In this day and age, when you hear the word "connected" or think about "being connected," you more than likely think about being connected online or to some kind of multi-media device. But if you are like me (a true technophobe—it stressed me out to create this blog), you will be relieved to know that I have no intention of going in that direction. Instead, what I'm referring to by "being connected" is that feeling of being a part of something bigger. I strongly feel that in order to prepare children for the future, we need to incorporate a philosophy that lets them know that there is an interrelatedness, and that everything is intimately connected with everything else.
In the early childhood industry, we talk a lot about educating the "whole" child and refer to the four developmental domains: physical, social/emotional, cognitive and communicative. I think we need to step it up and not only look at the body, emotions, and mind, but include soul and spirit as well. We need to somehow unite the ancient educational goal of self-knowledge with the modern-day goal of world knowledge.
I believe that every human being is essentially a spiritual being, or soul, who is born with a mind and body. I also believe that in order to help children realize their highest and true potential, we need to integrate these parts of human nature into the way we teach the children in our care. Miriam Mason Martineau, author and parent, raises the question, "Can we raise children that will not need to get over their childhoods?" I add to that question, “Can we raise children that will not need to get over their ‘school’ hood?”
If we can help children in our care follow and develop a conscious and dedicated focus, it will become possible for them to not only succeed in life but also function to the best of their abilities and to manifest their full potential. My goal then is to find ways to develop the whole child, to allow them to learn traditional academics in a way that respects their inner being so that they can develop a good sense of self, with inner strength and a deep sense of purpose, a relatedness to others, and the ability to problem solve. In other words, I want them to be tapped in, tuned in, and turned on (as Esther Hicks so eloquently states it). And then maybe they won't have to get over events that happened in their childhood.
It may sound like a tall order, but if we work together to educate teachers and parents, we can make it happen. Given this position, have you seen or participated in programs where this philosophy was implemented? How do you think we should proceed to make changes in the lessons we teach and the style of teaching we use? I welcome your ideas on how the early childhood community can offer this to children. Any suggested links would be greatly appreciated, too.