Voorhees, New Jersey – Leddy Naudain, owner and administrator of the Naudain Academy, now in it’s 35th school year, has always been one step ahead of how to change children’s lives. Her daughter Lauren follows in her footsteps as a co-administator who thinks outside the box.  So it was no surprise that the Naudain Academy, where peace education has been a mainstay for students for many years, decided to introduce  the YOUNG MASTERS LITTLE WISDOM DISCOVERY PROGRAM to it’s  extended Day (Kindergarten) students.  What is a Young Master?  Read on and find out about this incredible program that teaches core values and life skills to children 4-8.


Stephanie Pelly who teaches this self-discovery program in the New Jersey area, conducted the first of thirteen classes this week, by asking the children what they thought a Young Master was.   “Someone who shares, a person who is peaceful, someone who does karate or ballet,  a person who is loving and someone who helps others,” were some of the answers.  One little girl asked, “Are you going to teach us how to care for ourselves and others?”  “All great answers”, Stephanie commented and then went on to explain.”We’re all born with special gifts that we can share with others, “said Stephanie,  “these gifts are not necessarily presents that you give to people that you buy from a store, but rather gifts that you can share from your heart –  they’re the secrets of the heart.  A Young Master is you!,” she said, “learning how to use those gifts.”  The children were fascinated.


During the 13 week program, that spreads across the 2011-2012 school year, they will discover six different Secrets of the Heart. There is one book, chocked full with music and story for each secret.  Stephanie  asked the students if they would like to discover the first Secret of the Heart.  With great enthusiasm they all screamed YES and from her little red treasure bag, she pulled out our first secret – FRIENDSHIP!  The children were very excited.


Before they read the story, she shared the Young Masters Pledge with them and they repeated after her , “I promise to use my gifts every day, in every way, for I am a Young Master!”  This group of 24 students were fast learners and proudly said the pledge a second time holding up their peace fingers as they spun around smiling and standing proud.


Stephanie then introduced the first book in the series YOUNG MASTERS – The Friendship Seed.  She explained how Bunny Hull, the author used her imagination to create characters like Buttan, EEtha and Phlyos for the stories.  The children listened carefully to the words of the story and learned that a smile is like a “friendship seed” they can share with anyone, anytime. They talked about how friendship grows when you share a smile or kind words with a friend.  One child said, “You can plant a Friendship Seed when you ask a friend to play with you.” “So right,” said Stephanie.


Naudain Academy – The Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program

They talked about how they’re all connected.  They took turns saying “I am a good friend because… ” and they each shared their own unique answer.  Some children stood up and said, “because I respect others, because I am helpful, because I share.” They giggled as they talked about caring for their friends, making others laugh and being kind.  Concepts of friendship were taking root.


Stephanie pointed out to the children that on the work mat she had a stone statue called the circle of friends.  They listened to words of the music on the books CD as  together they made a a circle of friendship and each child took a turn standing up in a circle and sharing their wonderful affirmations about friendship.  They took turns connecting fingers together with the person next to them and they held hands.  The children were asked to think about what it meant to be a good friend and to notice the differences in each other. “Do all friends look alike and act the same?” asked Stephanie. “Friends look different, they have beautiful different color skin, they may like different things, a different sport, or different game, but they’re still great friends.”


They created a friendship chain together where each child took two pieces of colored paper cut in strips and wrote their name and what makes them a good friend.  They connected their chain of answers, words like helpful, kind, share and play together.  Their understanding was growing. At the end they talked about how the friendship chain has many different colors. The colors can represent the differences in friends like, the different likes we may have or different talents. It was clear the children liked this idea.  Their friendship chain will hang on their holiday tree for the next month.  They were encouraged to create a friendship chain at home with their families.

A deep exploration of friendship for children, designed to teach them that they are each Young Masters with many gifts to share…the secrets of the heart.  This is no doubt a highlight for the children at Naudain Academy.   They closed with the Young Masters Pledge.

Next workshop the children receive their YOUNG MASTERS JOURNALS to chart the course of their discovery.    Stay tuned.

Visit Naudain Academy and find out how their making a difference in children’s lives.


What is a Young Master?  Someone born with gifts.  A Young Master is YOU.  This is what each and every child in the extension program at Naudain Academy is learning.  They are indeed Young Masters.  This week they continued to explore friendship as they reviewed  the Secret of The Heart they are focusing on for the first month.  They began as always.

“Let’s stand and say the Young Masters Pledge,” said Stephanie Pelly, the program’s director.  Proudly they stood with peace sign over their hearts and said  the pledge with and without the CD.   “I promise to use my gifts every day, in every way, for I am a Young Master.  The children already remember the pledge and state it with great enthusiasm.” said Stephanie. “With each meeting they understand a little more, what it means.”

They reviewed the book they read at their first meeting.  Many children recalled not only the title of the book  The Friendship Seed, but  were also able to share the author’s name, Bunny Hull and the illustrator Kye Fleming.  They discussed the names of the characters in the story and she then asked them if they could remember, “what was the Friendship Seed that was shared in the story…who can tell me?” she asked.  Together the children cheered – a smile.

They talked about how plants and flowers grow transition from a tiny seed and  how a friendship can grow from one single smile.  They talked about how it’s important to take care of our friendships, to nurture them and they explored how to do that.  Together the class created a “friendship flower.” On each petal they wrote an idea that could help their friendships grow in school.  They could “be kind”, one child said,  “and say kind words.” Another child said, “I could help a friend or cheer a them up if they were sad.”  They  talked about how they could “include others,” or “share with a friend.”  “What about unkind words,” asked Stephanie. ” Those are like weeds that don’t help friendships grow,” they all agreed. “We don’t want those in our garden!”

Stephanie then invited one child at a time to come to the front of the classroom and hold a “friendship flower”, this was a beautiful red rose that she had brought to class.  Each child said something they liked about their friend, until everyone had a turn.  This activity made each child feel that what they had to say was indeed important and valued. They were showing kindness to their friend.

The children were given an activity sheet to take away so they could complete their own friendship flower at home and discuss it with their families. The Young Masters Journals were introduced for the  first time.   The children were excited about receiving their new books which will allow them to track their journey of discovery as they learn how to use the Secrets of the Heart.

Before the program ended they listened to new songs from the Friendship Seed CD and sang THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE in English and Swahili, which they learned was the language of Kenya.  Finally they listened to Hey Young Masters and played air guitar as began to learn the words. “The music is one more important way the children begin to grasp the very important concepts they’re learning,” said Stephanie.

It was good day at Naudain today as the children moved one step closer to learning what powerful little beings they are and how their creativity as Young Masters can create a world of friendship, for them and for the world they live in.  They’re learning they make a difference.  Stay tuned for the next adventure as the children of Naudain Academy continue their quest to the Secrets of the Heart.