Labyrinths in Schools (resource list below)
The first labyrinth I walked was at a high school where I taught photography in California. I walked it between classes to decompress and found it especially refreshing during grading periods. Then I began taking my students to the labyrinth on the first day of the semester. While all the other teachers were handing out syllabi, textbooks and grading rubrics, we would spend the period walking silently together as a group and setting our intentions for the class. They were fascinated! I would let them know the labyrinth was available when they needed it in the coming months and we would return on the last day of class to walk together again and reflect on how we had grown that year.
Labyrinths have endless applications in schools and some of my favorite projects have been in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff members. From temporary to permanent, drawing to finger tracing, group walks to conflict resolution, the labyrinth is an open source archetype that can provide another entrypoint to curriculum development in any discipline. Here are some examples from my work as a 'labyrinth artist in residence': I facilitated a walk for a choir who reflected on how they hold space for each other singing as a group. We created a labyrinth of withdrawn books from a school library during book week. I taught sacred geometry to sophomore math students to explore how labyrinths reflect patterns and proportions in nature. We built a labyrinth with fallen trees from a university botanic gardens to create a space for students to focus and reflect in nature. I gave an assembly at a K-5 sharing images and stories of building labyrinths with unusual objects such as apples, shoes, coconuts and flamingos!
Here are some more ideas for teaching and using labyrinths in schools, universities and colleges!
- Art: Learn to draw classical pattern, experiment with seed patterns & designs, color, collage
- Math: Study sacred geometry, meanings of numbers and patterns & proportions in nature
- Math: Calculate/estimate length of walking path using geometry or strides, or bricks needed to build
- Music: Drum circle on the labyrinth, Walk as group to learn how to hold space
- Service Learning: Create labyrinth out of food/clothing donations that builds over time
- Social Studies: Study labyrinths around world – Cretan coins, Roman Mosiacs, English Turf Mazes, Peruvian Nazca Lines, Swedish Trojaborg, Hopi “Man in the Maze”, etc.
- Language Arts: Write poems or reflections along the path of a finger labyrinth drawing
- Language Arts: Consider myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, Ariadne’s Thread, use of metaphor, also popular culture – David Bowie’s Labyrinth, Maze Runner, etc.
- PE: Walking meditation as healthy practice of exercise, Epic walks: Appalachian Trail, Mount Everest, Pacific Crest Trail, Camino de Santiago, marathon as meditation
- Health: Conflict resolution, emotional control, stress reduction, mindfulness, focus & concentration
- Ritual: Group walk on first or last day of the semester to set intention/reflect
Download a PDF with more ideas and links to labyrinth education resources: Click here
Interested in creating a temporary or permanent labyrinth at your school? Want to bring a motivational speaker to campus to share a life journey of healing and transformation through the labyrinth? Interested in an artist-in-residence to explore these ideas through assemblies and classroom visits? Contact me!