When we work with young children we often talk about their holistic development. We see the child as a whole being, unique with individual needs and skills. We see all the different areas of development being interconnected. We observe and offer play activities according to the needs and their developmental stage, we want to meet the child where she is and support her development in the most natural and child centered approach we possibly can.
The child is the centre in this educational and therapeutic approach. However, where do we draw from when we connect the steps of development, the needs of children, and the importance of play as a central occupation in childhood? And how do we as adults, teachers, therapists connect with the child’s inner life?
I think we have to start with ourselves. We have to first understand ourselves as a unique, holistic being with individual needs, wishes, fears and desires. We have to nurture the inner child and the creative spirit that lives inside each of us and we have to learn to accept who we are. If we can do that for ourselves first then we can use this insight as a tool in education and give back to our children and create a rich learning environment.
Experience and research has shown that if we can offer a space for young children where there is freedom of expression and non-judgment we give permission to explore and learn in the most effective way - just for the purpose of learning and with no pressure or outcome attached. Play is the most effective and natural occupation in childhood and in order to feel and understand this as adults, we have to connect with the spirit of childhood and give ourselves permission to play.
The Flower Valley Teachers Retreat is such a place for play and nurturing the teacher holistically. It is an invitation for self exploration and growth. We at Creative Works support this approach and were invited to facilitate at the September retreat.
The ECD professionals where guided towards creating their own mandala from paint, crayon and natural materials. Every mandala turned out beautifully unique reflecting the self expression of each individual.
Thank you to Gabrielle Jonker from Flower Valley Education Trust for inviting us to facilitate at the teacher retreat. Thank you to the team for the wonderful collaboration. We are looking forward to many more to come.
The Flower Valley Early Childhood Development Programme believes that the inner work of a teacher, teaching assistant and field worker is fundamental to good quality Early Childhood Development. As part of realising this belief, The Flower Valley Team is hosting regular teacher retreats in a natural setting with the aim to nurture the inner life of the early childhood practitioner.