“Who still doesn’t have a golden sticker?” “Me!” “Me!” Answered a crowd of young voices. In an Erbach youth hostel, a small town in the middle of Germany, about a dozen four to eight year old young practitioners were around their teacher with hands raised, hoping to receive a golden sticker on the back of their hands.
This was a scene from the first Minghui School winter camp in Germany and was also the first time the children had properly learned the Falun Gong exercises. The students have learned very attentively and carefully. The only problem they have is distinguishing their left hand from their right during the exercises! One of the teachers is an experienced and professional teacher and so thought of the sticker idea so that the children can distinguish their hands.
For six consecutive years at Easter, Christmas and New Years, practitioners from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other German speaking countries come to the youth hostel in Erbach for a retreat. Practitioners study the Fa, share experience and in recent years have also included Fa conferences, seminars and other activities. As the number of practitioners has increased, there are more young practitioners also. It isn’t enough now to have a few adults looking after the children and they also sometimes make loud noises. This can affect the activities and disturb the parents, as well as cause a few problems for the manager of the hostel. As a result, a few practitioners who have teaching experience prepared activities prior to the start of the retreat and invited all the parents to enrol their children in the Minghui School.
The winter camp was divided into senior, intermediate and lower classes. The higher classes consisted of children from eight and above and did not require any supervision from practitioners. There were also some children who were at the camp for the first time. The children read Zhuan Falun together and also shared experiences. The older practitioners explained to the new and younger ones what Falun Gong is and about the persecution, why they should clarify the facts and send forth righteous thoughts. The children also suggested going to the town centre to clarify the facts. Those in the lower class learnt to recognise Master, the Falun emblem and they also played together.
The children in the intermediate class learned how to make paper lotus flowers and other art skills from the art teacher. They also read Hong Yin. Every little practitioner drew a picture of Master Li. When the children were doing the exercises, they were very careful and always helped each other to ensure that everyone’s exercises were correct. The children’s purity, eagerness and attentiveness moved everyone. A retired teacher said happily, “I was a teacher in a nursery for over thirty years but this is the first time that I’ve seen so peaceful an atmosphere. These children are really out of the ordinary. I have found a completely new feeling today.”
Every day at noon, the teachers planned for the children to go out to play for an hour. Before lunch, the children put their own cutlery on the table and lined up to get lunch. Then they sat down and ate together. The young practitioners, with help from the teachers, also made their own programmes to perform for the New Year celebration. They will be reciting some poems from Hong Yin and also singing “The Minghui School Song” etc. Some children who left early were sad to go and said that next year they will definitely come again to the Minghui School.
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