Featured Guest Blogs
Paul and I are delighted to be offering this guest blog from Laura Walter, a workshop leader for Education Through Music (ETM). Laura, a dear friend and fellow advocate of learning through movement and play, first told me about ETM in 2003. Paul and I were delighted to discover in ETM like-minded thinkers and movers, focused on providing play and cross-lateral experiences (walking, skipping, hand-crossing) for self-actualizing learners within a community-building setting. We soon realized that this was the same program that author and educator Joseph Chilton Pearce had recommended that we look into. It turns out that Pearce had recommended the Brain Gym® work to the ETM group, as well, including both programs as experiences he favored for the developing child. We have since played many song games with our ETM friends, and highly commend this enlivening program. —Gail
I’ve always been fascinated by the working of the miraculous human brain. It wasn’t until 1995 that I became personally interested in how my brain works—when I learned I had a benign brain tumor on my pituitary gland. It was detected while it was still small, and so it never interfered with my vision or other faculties.
I have for many years cultivated a strong interest: that of seeing people self-empowered in their living and learning by gaining a better understanding of their own unique learning process and behavioral challenges. As an educator (one who assists another person in drawing out that person’s full potential), I enjoy helping people discover their own solutions to learning or special-needs difficulties. I see how the work we do together helps lighten the negative impact of stress or trauma by supporting self-regard and the development of creativity, communication, conflict resolution, self-assertiveness, and performance efficiency through nurturing education and client-centered counseling.
For a parent, being present with your child without any agenda, even for short periods of time, is essential to that child’s development as a happy, secure human being. For many parents of young children, this is more easily said than done —whether due to the demands of a job, or of running a household, or both. But there’s a simple practice for nourishing both ourselves and our children, one that doesn’t require special dexterity or a great deal of time, called Breema Bodywork®.
In a world seemingly obsessed with carefulness these days, one of the things I fear is getting lost is the joy of going barefoot, and along with it all the benefits. For little ones, getting and staying in touch with their feet is important. Here’s why . .
When children play, they inhabit the fertile world between actuality and possibility. They take something that is from their own fantasy (say, a trip to the moon) and combine it with something real in their environment (perhaps an empty cardboard box), and out of that encounter they create something new (like a “rocket ship”). This is the creative process. And the fact that kids diagnosed with ADHD hold on to this playfulness for a longer period of time than the average child should be regarded as a mark of strength, not disability.
With the school year underway, it’s time to think about helping our children be as successful as they can be. That includes resisting the temptation either to push children beyond their means so they fear never meeting up to expectations or to neglect staying involved so they feel unimportant. In other words, it means meeting your child where he is—be it deep in anxiety and school resistance or excited for new challenges.
Everywhere I travel in my work in teacher education, serious questions arise about how to motivate children to learn and inspire them to treat each other with respect, regard, and dignity. Increasingly, these questions reveal helplessness and near desperation on the part of adults stymied in their contact with children. Whether wealthy, of moderate means, or disadvantaged, it seems we have somehow become bewildered, even afraid, when our children exhibit uneven or inadequate effort and motivation as they present themselves for schooling. What is most worrisome is that we seem to have reached for the most disparate and desperate of solutions, making any national approach to solving the problem nearly out of reach.