Tag Archives: slow childhood

Keynote Speaker for Years of Wonder Conference!

It is such a great pleasure to let you know I will be the keynote speaker for The years of Wonder Conference April 23 -24, in Ann Arbor! Friday night’s talk will be Family Culture and The Role of Discipline. I like to say “Love’s other name is Discipline.” What greater way to offer Love to our children than to instill in them the discipline they will need to lead a successful and bountiful life?

Saturdays morning’s talk will be on Childhood Brain Development, and the Best Practices to foster this. The way I explain the brain development workshop is to say that behind every single recommendation in Heaven on Earth, there is solid research that supports the practices. Current research supports all of the good parenting practices that are tried and true: the physical and emotional well-being of the pregnant mother profoundly affects the baby’s in-utero brain development, each stage of development depends upon the strong functionality of the prior stage, so go slowly and don’t rush the child, nurse your baby, carry your baby on your body, the emotional balance of the mother (and the father)determine the emotional state of the child, make plenty of time for conversation, eat meals together, plenty of time to play, for art, for stories….all of these practices influence brain development.

If parents understand a very simplified version of the way the brain works, you can know how critical each of these “best practices” truly is. You also have a science-based reply to the extended family, or neighbors, or whom ever it might be that questions your parenting choices. When we choose to go a different route than the main stream it is helpful to defend one’s choices with hard science.

Saturday afternoon offers break-out sessions that augment the keynote addresses, with many hands-on experiences available to parents. This will be a great celebration of children and their families! For more info go to www.steinerschool.org or google Rudolf Steiner School Ann Arbor.

Let’s Talk About Play!

The Rose Garden has a Parent Evening coming up on Jan 27th, and we will be talking about the necessity of children’s play. Join us, if you can, or drop me a note with your thoughts! Here is an excerpt from Heaven on Earth

We say that children “learn by doing.” This is a common way of saying that the learning process is a miraculous orchestration and integration of the entire body, moving a million tiny interconnected particles toward the “gestalt” that is meaning. Children think through movement and play. In movement and play the brain goes through all the complex processes of growth and learning. The main avenue through which the child perceives the world is the realm of the senses. Through the natural sensory input of play, the child actively makes the world his own, rather than remaining a passive observer. Neurophysiologist Carla Hannaford, author of Smart Moves, says, “The richer our sensory environment, and the greater our freedom to explore it, the more intricate will be the patterns for learning, thought and creativity. . . . Our sensory experiences, both external and internal, shape our way of imaging and therefore, our thinking.” It is the life force through which the young child plays that will grow eventually into cognitive thought.

If we watch a young child at play, we can see that through her constant sensory/physical interaction with the environment, she gains experience and understanding of the situation, of herself, and the relationship between the two. She comes to know herself, the world, and what flows between.

Through sensory-rich play, the child gains a certain mastery over her body, and her world. She also begins to understand the inner world of emotional experience. It is critical that, through play, the different areas of the brain that control thought and emotion begin to communicate. “The frontal lobe,” Hannaford writes, “is able to synthesize thought with emotion through . . . the limbic system to give us compassion, reverence for life, unconditional love and all-important play.”