Category: Inspiration (page 2 of 4)

The role of discipline in child-centered parenting and education

I just read a great book Mindful Discipline and it reaffirmed that there are healthy versions of discipline and self-discipline.

Here’s the link to Mindful Discipline on amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Discipline-Approach-Emotionally-Intelligent/dp/1608828840

Here are the four reasons why a loving and mindful discipline is important:
1. Discipline creates harmony in your home.
2. Discipline supports mental health and a sense of well-being.
3. Discipline helps kids function well and reach their full potential.
4. Discipline ultimately leads to the resolution of “behavioral problems.”

Harmony in your Home
We all want out home to be a place of rest: a place where we can enjoy some amount of quiet, flow with our projects, and sweet intimacy with each other. To do this, we need to create a certain amount of structure and habits of respectful and heartfelt interaction. When we focus on meeting our children’s needs first, they feel better, act out less, and become more capable of contributing to harmony in the home. Meeting your child’s needs is the basis of Mindful Discipline, and leads to more harmony in the home.

Mental Health and Well-Being
Your child’s overall health and experience of life depend on the development of her body and nervous system—and many factors go into that development. But the area of the brain that is perhaps most responsible for mental health and the experience of well-being is the middle regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). This area—often called the CEO of the brain—is responsible for the following 9 functions:
1. Bodily regulation
2. Emotional balance
3. Down-regulation of fear
4. Impulse control/response flexibility
5. Attuned communication
6. Empathy
7. Ethical behavior
8. Self-insight
9. Intuition

This list—created by Dr. Dan Siegel—is the basis for mental health and the experience of well-being and is optimally supported by the Mindful Discipline approach.

Optimal Functioning and Becoming Fully Ourselves
A disciplined mind and brain not only feels better, but functions better. Full brain development takes at least twenty-five years, and every step of the way the PFC supports our functioning in life. It is the basis for emotional and social intelligence, allows us to remain focused when under stress, and allows us to choose the most appropriate response given the needs of the situation. This is how we not only come to function well, but also how we become able to pursue our dreams and reach our full potential in life. Don’t we all want that for our children?

The Resolution of Behavioral Problems
And finally, one of our jobs as parents is to guide our children toward taking responsibility for greater and greater portions of the “work” of daily life as they mature. We all hope that one day they will be able to brush their own teeth, get along with each other, and do their homework without our having to badger them. The more we can turn the work of parenting over to them, the more we can relax into the joys of being a parent.

For these reasons (and more), we parents should find a way to incorporate a healthy and loving discipline into our homes. Mindful Discipline does a fantastic job at detailing what children need in order to grow up into emotionally intelligent, self-disciplined, and resilient beings who deeply appreciate their parents.

You can read the book’s introductory chapter here:

Introduction to Mindful Discipline

 

From Passion To Active Compassion To Vocation

Here’s a personal post I published as a guest blogger on Lynn Sheurell’s who is a creative catalyst and business consultant….Enjoy!

From Passion To Active Compassion To Vocation
http://mycreativecatalyst.com/blog/from-passion-to-active-compassion-to-vocation/

LynnScheurell

Whenever you feel deeply touched by an injustice you hear about, you may be a step closer to your calling. Take a newspaper and read the headlines and notice which ones make you crunch inside the most. Is it environmental abuse? Injustice done to the weaker ones, children, prisoners, patients, animals? Or is it economic disparity?

Pick your battle! But instead of or in addition to battling what is, consider putting all your passion and efforts into finding and supporting solutions. There is a reason why you feel affected by specific issues. It ruffles your feathers so you can get active and become part of the solution.

You can become part of the solution in many ways, and if you decide to commit fully to one of our problems that needs to be solved, be sure the magic support of the universe is on your side. That may sounds too fantastic, but it is true. Once you commit your strength to alleviating suffering in any way, the infinite force of evolution is on your side.

Now let me share my story with you. I was around twenty-five years old, and the issue that started touching me deeply was the abuse children experience at school. Having been at public school in Europe my whole life, I knew the issue by heart. I noticed I lost my joy of learning early on but luckily functioned well in the school system. Only during my Montessori teacher training that I concluded (after becoming a university-trained high school teacher) did I realize how much more joyful I could have been in my learning if I had been given a chance to be more self-directed. In addition, I realized that through all these school years, I didn’t learn any of the skills I now desperately needed: team work, non-violent communication, mediation, emotional processing, healthy nutrition, being connected to my inner guidance and the list goes on.

So I had found my “battle”. I researched more child-friendly education methods and discovered that a whole lot had already been tried. Through my years in some of the child-centered Wild-inspired schools in Europe, I developed the New Learning Culture approach – an approach that takes the most child-friendly elements from alternative education approaches and synthesizes them for teachers to learn how to provide child-directed learning environments.

On my path to becoming a consultant for child-directed learning, I was surprised with countless blessings. All my needs have always been met even during the times when my young business did not bring in enough to pay the rent. My family and friends reached out to support me during the times when I set up my course programs. I miraculously found a house with affordable rent. People were open to trading with me for my services when I did not have enough money to pay for their services. And this was validation for me to pursue my new passion.

By following my vocation, I experienced the help of many many people and each time I received a miraculous blessing, I knew it was the force of evolution itself that supported me. And it is still happening.

Obviously I don’t know if it will be the same way for you. But I do think the power of the pure heart devoted to finding a solution to the immense unnecessary suffering that is happening is irresistible! The additional intelligence you develop when stopping emotional drama and survival fear while dedicating your time and effort to a cause is going to help you manifest a livelihood. All surroundings are spontaneously compelled to support you because they know it’s reciprocal and they also support themselves and their own children by helping you.

Your passionate compassion turned vocation can change the world. If you’ve let anything stop you up until now, and don’t do something starting now, you’ll never know what might have been – and it is the people you could have helped that will suffer the most.

Lynn Scheurell – the wonderful owner of this blog can help with business questions. I met her over 5 years ago, when she offered me and a few inspired friends a special connection in order to give our business wings. We haven’t looked back since – thank you Lynn!!!

About the Author
Carmen Gamper is founder of New Learning Culture Consulting and passionately serves as an international advocate and consultant for innovative child-centered education. She combines elements from Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia education, as well as the new sciences of epigenetics and neuro-cardiology. Carmen is part of a new European wave of “enhanced” Montessori teachers who are inspired by Rebeca Wild, Claus-Dieter Kaul, and Joseph Chilton Pearce. She co-created two K-8 private schools in Europe based on child-directed learning within healthy boundaries. www.NewLearningCulture.com

11 Ways to Show Kindness to Children

1. Make sure the environment is safe, and prepared for free play.

2. Give children a voice in daily life. For example, plan the course of a day together; choose clothing, food, and room arrangements together with a child.

3. Share information with children: where is the child at the moment, where are you going next, what can the child expect there.

4. Smile frequently at children.

5. Be predictable. Keep promises.

6. Show ways how children can express frustration safely, such as tearing up a newspaper, yelling into a pillow, or running in nature.

7. Help adults understand and communicate with children, and practice advocacy for children.

8. Don’t force a child to hug or kiss anyone.

9. Don’t talk to other adults about the child as if he or she wasn’t there.

10. Avoid taking things from a child’s hands without asking.

11. Avoid altering a child’s painting, drawing, or crafting work to “improve” it. Respect the child’s work as is.

~ BE SOMEONE WHO A CHILD CAN TRUST. ~

Art Work by Sybille Kramer http://sybilletezzelekramer.wordpress.com/

madonna mit den Baukloetzen

Happy birthday Maria Montessori

In honor of Maria Montessori’s birthday, on August 31, my dear friend Sybille Tezzele Kramer, artist and homeschooling mom, created a wonderful poster for her !

000Montessori-Plakat

Sybille’s description of her work:
At the center of the poster, you see a learning companion or mother with some children of various ages. She plays with the Montessori bead frame, and the child in her arm loves to participate! Scattered on the table are some Montessori wood numerals – that seem to interest the cat – and a few bead bars.

Another child is busy with the square roots board, while observing what others are doing. The child left (my favorite child in this picture ) daydreaming and cuddles with the cat. 
On the right we see a girl who chose her own resting place, focusing on a book.

A green moon shines from top reminding me of the Montessori Grammar Box with its crescent green moon symbol for prepositions.

Opposite the sun radiates from the Montessori seasonal cycles material with the colorful icons for each month.

On top, a rainbow bridge connects a small town, symbol for the inner world, with a field of flowers, symbol for the outer world.

In the flower field there is a girl happily contemplating the hanging Montessori multiplication beads.

On top left, two children are exploring a large snail which stands for ” learning at one’s own pace ” look .

Right and left there is a butterfly and a bird, because in Montessori education, there is sufficient space to grow wings!

I dedicate the poster to all who continue to love the spirit and knowledge of Maria Montessori!

If you like the poster, you can copy it and show it on your blog, Twitter or Facebook! Let’s celebrate Maria Montessori’s special day in this way!

With love,
Sybille Tezzele-Kramer
Check out my Art Diary!
http://sybilletezzelekramer.wordpress.comnull

Thank you, Sybille !
Love,
Carmen

How Children Develop Empathy

When we are born, empathy is not part of our skill set.
We still float in an ocean of oneness and cannot yet distinguish between “you” and “me.” We feel in union with our mother and our environment. As young children, our capacity for empathy expands somewhat, but our worldview remains largely determined by our age-appropriate, child ego-centrism. In our early years, we tend to believe everyone feels exactly the same way we do. But each time we discover a person feels different than we do, we learn that each of us are separate individuals with unique feelings. As we grow up, we are meant to develop empathy, which is the ability to understand the feelings and perspectives of others.

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Empathy is a crucial skill for living together peacefully, cultivating friendships, and working in teams. Through empathy, we willingly slow down to have someone else catch up, or stop our loud drumming because someone else’s ears are hurting. We take time to hear out our classmate and try to understand what she is saying, before blurting out our opinion. With the capacity to understand the motivations, feelings, and perspectives of others, we can make better decisions as a group and reach our goals together.

We can help our children cultivate empathy.
When we say, “Look at the dog; it seems like he is hurting when you hit him,” we help our children focus on the inner feelings of others to help guide their behavior. In this way, we play an important role in helping support the development of empathy. But here is the good news: it is not all up to us. Mother nature supports children in naturally developing empathy while playing with each other. Their internal drive for role play and pretend play leads children to playfully experience many different roles, naturally growing their awareness of the internal world of another.

Children love pretending to be someone else.
They joyfully take on the roles of teacher, student, mother, father, child, storekeeper, hairdresser, doctor, baby, cat, horse, princess, king, pirate, fairy, unicorn. In short, all they “try on” what they see in their environments and hear in stories. By “playing out” different roles children naturally experience the archetypes of human life: the betrayer and the betrayed, the hater and the lover, the excluded one and the admired one, the taker and the giver, the powerful and the weak one, the leader and the follower, the enemy and the ally.

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Through experiencing these different roles during play, children become familiar with the spectrum of emotions. The more they experience these nuances, the more empathic they become. However, role play only teaches empathy when each child feels safe during play at all times, and when each child knows, they can stop playing anytime they feel unsafe. This is part of our responsibility as adults caring for children.

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Learning companions / teachers are needed to make sure that each child can chose her own role joyfully, and that each child’s boundaries are respected. Learning companions develop a feeling of how and when to step in, support children during a conflict, or offer play therapy materials such as the sandbox. As learning companions, we walk the line between allowing joyful play to do the teaching, and stepping in when necessary to make sure the environment is safe and conducive for optimal learning.

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