time when nature invites us to be more fully aware of our physical selves in relation to the world around us.


Start by remembering the natural metamorphosis you went through at the start of the summer season. I still remember in fifth grade a boy wrote in a memory book, “June, June, I love you June because we get out of school in June.” Do you remember that feeling of freedom, even if you were going to summer school, that life was suddenly not as goal directed? What about the awakening of your senses and excitement about just being in nature? Most of us have a “summer self,” and even if our routines remain the same, we want to encourage children to benefit from the more relaxed world of the summer season in this unusual year.


Here are a few activities to increase summer mindfulness:

  • Enjoy time together outside. Picnics and barbeques offer opportunities to talk about sights, sounds, and smells, as well as tastes. You can expand on the game of “I spy with my little eye” to include things like “I hear with my little ear,” “I smell with my little nose,” “I taste with my little tongue,” etc.

  • Take a “sound walk.” Go on a silent stroll with the fun idea of just listening to subtle sounds you wouldn’t usually hear.

  • Lie down outside with your child and gaze up at the sky, noticing the clouds and anything else that crosses your visual field (birds, plane, etc.). Or, similarly, if you are at the ocean or in an area where you can gaze out at the horizon, notice if doing so feels expansive to you. If so, share that experience with your child in language appropriate to him or her (e.g., “I feel so peaceful when I look at the horizon, so much a part of the whole world.”).

  • To help develop increased awareness of breath, each of you can put a stuffed animal on your chests as you lie on your backs gazing up at the sky. Notice what happens to the animal with the in and out of breath.

  • Blow bubbles in a way that teaches children about their breath. What happens when you blow slowly or quickly?


Take the time to step into your summer self, and experience the wonders of summer with children as your guides.

Marine Scientist, New Mom

Earlier this year we told you about “Zebo,” the gazebo on the hill behind Room 6 that was built by an all-girl Explorations construction class 20 years ago. We introduced you to one of the six girls in that class, palliative-care nurse Katie Leonard. This week, meet another “Zebo Girl,” Jessica Williams-Kauzer.


“I have many memories of being at Meher School,” Jessica writes, “but more than individual events, I remember the feeling of being supported in exploration, creativity, and growth. That was particularly true in the [Explorations] classes I was able to take, like building the Zebo. I always looked


forward to Mr. Tim’s classes, and probably took every one that was offered, some more than once! (Tim Tacker, our building and grounds supervisor at the time, taught the Zebo class.)


“I remember lots of hammering, sawing, and so much fun! And I remember feeling proud that it was a team of all girls that built the Zebo together. There was a lot of trust and encouragement for building skills and finding what excited us.”


After graduating from College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, Jessica earned a BS in marine biology at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Then she was off to explore the coasts and jungles of Costa Rica and study great white sharks in South Africa. Returning to Northern California, she enrolled in CSU Monterey Bay, where she earned an MS in applied marine science.


“I’ve spent many years working both in science education and at the marine science–policy interface. My journey has been an evolving manifestation of my passion for fostering connections to each other and the natural world around us. I hope to support learning opportunities, understanding, and change for a better environment. My path has been winding, as I expect it will continue to be, as I seek to find the right balance of all of my interests.”


Jessica met Tren Kauzer on Sun Valley Swim Team. In their late teens, Tren was an assistant coach and Jessica was a junior coach. They married in 2016 and three years later welcomed their daughter, Kezia. “She’s a busy, observant, inquisitive, sweet, smart, funny, and happy little one who has brought us so much joy and many smiles over the past year and a half.


“Being a mom is no easy task, especially during a pandemic, but she makes our lives so much fuller than I ever thought possible. We hope to send her to the White Pony when she’s old enough.”


We hope they do!