Core Freedom: Perceive in Our Own Way


We believe core freedoms are something we all share and are essential for building a healthy community. The 8 Core Freedoms of IM4U ay the foundation for a new level of freedom that is respectful, cooperative, and beneficial to all and supports the freedom to imagine and to dream.

The 8 Core Freedoms of the IM4U Learning Program are:

1. Be Who We Are
2. Perceive In Our Own Way
3. Feel Our Own Feelings
4. Think Our Own Thoughts
5. Make Decisions
6. Communicate Well
7. Take Wise Actions
8. Interact With Others In Our Own Unique And Creative Way

That might sound like a mouthful for students, but as a teacher you know that these concepts are key to a good educational program. As teachers, we want students to feel comfortable enough with themselves and their environment to be able to take creative and imaginative risks. We want them to be able to think that there really could be a “smile in the sky.”

When students have The 8 Core Freedoms in place, their imagination, creative thinking, and problem solving skills soar and the sky is truly the limit.

While listening to the song together, students may become curious about some of the imaginative ways Uncle Jim talks about the sky.


Students listen to a song, participate in a discussion about freedom, and use an image to uncover that everyone has different perceptions.

Principle Overview

The 8 Core Freedoms of IM4U are the hallmarks of who we are as individuals and members of a group. In a way, they are our “Bill of Rights.” As individuals, we are free to be ourselves, to perceive in our own way, to feel our feelings, to think our thoughts, to make our own decisions, to communicate as we do, to take action, and to interact with others in our own unique way. The different elements of the IM4U Program are designed to teach students the conscious application of freedoms for the benefit of all.

Goals and Objectives:

  • Recognize that others may experience situations differently than they might experience them.
  • Identify the perspective of others.
  • Be sure to introduce The 8 Core Freedoms before using this activity. See Promoting the Principle for a suggested way to introduce the Core Freedoms.
  • Preview the Smile in the Sky song to better facilitate class discussion.
  • Print the The 8 Core Freedoms poster to post in the classroom for a visual reminder and to use as information when you are using ROCK.
  • During the discussion, create a chart summarizing students’ perceptions of the dog photo.
  • Use song lyrics to continue discussions on The Freedom to Perceive.
The skill builder You, Me, And We helps students notice that friendship is built on similarities and differences. Embracing others’ similarities and differences allows everyone to feel connected as friends. As students collaborate and use kind words (Respect- SEL Concept) they notice something different about one another (Diversity-SEL Concept). This allows students to experience more diverse perspectives and adds to their understanding of community. Students can begin to appreciate the qualities that make each of us special and how working together can benefit all.

  • Tally student perceptions about the dog photo to demonstrate class similarities and differences in thoughts and feelings.
Skill Builder
Use these visual resources to enhance the student experience in this unit.

View In Resources

Activity Steps

  • Connector.

    Listen to the Smile in the Sky song.

    Talk about the ways Uncle Jim perceives the sky.

  • Connector.

    Create a discussion about the word “freedom.” What does that mean to a child? Ask them! You might be surprised at their answers. Accept all answers equally. Write their thoughts on chart paper or whiteboard.For young students: Some of the concepts in The 8 Core Freedoms are a bit abstract for very young students but they can talk about them if you give them a context. For example, in discussing The Freedom To Be, you can discuss how each of us are different in some ways but that we all have the freedom to be ourselves just the way we are. Perhaps students can talk about what is unique or special about each person in class.

  • Connector.

    Discuss The Freedom To Perceive. What does that mean?

    For young students: Perhaps the most important of The 8 Core Freedoms to discuss with this song is The Freedom to Perceive In Our Own Way. We all perceive things differently. While your little ones don’t use the word “perceive,” they can talk about how they look at things differently.

  • Connector.

    Engage students in a discussion about perception by showing students a photo of a dog and asking them what they see. Some students will think that dogs are cute while others might think they are scary. Support students in all of their perceptions, helping them feel entitled to see them in their own way. Discuss how being aware of the perceptions of others can help us work together in collaboration with them and show kindness to those who think or act differently from us.

Visit the FAQ for More Information

Have questions? Need help? Ask questions and discuss this unit, the IM4U Principles, and more in our Q&A focused area.