Recently a mom shared with me that the “New Learning Culture” ideas make her sad because her children don’t have access to a child-centered school, she doesn’t have the money to purchase Montessori materials, and she can’t just start a new school by herself.
I’m glad she shared her concerns so I can bring back some hope.
New Learning Culture is all about creating inspiring, child-friendly schools with many learning materials available. But most of all the New Learning Culture helps create a change in perspective for individuals and also educational institutions.
In the NLC paradigm we adults (you) become the greatest resource for children. Through learning to honor children’s genuine needs such as connection, play, inspiration, boundaries, and nature, we naturally get creative and try to fulfill these needs as best we can in any circumstances.
The greatest gift for children is the time we spend with them. Being able to transform even a short amount of time, such as bedtime, into quality time, strengthens children’s self-esteem. Being able to add an element of play and even learning, provides the heart-mind connection needed for children to thrive even in difficult circumstances.
When children go to a school they don’t like, support them at home with your unconditional acceptance of their perspective. Always remain your child’s ally and advocate in the adult world. If you remain someone they can count on, that is all that is needed to transform challenges into learning opportunities, which strengthen your child’s growth in the long run.
About the learning materials… Even though it’s very useful to have access to Montessori materials, children don’t necessarily need all the “fancy” materials, ….in all cultures they happily develop intelligence by playing with buttons, sticks, and shoeboxes. Hands-on learning materials can be reinvented and crafted with recycled and natural materials (see ideas on the NLC blog and many other online resources). Homeschooling parents may be able to find like-minded people to communally purchase and share Montessori materials.
Even though there may be no child-based school in your area…..When you allow yourself to learn, envision, and talk about alternatives, these are the first steps to creating child-friendly schools or help existing schools transition. Everything we add to the worldwide movement for more child-friendly education is a step in the right direction and it gives this movement strength.
The many European child-based schools provide us with a proven template. Each of these European schools started in one parent’s heart who affected another parent’s heart, who inspired a teacher. First people meet in living rooms, then in public spaces, and then they may rent an apartment or home to prepare their first shared learning environments. What’s possible in Europe is possible here in the US, in Mexico, and elsewhere.
Let’s keep going towards child-friendly education step by step, in each moment we enjoy with children. Our change of perspective opens the door to a shift in education paradigms within our local communities.
Tag! You’re it! Don’t give up! Children and students need us now.