PK Activity 4 – Quiet Appreciation Time

Core Freedom: Freedom to Perceive


The Smile In The Sky lyrics invite children to stop and think about the sky above. Often children are so busy that they don’t take the time to appreciate the beauty of nature and the simple world around them. This activity relates to The Freedom To Perceive and invites children to pause long enough to perceive or look at what is here and now.


Children listen to the Smile In The Sky song, take a one minute quiet time, and discuss how they can see differently when they take time to notice what is around them.

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:

  • Build observation skills through learning how to stop, look, and listen to the world around them.
  • Develop a positive outlook on life by appreciating the small and large elements of their world.
  • 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.
  • To prepare, listen to the Smile in the Sky song and watch the Do You See A Smile In The Sky puppet skit video.
  • Prepare classroom space for children to lie down, if desired.
  • Turning off lights might encourage quiet time.
  • You can extend the activity by taking a short “silent walk” around the room, the school, or the playground. Stop periodically to notice what is around you. Come back to the classroom to share what they perceived on the walk.
  • Of The 8 Core Freedoms, this activity focuses on The Freedom to Perceive.
The You, Me, And We Skill Builder helps children notice that friendship is built on similarities and differences. Embracing others’ similarities and differences allows everyone to feel connected as friends. As children collaborate and use kind words (Respect- SEL Concept) they notice something different about one another (Diversity-SEL Concept). This allows children to experience more diverse perspectives and add to their understanding of community. Children can begin to appreciate the qualities that make each of us special and how working together can benefit all.

  • In this activity, children take time to become aware of and notice what is around them. They learn that sometimes you need to quiet down to notice different things. This is true of our similarities and differences with others. You might extend the discussion, or on another day, have children spend quiet time with a partner just noticing what is similar and different between them.
Skill Builder
Use these visual resources to enhance the student experience in this unit.

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Activity Steps

  • Connector.

    Invite children to listen to the Smile in the Sky song as they rest in a comfortable position. If possible, they can lie down and pretend that they are looking up into the sky as Uncle Jim sings.

  • Connector.

    Discuss The Freedom To Perceive or look at things differently. Explain that one way we are free to perceive is to stop what we are doing and quietly look around. We might find some surprises! Use The 8 Core freedoms poster as a reference.

  • Connector.

    Play the Do You See A Smile In The Sky puppet skit video. Ask: What are the different ways Sammy and Martin see or perceive the situations and surroundings in the video? How did stopping to notice what was around him help Sammy to get a new outlook or perception?

  • Connector.

    Stopping to notice or appreciate what’s around us can help us to focus or re-focus in a positive way. Create a quiet time for one minute in class to practice stopping, pausing, and noticing what it is like to just be. Invite children to sit quietly, rest, and notice their breathing.

  • Connector.

    Invite children to look outside the window and silently notice what is happening in the world of nature or the weather. Ask: What did you notice that you might not have seen before? How do you feel? Do you feel different from before?

    Perhaps they will see the wind blowing, rain falling, sun shining, etc. This is a reminder to take a moment to be aware of what is here, right now. From these moments of quiet appreciation, we can be renewed as we move through our day. When we are aware of our own perceptions and even of those around us, we are better able to respect others and celebrate diversity of thinking, feeling, and being.

  • Connector.

    To illustrate this, invite children to reflect and look around the at other classmates and smile. You might ask, How do you feel now that you took a quiet break? Do you feel calmer and more aware of your friends?

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