We’ve transferred the NLC blog to newlearningculture.com
Let’s stay in touch and co-create a more child-friendly world!
With love for children and the inner child in everyone,
Founder New Learning Culture
Master of roly-poly play, international teacher, O. Fred Donaldson, the creator of Original Play and author of “Playing by Heart: The Vision and Practice of Belonging” will teach how we can play with our children in the way they truly wish to be played with.
Play becomes a language of deep connection, love, and understanding.
You are invited to Fred’s transformative weekend workshop in Fairfax, CA.
PLEASE NOTE CHANGES IN LOCATION AND FEE:
Public talk: Friday eve August 8th 7:00pm- 9:00pm
Workshop: Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm and Sunday 12noon-3:00pm
Private location in Fairfax, CA 94930 – Please register for information
Please come dressed and prepared to be on the floor, and move freely and comfortably.
Children will be welcomed into the workshop for the last part of Sunday’s playshop.
Friday night only (drop-ins welcome / email firstname.lastname@example.org for address): suggested donation $20
Complete program: Friday night, Saturday and Sunday:
$185 reduced course fee $100
What is Original Play?
“Original Play”® seeks: to improve relationships between individuals and groups by replacing aggression and violence between people with kindness and love to make every child feel safe and loved.
“Original Play”®: presents an alternative to aggression and violence without the use of force, while maintaining self esteem for oneself as well as others. It provides choices of possible reactions to aggression, violence and fear without the need for revenge. It transforms deep-rooted negative habits and patterns of behaviour into new habits based on feelings of love, belonging and safety. It creates a safe space for the transformation of physical or verbal aggression.
“Original Play”® is a psychological and physiological process. It is a combination of cognitive, emotional and sensory-motor learning, which can only be understood and developed by practice.
“Original Play”® is free of competition, rivalry and feelings of winning or losing. It is a universal process, reaching beyond cultural, social or language boundaries. That is why it serves as the basis for interpersonal communication and cultural integration. It is a meeting place where we can feel that we belong to a group, without the social divisions.
Come join us for this unique opportunity to learn from O.Fred Donaldson!
CLICK TO REGISTER: http://www.newlearningculture.com/fred-donaldson.html
Or contact Carmen Gamper Carmen@NewLearningCulture.com
Summer vacation is here! Your kids maybe spending more time at home. Let them feel welcome by re-arranging some basic things around the house and creating a YES environment. Prepare play spaces intentionally to inspire your kids toward meaningful activities. Then, you can allow them to play freely within safe and healthy boundaries. Observe your kids lovingly, soon you will see that behind the sometimes cute and seemingly illogical activities, true learning processes are occurring. As you know, learning is not limited to school hours.
1) Prepare floor and table spaces for your kids to play, work or create without interruptions. Choose beautiful, comfortable, sunny spaces with cushions so that your kids LOVE to hang out there. A rug can define a play-space on the floor, so that the toys and learning materials don’t flood the whole room.
2) Prepare a shelf or drawer with basic art supplies for your kid’s independent use, meaning they don’t need to bother/ask you when they would like to start a small art project. Place paper in various sizes and colors, pencils, kid-proof scissors and glue, beautiful pictures for collages, colorful yarn. Use supplies you already own. “Waste material” like toilet paper rolls, egg boxes, and yogurt cups make great art supplies. To enhance creative work, you could add an extra table for art projects.
3) Move all breakable decor, such as vases and delicate china, from the lower shelves in the living room and place them out of reach on higher shelves so that you won’t need to worry that they will be broken. The lower shelves work perfectly for toys, books or art supplies.
4) Kids love role-playing. Prepare a “dress-up” space with colorful materials, jewelry and hats. You can help arrange puppets, stuffed animals, dolls and miniature landscapes with cars, trees and figurines. By imitating mom, dad, or others, children process emotions and situations they experience. By pretending to fly, dive or eat, their creative, imaginary world is activated, and kids explore the concept of symbols, which is the foundation of literacy and numeracy.
5) Have water and healthy snacks in easy access places, so your kids can eat and drink without having to ask for it. You can place a water pitcher and glasses and nicely cut fruit and vegetables on a table. Add a sponge and towel for cleaning up, so spills are not a big deal.
6) Your children need plenty of movement to maintain a healthy body. Inspect all outdoor spaces in your home and remove all potentially dangerous items — boards with nails, glass, unstable ladders, toxic chemicals, etc. Wander through your garden and find out if the tree is suitable for climbing, where little huts or fairy houses could be built, and where your kids could start gardening space to watch plants grow. If you don’t have an outdoor space at home, explore the nature trails and playgrounds in your area. (Go for a theme walk together, and find as many different leaves as you can. Then, look them up in a lexicon at home or take a trip to your local library.)
7) For teenagers: Help them find a “real-life” project, like planning the family’s vacation, painting a wall or repairing the fence. In adolescence it is essential to find meaningful ways to contribute to the family and to a larger social circle, like volunteering at a community garden or at the library.
Your home can be a creative playground for kids as well as a sanctuary for adults when spaces are effectively defined. Communicate with your kids patiently and state your boundaries friendly but firmly. Share your expectations and also listen to their wishes. Find compromises to fulfill as many needs as possible. By holding space for your kids to play freely and naturally, you can (re)experience the present-moment awareness and joyfulness of childhood together with them at home.
We are interested in learning more about your thoughts and experiences surrounding your child’s education.
PARENT SURVEY: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9MHXYHQ
This brief survey is anonymous and your answers will help us better understand your needs to refine the New Learning Culture offerings and courses to better serve you!
It will only take 3 minutes of your time.
Please complete this survey once per child.
We appreciate your participation.
PARENT SURVEY: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9MHXYHQ
With love and enthusiasm to better fulfill your family’s needs,
Carmen Gamper Founder New Learning Culture Consulting
and Mary Oscategui Founder International Maternity Institute
I just read a great book Mindful Discipline and it reaffirmed that there are healthy versions of discipline and self-discipline.
Here’s the link to Mindful Discipline on amazon:
Here are the four reasons why a loving and mindful discipline is important:
1. Discipline creates harmony in your home.
2. Discipline supports mental health and a sense of well-being.
3. Discipline helps kids function well and reach their full potential.
4. Discipline ultimately leads to the resolution of “behavioral problems.”
Harmony in your Home
We all want out home to be a place of rest: a place where we can enjoy some amount of quiet, flow with our projects, and sweet intimacy with each other. To do this, we need to create a certain amount of structure and habits of respectful and heartfelt interaction. When we focus on meeting our children’s needs first, they feel better, act out less, and become more capable of contributing to harmony in the home. Meeting your child’s needs is the basis of Mindful Discipline, and leads to more harmony in the home.
Mental Health and Well-Being
Your child’s overall health and experience of life depend on the development of her body and nervous system—and many factors go into that development. But the area of the brain that is perhaps most responsible for mental health and the experience of well-being is the middle regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). This area—often called the CEO of the brain—is responsible for the following 9 functions:
1. Bodily regulation
2. Emotional balance
3. Down-regulation of fear
4. Impulse control/response flexibility
5. Attuned communication
7. Ethical behavior
This list—created by Dr. Dan Siegel—is the basis for mental health and the experience of well-being and is optimally supported by the Mindful Discipline approach.
Optimal Functioning and Becoming Fully Ourselves
A disciplined mind and brain not only feels better, but functions better. Full brain development takes at least twenty-five years, and every step of the way the PFC supports our functioning in life. It is the basis for emotional and social intelligence, allows us to remain focused when under stress, and allows us to choose the most appropriate response given the needs of the situation. This is how we not only come to function well, but also how we become able to pursue our dreams and reach our full potential in life. Don’t we all want that for our children?
The Resolution of Behavioral Problems
And finally, one of our jobs as parents is to guide our children toward taking responsibility for greater and greater portions of the “work” of daily life as they mature. We all hope that one day they will be able to brush their own teeth, get along with each other, and do their homework without our having to badger them. The more we can turn the work of parenting over to them, the more we can relax into the joys of being a parent.
For these reasons (and more), we parents should find a way to incorporate a healthy and loving discipline into our homes. Mindful Discipline does a fantastic job at detailing what children need in order to grow up into emotionally intelligent, self-disciplined, and resilient beings who deeply appreciate their parents.
You can read the book’s introductory chapter here:
With gratitude to the authors, Dr. Chris White and Shauna Shapiro Phd.
Here’s a personal post I published as a guest blogger on Lynn Sheurell’s who is a creative catalyst and business consultant….Enjoy!
From Passion To Active Compassion To Vocation
Whenever you feel deeply touched by an injustice you hear about, you may be a step closer to your calling. Take a newspaper and read the headlines and notice which ones make you crunch inside the most. Is it environmental abuse? Injustice done to the weaker ones, children, prisoners, patients, animals? Or is it economic disparity?
Pick your battle! But instead of or in addition to battling what is, consider putting all your passion and efforts into finding and supporting solutions. There is a reason why you feel affected by specific issues. It ruffles your feathers so you can get active and become part of the solution.
You can become part of the solution in many ways, and if you decide to commit fully to one of our problems that needs to be solved, be sure the magic support of the universe is on your side. That may sounds too fantastic, but it is true. Once you commit your strength to alleviating suffering in any way, the infinite force of evolution is on your side.
Now let me share my story with you. I was around twenty-five years old, and the issue that started touching me deeply was the abuse children experience at school. Having been at public school in Europe my whole life, I knew the issue by heart. I noticed I lost my joy of learning early on but luckily functioned well in the school system. Only during my Montessori teacher training that I concluded (after becoming a university-trained high school teacher) did I realize how much more joyful I could have been in my learning if I had been given a chance to be more self-directed. In addition, I realized that through all these school years, I didn’t learn any of the skills I now desperately needed: team work, non-violent communication, mediation, emotional processing, healthy nutrition, being connected to my inner guidance and the list goes on.
So I had found my “battle”. I researched more child-friendly education methods and discovered that a whole lot had already been tried. Through my years in some of the child-centered Wild-inspired schools in Europe, I developed the New Learning Culture approach – an approach that takes the most child-friendly elements from alternative education approaches and synthesizes them for teachers to learn how to provide child-directed learning environments.
On my path to becoming a consultant for child-directed learning, I was surprised with countless blessings. All my needs have always been met even during the times when my young business did not bring in enough to pay the rent. My family and friends reached out to support me during the times when I set up my course programs. I miraculously found a house with affordable rent. People were open to trading with me for my services when I did not have enough money to pay for their services. And this was validation for me to pursue my new passion.
By following my vocation, I experienced the help of many many people and each time I received a miraculous blessing, I knew it was the force of evolution itself that supported me. And it is still happening.
Obviously I don’t know if it will be the same way for you. But I do think the power of the pure heart devoted to finding a solution to the immense unnecessary suffering that is happening is irresistible! The additional intelligence you develop when stopping emotional drama and survival fear while dedicating your time and effort to a cause is going to help you manifest a livelihood. All surroundings are spontaneously compelled to support you because they know it’s reciprocal and they also support themselves and their own children by helping you.
Your passionate compassion turned vocation can change the world. If you’ve let anything stop you up until now, and don’t do something starting now, you’ll never know what might have been – and it is the people you could have helped that will suffer the most.
Lynn Scheurell – the wonderful owner of this blog can help with business questions. I met her over 5 years ago, when she offered me and a few inspired friends a special connection in order to give our business wings. We haven’t looked back since – thank you Lynn!!!
About the Author
Carmen Gamper is founder of New Learning Culture Consulting and passionately serves as an international advocate and consultant for innovative child-centered education. She combines elements from Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia education, as well as the new sciences of epigenetics and neuro-cardiology. Carmen is part of a new European wave of “enhanced” Montessori teachers who are inspired by Rebeca Wild, Claus-Dieter Kaul, and Joseph Chilton Pearce. She co-created two K-8 private schools in Europe based on child-directed learning within healthy boundaries. http://www.NewLearningCulture.com
1. Make sure the environment is safe, and prepared for free play.
2. Give children a voice in daily life. For example, plan the course of a day together; choose clothing, food, and room arrangements together with a child.
3. Share information with children: where is the child at the moment, where are you going next, what can the child expect there.
4. Smile frequently at children.
5. Be predictable. Keep promises.
6. Show ways how children can express frustration safely, such as tearing up a newspaper, yelling into a pillow, or running in nature.
7. Help adults understand and communicate with children, and practice advocacy for children.
8. Don’t force a child to hug or kiss anyone.
9. Don’t talk to other adults about the child as if he or she wasn’t there.
10. Avoid taking things from a child’s hands without asking.
11. Avoid altering a child’s painting, drawing, or crafting work to “improve” it. Respect the child’s work as is.
~ BE SOMEONE WHO A CHILD CAN TRUST. ~
Art Work by Sybille Kramer http://sybilletezzelekramer.wordpress.com/
In honor of Maria Montessori’s birthday, on August 31, my dear friend Sybille Tezzele Kramer, artist and homeschooling mum, created a wonderful poster for her !
Sybille’s description of her work:
At the center of the poster, you see a learning companion or mother with some children of various ages. She plays with the Montessori bead frame, and the child in her arm loves to participate! Scattered on the table are some Montessori wood numerals – that seem to interest the cat – and a few bead bars.
Another child is busy with the square roots board, while observing what others are doing. The child left (my favorite child in this picture ) daydreaming and cuddles with the cat. On the right we see a girl who chose her own resting place, focusing on a book.
A green moon shines from top reminding me of the Montessori Grammar Box with its crescent green moon symbol for prepositions.
Opposite the sun radiates from the Montessori seasonal cycles material with the colorful icons for each month.
On top, a rainbow bridge connects a small town, symbol for the inner world, with a field of flowers, symbol for the outer world.
In the flower field there is a girl happily contemplating the hanging Montessori multiplication beads.
On top left, two children are exploring a large snail which stands for ” learning at one’s own pace ” look .
Right and left there is a butterfly and a bird, because in Montessori education, there is sufficient space to grow wings!
I dedicate the poster to all who continue to love the spirit and knowledge of Maria Montessori!
If you like the poster, you can copy it and show it on your blog, Twitter or Facebook! Let’s celebrate Maria Montessori’s special day in this way!
Check out my Art Diary!
THANK YOU SYBILLE !!!!!
This spring I had the honor and fun to give a few workshops at an Italian Public Montessori Middle School in Northern Italy. Together we found additional, effective ways to include more Montessori, child-directed elements into their current curriculum.
We introduced Peace Tables in each classroom to give students a proven structure to solve their problems peacefully. We brushed up the weekly classroom meetings with meaningful rituals to help create a space where “talking from the heart” is welcome. We introduced the native American talking stick, and fun beginning and ending circle rituals such as clapping rhythms and making silly faces!
I shared how to offer simple fun physical exercises that connect right and left brain, and help students think better and be more focused. I also shares Master Choa Kok Sui’s Superbrain Yoga, a powerful simple exercise that improves mental capacity and overall health.
Here’s what one of the teachers, Daniela Cappellano, said (translated from Italian):”The workshops were very interesting, most of all because I learned practical techniques that I can use to resolve conflicts, and others that help my students concentrate and use their own energies in efficient ways.”
So much gratitude for this meaningful project!
I look forward to offering more workshops next year!
When we are born, empathy is not part of our skill set.
We still float in an ocean of oneness and cannot yet distinguish between “you” and “me.” We feel in union with our mother and our environment. As young children, our capacity for empathy expands somewhat, but our worldview remains largely determined by our age-appropriate, child ego-centrism. In the early pre-school years, we tend to believe everyone feels exactly the same way we do. But each time we discover a person feels different than we do, we learn that each of us are separate individuals with unique feelings. As we grow up, we are meant to develop empathy, which is the ability to understand the feelings and perspectives of others.
Empathy is a crucial skill for living together peacefully, cultivating friendships, and working in teams. Through empathy, we willingly slow down to have someone else catch up, or stop our loud drumming because someone else’s ears are hurting. We take time to hear out our classmate and try to understand what she is saying before blurting out our opinion. With the capacity to understand others inner world of motivations, feelings, and perspectives, we can make better decisions as a group and reach our goals together.
We can help our children cultivate empathy.
When we say, “Look at the dog; it seems like he is hurting when you hit him,” we help our children focus on the inner feelings of others to help guide their behavior. In this way, we play an important role in helping support the development of empathy. But here is the good news: it is not all up to us. Mother nature supports children in naturally developing empathy while FREELY PLAYING WITH EACH OTHER. Their internal drive for ROLE PLAY and PRETEND PLAY lead them to playfully experience many different roles, naturally growing their capacity feel the internal world of another.
Children love pretending to be someone else.
They joyfully take on the roles of teacher, student, mother, father, child, storekeeper, hairdresser, doctor, baby, cat, horse, princess, king, pirate, fairy, unicorn. In short, all they “try on” what they see in their environments and hear in stories. By “playing out” different roles children naturally experience the archetypes of human life: the betrayer and the betrayed, the hater and the lover, the excluded one and the admired one, the taker and the giver, the powerful and the weak one, the leader and the follower, the enemy and the ally.
Through experiencing these different roles during play, children become intimate with the many nuanced movements of the human heart and psyche. The more they experience these nuances, the more empathic they become. HOWEVER, role play only teaches empathy when EACH CHILD FEELS SAFE during play AT ALL TIMES, and when each child knows, they can STOP THEIR GAME anytime they feel unsafe. This is part of our responsibility as adults caring for children.
LEARNING COMPANIONS are needed
to make sure that each child can chose her own role joyfully, and that each child’s boundaries are respected. Learning Companions know how and when to step in, stop or redirect children towards play therapy materials such as the sandbox. As Learning Companions, we walk the line between allowing joyful play to do the teaching, and stepping in when necessary to make sure the environment is safe and conducive for optimal learning.
Would you like to learn to use basic skills from non-directive play therapy to skillfully hold a safe space for their role play? Become a Learning Companions by taking The New Learning Culture Online Course