Excerpt from: “THE SACRED CHILD COMPANION, A Handbook for ‘Safe Self-Directed Learning’TM.”
Fulfilling children’s genuine needs such as time for play, healthy boundaries, spending time in nature, movement, following spontaneous interests, listening to inner guidance and intuition, being unconditionally loved by at least one person…, contributes greatly to health and happiness.
The more we fulfill children’s basic needs, the easier it is for them to learn.
Allowing Safe Self-Directed LearningTM is a tool to better fulfill adult’s and children’s basic needs in educational situations.
Some children and also adults get unhappy, aggressive or overly fearful and shy when their genuine needs are not fulfilled.
Here is a list of children’s basic genuine needs:
NEEDS ON A PHYSICAL LEVEL:
• The need to be in movement when learning
•The genuine need of love: receiving non-judging, non-sexual love in various according to each personality
● The need for free independent movement and play.
● The need for well-defined, clearly-communicated healthy boundaries.
● The need for rest: napping, staring, daydreaming.
● The need to honor personal instincts: Building and maintaining an authentic connection to the eating and sleeping instinct.
● The need to care for one’s own body: Learning to take care of one’s own body with increasing independence.
● The need to rely on one’s own judgment: Opportunity to observe and judge personal sensorial experiences: temperature, touching, tasting, hearing, observing & other sensorial instincts.
● The need to feel “home”: Feeling comfortable and cozy.
● The need for tension release: Crying, laughter, shaking, shouting, sighing, moving as tension release.
NEEDS ON THE EMOTIONAL LEVEL
● The need for love: Loving attention from an adult without a specific reason.
● The need to rely on personal judgment: Opportunities to discover personal likes and dislikes in order to learn to rely on personal impressions in relation to people and environment.
● The need for stability: Relying on the adult’s word. relying on set boundaries and promises.
● The need for emotional learning: Opportunities to make decisions within healthy boundaries and experience their consequences.
● The need to have personal possessions: e.g. a drawer, a shelf or a box with items. The child can decide what to do with those things all by him/herself.
● The need for dignity: Being taken seriously, never forgetting humor as a choice.
● The need of expressing the complete personality: Opportunities to express all emotions in safety, and being witnessed without being judged.
NEEDS ON A MENTAL LEVEL
● The need of learning: Making personal experiences with the environment: “Children learn when they interact with concrete things.” (Rebeca Wild).
● The need to follow natural personal learning rhythms; experiencing age-specific learning processes.
● Direct active experience, explore, take guesses, experiment, discover…
● The need to discover the “I” or “Self”: Making independent decisions within healthy boundaries, to be able to follow personal interests and discover personal talents.
● The need of finding personal solutions and explanations through age-specific wisdom without being manipulated or anticipated.
● The need to learn through trial and error.
● The need to express personal creativity without being judged, given credit or being reproached. Grades and involuntary competition before excellence is reached are counter-productive to the learning process.
● The need for contemplation: Having time & space for doing nothing in which sudden illuminations
NEEDS ON THE SPIRITUAL LEVEL
● The need to experience unconditional love: Accepting oneself unconditionally, which can occur much more easily when the child is loved unconditionally by at least ONE person.
● The need to follow one’s own path: Following one’s internal plan and one’s natural learning rhythms without interference.
● The need to be happy: Remaining in present-moment awareness.
● The need to change: Changing and re-inventing oneself.
● Taking increasing responsibility for personal development.
● Practicing the art of free will within healthy boundaries.
● The need to find one’s own truth: Believing in any kind of story, myth or human explanation of the mystery or in no story at all.
● The need to be honored as a human being: Not being objectified or “put in a box”. Awareness of the human mystery.
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