MY APPROACH TO HOLISTIC EDUCATION
FOLLOW THE CHILD
There is a difference between following the interests and curiosity of the child and catering to a child. I believe that allowing a child to follow their own curiosity means that our role as adults is to support, follow, observe, cheer, and listen. Too often moments of discovery, learning, and experimentation are stolen by adults. However, I believe humans build understanding by doing things, not by having them done for them. In my work with families I aim to gracefully shift an experience back into the hands of the child.
DOING & FAILING
No matter how many times you read the assembly manual, you don’t understand its assembly until you actually build the thing. Creating-and sometimes failing-not only teaches kids how to understand materials and use tools, but allows them to own the entire experience which builds confidence in their ability to solve problems and figure things out on their own.
CULTIVATE AGENCY & AUTONOMY
Childhood is about discovery and development, but it’s also about seeking autonomy and being rewarded with a sense of agency. My philosophy in child development has always been that we are not raising children -- we are raising adults.
I create activities in which a child is given an opportunity to stretch by using skills slightly above their current ability and offer a safe landing zone when they struggle or fail.
NAVIGATING THE UNKNOWN
Life is full of unknowns and unexpected circumstances. Our ability to navigate them defines us, has an impact on those around us, and shapes the world we live in. I believe that helping children develop a deep confidence in their ability to traverse the unknown reduces anxiety, increases patience, and allows for adventure.
ADVENTURE & PLAY
Whether kids are pretending to die or fly, play is one of the ways children process their feelings, make sense of the world, and connect with others. As kids are becoming increasingly over-scheduled and entertained, unstructured play has become a rarity and may often need modeling. I believe that play and adventure means finding magic in the mundane and excitement in the uncertain. It’s my goal to both validate the act of playing as an adult and model how to turn anything into an adventure.
In order to both engage in the development of a child and illuminate their innate abilities, I scaffold in small amounts of danger—learning to jump off of a picnic table, using a chop saw, or making a fire to cook lunch. By introducing small doses of danger, kids develop the ability to assess risk.
We come into the world as curious creatures with an amazing ability to observe, engage, react, and process. This is how we build knowledge. As an educator, I aim to grow children into lifelong learners by emphasizing and validating a child’s need to uncover, take apart, touch, inquire, and ultimately understand their world.
We can go through anything with the right companion. I believe that companionship starts with trust, includes transparency, is balanced with silliness, and has a mutual respect. In my work with families, I work to gain trust through active listening, showing genuine interest, playfulness, and advocating for the voice of the child.