Posted by: kraigkidd | November 16, 2010

Raising Your Children with Ideals in Mind, and Heart

 

What if you met your child 25 years from today?  Based on their actions and behavior so far, what type of person would they be?  What kind of role would they play in the circle of life?  What type of job would they hold?  More importantly, what is the WHY behind the type of job they have chosen?  Why do they do what they do?  Have they chosen their role in life because they feel confident and self-reliant?  Or, is it because they believe it is the card they were dealt?  Have they chosen their job because it is represents how they want to express themselves or because it was the expression of someone else?  Have they been prepared for their future and the decisions they are making in life?  Or has their upbringing been a random act of reactions based on the current skills that are in their sphere of influence today?

Most of us would probably read the questions above and say there is a right and wrong answer.  There truly is not!  However, there is probably a more assured path to aligning our parenting style with the decisions and actions we take to what we believe our purpose and intention is in their upbringing.  I would be pretty confident in saying that we all want our children to become healthy, caring individuals who are incredibly happy in their lives.  I’d also bet that many parents and guardians believe they are raising their children to become that; healthy, caring individuals who hopefully will be happy in their lives.  Perhaps you even have a vision for them of becoming a doctor or some other form of practitioner, maybe taking over the family business.  Or perhaps you envision your child having a different life than you had and making sure they do not encounter some of the difficulties you have been through.  I understand that all of these aspirations are born out of dreams you have for them and motivated out of your immense love for them.  So, let’s ask two questions that will help us to gain clarity on our intention and therefore our motive for how we are raising our children.

1)      Do you have vision for the type of person you want your child to become?

This question ‘Do you have a vision for the type of person’ is asked to help bring clarity in our thinking about the ‘way’ we are picturing what we want our child to become; to gain some clarity in our mind about what we are trying to co-create with our child.  If you chose a vision that describes the qualities of what you intend for your child to become – you have chosen a vision that will allow for a lot of flexibility in cooperation, partnering and making decisions for and with your child.  This approach for visioning would represent raising your child with ideals in mind.  Therefore the path you will have chosen allows for your child’s individuality, creativity and self-expression to manifest through the ideals you have inspired for them.  If you chose a more definitive vision, such as a doctor or tight-rope walker, you will have chosen a vision that is more limiting in the flexibility of your decision making and there for could significantly limit the amount of cooperation you will receive from your child in their upbringing – except for the time it is exactly what they want as well.  This limitation is not due to the fact that you don’t have ideals in mind, because you can.  Even the same ideals can exist in both scenarios.  However, the flexibility your child will have in bringing their own individuality and self-expression to the vision you hold for them will be so limited that the odds of creating the outcome you had hoped will be highly reduced.  It is likely the child’s motive will then change from co-creating common ideals with you to finding an avenue of self-expression that allows for their individuality to be heard.

See – Creating an Ideal-Based Vision at the end of this article.

The second question is asked to bring clarity to our hearts about the way we are going about it. 

2)      Are you basing ALL of the decisions you are making, as your child’s mentor, on that vision knowing each decision has an influence on the beliefs they are creating about themselves?

What are our behavior and our attitude with ourselves and with our children in the actions we take; especially as we make decisions.  Are the decisions you are making being driven out of an emotion that has something to say about the way it used to be for you such as, “my parents did it and I turned out ok,” or are you able to step back and make detached decisions that align with the vision you have created for your child?

In the early years, our children will have a set of experiences of which they will make decisions to form beliefs about themselves.  These beliefs will then become the roots of their core belief system in which they will base many of their own decisions for many years to come.  We do the same.  We base most of our own decisions out of beliefs we have established about ourselves.  The downfall is the belief was created out of the decision made on one pattern of experiences that many times has no relationship to the decision we are trying to make today.  So, the decision we make today ends up supporting the belief we created about our past experience instead of supporting the belief we say we are wanting to create for today, or the future.

This is where having a set of Ideals in Mind for our children helps us to guide and monitor the choices we are making as we raise them.  Putting ideals in place as our pathway gives us the opportunity to base decision-making on a current or future outcome.  When we have nothing to guide us to a new outcome the likelihood that we will react based on our own past experience becomes very high and also initiates the old family pattern.  As this occurs we are now working against the very thing we said we wanted to do differently.

Having a set of Ideals in Heart for our children helps us to monitor how we are doing with the choices we are making on a regular basis.  Children are remarkable at giving immediate feedback.    If children aren’t giving us their feedback with the words they are communicating it in their own behavior.  As we have ideals in place we now have a monitoring system for our conscious parenting abilities.  We can now observe that as our children make decisions we can see how well they are using the qualities we have been teaching them and what areas continue to need more work and improvement for them, and for ourselves.  Without such a system in place we can continue to blame any negative or undesirable outcome on our own past experience or the parenting style in which we were raised.  I believe one of the most challenging things about acquiring the ability to teach something to someone else is that in order to fully and truthfully teach it to them we must first experience and learn it for ourselves.  In those moments we learn what it takes to experience, communicate and integrate it into our own lives.  Only then have we found the ability to offer (teach) it to another; especially our children.  This is also why aligning our mind and heart is such a critical success factor in teaching ideals.  We can talk all we want about what values are and how to live them (which is a mental activity we need to know) but they must be brought into integrity through our actions and modeled in our behavior (which is an emotional activity that stems from our heart).

After getting the above two questions in place and as you begin to integrate them into your parenting style and your way of life there is now a most important step.  You must insure that all of the work you are putting forth with your children is being supported by making any necessary changes in your child and your families’ environments that do not reflect the ideals and values you are trying to uphold.  I like to refer to these environments as Spheres of Influence.  Anywhere that your child, and your family, spend significant or regular amounts of time have an influence on what they are learning.  

The first environment to look over is your child’s bedroom and then the rest of your home.  Does your child’s room and home reflect the values you are teaching them or are there contradictions in the message you are delivering to them?  Be sure to include not only sleeping and play areas but also the food you are serving, morning and bedtime rituals and the way the family spends time together.  Nothing will invalidate your work more quickly than to send a child mixed messages. 

The other environments I will refer to are not limited to your home but also typically include establishments such as schools, daycares, play facilities, park visits, etc. and also include people such as close family members, baby sitters, neighbors and other daycare providers.  Think of it like a clock.  If your child has 14 hours in their waking day and they spend 6 hours of that time with you they have 8 remaining hours in which they are being influenced by other s and their surroundings.  Are these 8 hours of time that is spent out of your sphere of influence being filled with the experiences and messages that support the ideals you are trying to mentor your child toward?  If not, you might want to consider what adjustments can be made to ensure your child is receiving a common message that supports the values you are teaching in all of their environments and significantly limiting any time that is not.  Some of these changes can take place over night and others take varying periods of time to change.   Some will be easy to adjust and others may have significant challenges to them.  All are worth tackling.

Take into consideration the journey you are taking is not always easy.  It is your work and it is your child’s work.  While it is often challenging, gain all of the support you can by sharing the values you are mentoring your child to and the expectations you have from those in your environments.  This is the most important job/role you will ever have to do.  When people or establishments don’t have what it takes to help you fulfill that vision, change it!  You wouldn’t keep a non-productive employee in a role at your business if they couldn’t do the job – why would you do it with your child?

I love the saying from someone who created many, many beautiful masterpieces of work and love ending this article with this quote:

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

~ Michelangelo ~

 

Creating an Ideal-Based Vision for your child:

1)      Find a period of time which can be accompanied by a soft piece of instrumental music.

2)      Spend some time dreaming about the TYPE of person you want your child to become?

  1. How do they go about living their life?
  2. How do they make decisions?
  3. What kinds of things do they think about?  Why?
  4. What is important as they decide how they want to contribute in life?

3)      After your visioning, journal your thoughts and any words, pictures or activities that come to mind.

4)      Put a favorite picture if your child in the center of a piece of paper/or card board.

5)      Write the Ideals (words) around your child’s picture like a mind map, decorating them if you chose.  Or, you may want to create a vision board by cutting out words or pictures that help remind you of the ideals want to teach them. 

6)      Put the picture somewhere you can see it every morning you wake – encouraging you to keep these ideals in mind as you co-create with your child each day.

Watch for more on this topic coming in a publication from PARENTAL WISDOM (www.parentalwisdom.com)

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The Guardian Program (Parental):  Children – no matter what age, what socio background, what environment they are brought up in look to their siblings, peers and adults around them to mimic and model the practical life, behavior and moral decisions they will make for themselves. Therefore, NWL views not only parents but grand-parents, sitters, extended family to include step-families, neighbors, teachers and others who spend significant amounts of time with children as those that will influence this practical, ethical and moral make-up of our children. For this, we have extended this view of it being a parent’s responsibility to raise their kids to it being the responsibility of the ‘village’ – the responsibility of all ‘guardians’ that interact and touch the lives of children daily. Given that children are influenced by the world around them, we recognize the need to develop a network of a common language and developmental techniques to align the environment for the child.

Redirecting Children’s Behavior:  Common Language; Common Learning Techniques

 In order to develop a network of common language and developmental techniques for the child’s environment the staff of New World Leadership Children’s Academy is trained and fully utilizes the learning discipline and techniques of Redirecting Children’s Behavior developed by Kathryn Kvols, Founder of the International Network of Children and Families (INCAF). Redirecting Children’s Behavior is strongly influenced by the work of Rudolf Dreikurs, MD., author of the highly acclaimed book “Children: The Challenge”.

The basic philosophy of this parenting / teaching technique observes that as children we are involved in experiences in life, and based on those experiences we make decisions about ourselves and others.  From these decisions we begin to create and form beliefs about ourselves and others that will become our guidebook for the decisions we make over many, many years to come. For this reason, the philosophy of Redirecting Children’s Behavior views ALL behavior as communication.  It does not see temper tantrums and fighting as a ‘bad child,’ but views the behavior as a child who has lost the ability to communicate their feelings and their needs.  As this is recognized children can replace fighting with negotiation and cooperation; children can resolve their own conflicts so they remain self-motivated, respectful and learn responsibility.

Through the use of the tools and techniques of Redirecting Children’s Behavior, children as young as toddlers learn: 

  • Responsibility and initiative for decision making and self-directed learning
  • Self-control and self-reliance enabling them to become self-sufficient and contribute to teams and family
  • Good decision making skills helping them to create empowering belief systems
  • To be in charge of how they are influenced empowering their resistance to peer pressure
  • Cooperation skills and how to develop successful attitudes

 And when you, as a parent/guardian, have a school that aligns the learning environments of your child at home and school through common language, common learning techniques and learning styles, you have now more than doubled the time and effort of what will influence the practical, ethical and moral make-up of your child.    

New World Leadership strongly recommends that all parents and influential guardians take the internationally renowned course, Redirecting Children’s Behavior.  The increase in two-career couples and single parenting has made parenting a greater challenge.  Parents want close, loving and empowering families.  Families should be a source of rejuvenation, fun and encouragement.  All Redirecting Children’s Behavior instructors are certified by the International Network for Children and Families (INCAF) which was founded over twenty years ago and taught in over ten countries worldwide.  INCAF is one of the only organizations that requires their instructors to maintain their certification through continuing education.

All New World Leadership staff are trained in the Redirecting Children’s Behavior techniques and redirecting discipline so that it may be fully utilized inside and out of the classroom environment, redirecting behavior through loving guidance instead of  punishment, as well as assist parents in implementing its tools as a daily practice.

Indigo Village Partnership

For our families and community, New World Leadership has partnered with Indigo Village in order to offer the Redirecting Children’s Behavior course.  Indigo Village is an internationally renowned organization, collaborating to empower people, families and partnerships.  They offer a variety of innovative and cutting-edge services and programs for families and individuals young and old.

To find course locations and scheduling information for Redirecting Children’s Behavior and register online visit the Indigo Village.

Posted by: kraigkidd | May 19, 2010

NWL Expands Spiritual Curriculum

New World Leadership is excited to welcome Jodi Komitor, Founder of Next Generation Yoga, to our team expanding the curriculum and services offered at the Academy.  Next Generation Yoga was founded in 1998 by Jodi Beth Komitor. A pioneer in the kids’ yoga movement. She created the first yoga studio (in the world) just for kids. Today, the media and yogis from around the world consider NGY and Jodi a leading authority on yoga with children. 

Jodi B Komitor MA, former special education teacher in the New York City school system and founder of Next Generation Yoga, is a pioneer in bringing yoga into the classroom. The philosophy of NGY is that optimal learning occurs when multiple learning styles are incorporated into teaching methods. She offers an interdisciplinary approach that combines movement, creative arts, visual and auditory stimulus and social interactions with yoga and education as the foundation.  This philosophy fully aligns with the concepts and teachings offered at New World Leadership Children’s Academy and broadens our spiritual curriculum.  Our two organizations are excited to be combining efforts to create a stimulating, enriching and long-lasting development experience for children and families to come. 

The mission of Next Generation Yoga: joyful, playful self-expression for children.  NGY believes that kids are natural yoginis because of their “in the moment” attitude, innate flexibility and unlimited potential for growth; that balanced lives begin with balanced children; and that through yoga, we can positively affect the health, well being and confidence of the next generation. NGY encourages children to use their whole bodies, minds and senses as we engage and educate their entire beings. We respect and encourage the developmental and individual needs of each child. Kids use their natural energy and enthusiasm to play, sing and imagine as they explore mindfulness, body awareness, health and Mother Earth.

Most importantly, we are all sharing the greatest lessons of life from the start: how to understand, express and love oneself, inside and out.

The NGY intention is that children enjoy these boundless benefits and always feel better after doing yoga:

· Develop strong, flexible, healthy growing bodies
· Increase concentration, balance and body awareness
· Receive the gift of confidence and self-esteem
· Spark creativity of ripe imaginations
· Cultivate a peaceful, relaxed state of body and mind
· Acquire much needed tools for stress management
· Have fun with anatomy, health and environmental awareness
· Encourage peer & social interaction
· Exercise self-reflection and tolerance toward others
· Inspire Yoga in other areas of life
· FUN, FUN, FUN!

NWL is thrilled to announce that Jodi will become part of our staff for the New World Leadership Children’s Academy 2010 Summer Program and lead the My ‘Lil Yogini workshops this season.  These workshops will be geared for children ages 3 – 8 years and will be offered the weeks of July 19th and August 2nd. 

 Registration is available by calling the NWL Admissions Office at 760.230.6655 or emailing Kraig@NewWorldLeadership.org  

Registrations are accepted on a first come, first served basis.  Space is limited.  To learn more about NWL’s Summer Line-up login to http://www.newworldleadership.org/children.html

 

Posted by: kraigkidd | April 9, 2010

Butterflies Are Free

I never imagined a lesson on the “4-Stages of a Butterfly” could turn into a story as this, but it has and I’m compelled to share it with you.  In February, New World Leadership Children’s Academy decided to include the story of “From Caterpillar to Butterfly,” a book Deborah Heiligman, from Let’s Read and Find Out Science.  The children became so enamored with the journey of the butterfly they began to color pictures of them and include them in art and drama lessons.  By the end of February one of the school teachers had ordered a butterfly house so the children could actually watch their journey.  They took such pride in building their home, marking the calendar of their stages and sharing their excitement with each other.  It was such a heart-warming experience to see the children’s care and joy grow daily for the caterpillars.

Unfortunately, the caterpillars took a little longer in each of their beginning stages and the children were not able to see them transform into butterflies prior to our dismissing for spring break. 

On Monday, March 29th, three days after the break had started approximately 18 butterflies had transformed from their chrysalis stage.  That day my daughter and I took the butterflies out onto the deck of the school near the lagoon to let them go.  The very first one to fly free, snapped us all back into a bit of reality showing us the cycle of life when a bird swooped down to catch the butterfly for lunch.  The others found such joy in taking their first flight, much like a new bird learning to fly, the wings still bit wet and needing to be strengthened.  The next day we let another dozen go, with the exception of one.  One butterfly did not want to leave the house.  My daughter put her on the tip of her own hand and tried several times to get her take flight.  But instead she continued to return to her landing on her clothing or the ground next to her.  After several attempts we both decided she wasn’t ready to go and brought her back inside.  The experience was the same the next day.

This day we decided that the butterfly wanted to stay with her and she was named, ‘Sara.’  We took Sara inside and instead of putting her back in the butterfly house we put her on a bouquet of flowers and so she could still fly through the house if she chose. 

Sara seldom moved from her bouquet and never chose to take her opportunities to leave and take flight in the world.  Instead, she chose to stay with my daughter frequently flying to lay on her clothing or letting her pick her up from the flowers on her finger tip, almost as a pet.  It was a remarkable relationship they were developing.

On Tuesday, April 6th we returned to school from spring break.  There was very little disappointment from the children knowing they were getting to go to the San Diego Wild Animal Park this week to see the Butterfly Exhibit. 

On Wednesday, April 7th, everyone’s excitement built as they continued with their lessons and coloring, reminding each other of their favorite colors for butterflies.  As school came to a close on Wednesday we all said goodbye excited to meet the next morning for our field trip.

On Thursday, April 8th, there was much excitement as our long awaited event arrived.  As we stepped into the Butterfly Exhibit we were all overcome with the beauty and majesty of this magical moment we were all in.  Although there were many adults and children alike amidst the exhibit, there was a reverence and a peacefulness that was present in this place.  There were magnificent blue and enormous brown and yellow butterflies.  There were small black and red, yellow and black stripped and so many other combinations to experience. 

What I recall most about this experience was the moment a large, brilliant blue butterfly landed on my leg – and then another on my shoulder.  The feeling of privilege was quite amazing.  I don’t know I’ve felt anything like this before.  It’s simply one of those things you don’t expect to happen every day.  As I experienced this privilege, I also observed the eagerness and anxiety from many around me to encounter the same experience.  I watched children run from one place to another hoping to land a butterfly; or to watch them standing as still as they could with their hand stretched out seeming to ask “pick me.”  The desire for this experience was profound.  And, my daughter was one of them frustrated this experience was not occurring for her today.

For a short time she had forgotten a very special series of days.  We had forgotten about her privilege with Sara.  Sara had flown to her, let her hold her, stayed with her for 10 whole days giving her the privilege day after day she had desired.  This type of butterfly only lives about two weeks and she had chosen to give her time to my daughter for this experience. 

When we woke up this morning before going to the butterfly exhibit, Sara had died. 

When we returned from the exhibit, we created a ceremony for Sara.  I have to tell you from my experience in the butterfly exhibit this day I was overwhelmed at the gift that Sara had given to my daughter.  You may say, “It was just a butterfly,” but I say, “It was a privilege.”  “It was a privilege to have learned this lesson from Sara.”  “Namaste!”

To see the magic that can come from such an experience as this, I encourage the movie “The Blue Butterfly.”

Posted by: kraigkidd | March 30, 2010

NWL Becomes Kids-For-Peace School Chapter

New World Leadership Children’s Academy is thrilled to share we have become one of Southern California’s newest Kids For Peace school chapters in Encinitas.  I remember vividly being introduced to Jill McManigal, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Kids For Peace with friend Danielle Gram, last summer when I arrived in Encinitas, CA to open the Children’s Academy.  As we shared our dreams and vision of our work I knew immediately it was a ‘hand in glove fit’ for the New World Leadership Children’s Academy to be a part of this amazing mission for Peace. 

Kids For Peace, operating now for several years, has a mission “to cultivate every child’s innate ability to foster peace through cross-cultural experiences and hands-on art, service and environmental projects.”  They are now operating through several chapters around the world to: 

  • Learn about other cultures,
  • Reach out to the children we learn about,
  • Be proactive about being peace-makers,
  • Be peace advocates,
  • To be involved in our communities,
  • To create peace through the arts, and
  • To believe in Peace.

As New World Leadership Children’s Academy was first being introduced to Kids For Peace we were able to quickly become involved in an effort to assist the children of Haiti in an event called, “Helping Haiti.”  A fund raiser had been organized by the store owner of Its A Luv Thing in Leucadia, CA to create peace packages for the children of Haiti.  This fundraiser created over $6,000 for the organization to put together individual canvas back-packs painted with the hand prints of Kids For Peace children.  They were then filled with school supplies and toiletries and contained a wooden pin heart inscribed with a sweet message of love.  There was a beautiful outpouring of help from the children of local chapters in Southern California.  New World Leadership was privileged to host the event at our preschool in Encinitas, CA and looks forward to hosting many more in the future.

In September, 2010, New World Leadership Children’s Academy will be one of the first schools to launch the Kids For Peace newly designed Peace Curriculum.  NWL will implement these new teachings into our 4-Cornerstones of Curriculum (Montessori Academics, Emotional Literacy, Sustainability and our Spiritual Approach) as we continue to integrate the Kids For Peace philosophy into our school’s activities over the next several months and host community gatherings.

To learn more about Kids For Peace and stay abreast of their activities around the world, login to www.KidsForPeaceUSA.org.   And to follow our new partnership with Kids For Peace stay tuned to the NWL Blog right here.  Peace!

Posted by: kraigkidd | January 26, 2010

Basic Elements of our Spiritual Approach

There exist many different strata of consciousness into which mankind “tunes” the mind. For instance, kindergarten children are all more or less interested in the activities presented to them by their peers, their teachers, their parents and guardians. In like manner, patriots tend to “tune in” to the consciousness of all patriotic inclinations – contemporary, as well as those which have achieved certain perfections of government in the past; scholars “tune in” to the consciousness of all teachers, past and present; people with humanitarian interests are brought together by their likeness of endeavor; architects, scientists, ministers, spiritual pioneers, – all are drawn by the magnetism of common interest to the strata where others, thinking and working along similar lines of constructive activity, draw their inspiration and impetus toward accomplishment.

This is equally true with Higher Realms of Light which are defined in various ways, according to the spiritual, religious, racial and personal development of the individual and collective groups seeking Truth.

Each life stream’s consciousness is like a cup and the vibrations which enter into his consciousness will have an affinity to the vibrations of his ‘own’ world. Therefore, the finer and more spiritual the consciousness of the “receiver”, the more perfect the reception of Truth into that consciousness, where it is either developed and given forth for the blessings of mankind or it remains a dream or vision unfulfilled.

By: Thomas Printz

New World Leadership Children’s Academy recognizes that these streams of intelligence are God-inspired ideas that are often brought to life through music and art, through writing or other expressions, through creating or building, or through some other invention to become a blessing to all mankind. These opportunities are the works of pioneers delving into the ‘spiritually unknown’ bringing their God-inspired idea into the activity that brings the idea into form.

Many studies have shown and even books noted that there are many ‘great ideas’ floating in the ethers of people who had the big idea; even an incredible passion for it and how it will serve the world. However, many of the ‘great ideas’ never come to fruition because they do not hold steadfast to the purity of the God-inspired idea. Personality, ego, greed – and many other heavy ‘instruments’ – begin to weigh down the high intentional vibration that originally came with the awe inspiring idea keeping the idea from ever reaching a rate of activity that will complete its formative creation.

The individual seeking guidance must use the God-given gift of discrimination to test the instruction, and the motive of the spiritual pioneer must remain pure as the activity of knowledge is formed in his wisdom; transmitting into the words that which will project the Truth of his Divine Activity.

This is why the NWL Children’s Academy has chosen to provide the tools and the environment to assist now today’s innovative thinkers and found the Montessori philosophy to be the perfect foundation for providing this environment.

Imagine the True potential of the child that will be fostered when their voice is heard from this perspective and imagine the Light that will be generated in the world when others become attracted to and stand in the path of the child that lives in this potential.

Maria Montessori said, “Evolution is not yet complete; God’s purpose has not yet been achieved, and the mission of human life is to give expression to the formative forces within us that are yearning to complete the cosmic plan. We are called to work in partnership with the Divine. This understanding of our existence places all our endeavors – our cultural, political, economic, and even our most personal strivings – in an entirely spiritual light.”

Posted by: kraigkidd | January 5, 2010

A Time of Spirit

It’s amazing how much can be learned when we slow down and take the time to create a learning environment out of the daily events of our practical lives.  In September of 2009 on the final day of the opening week activities for New World Leadership Children’s Academy, we held a Blessing of Peace with the children, families and friends of the academy at Swami’s Beach in Encinitas, California.  Here the children affirmed their respect of Mother Earth by offering flowers of their choice to the ocean.

This wasn’t an opportunity for us to pray for Peace as though it is something we receive after achieving something, but was an opportunity for us as individuals and community to come together as a state of peace within ourselves because it is our birth right as spiritual beings.  As we entered into prayer it might have been easy for someone to become attached to why we came together, or the way we led prayer or even perhaps the way we were conducting our ceremony based on our individual beliefs.  Instead, when the entire group moved to a higher place of purpose in their hearts, they found common ground as this ‘state of peace,’ thus there was no need for concern or conflict through the details of their activity.

This is where we find common ground in our Spiritual Development at the New World Leadership Children’s Academy.  Although there are several different religions and beliefs that are practiced in the family make-up of our school, we find there is a significant gift in this diversity as we all pray as peace for all things.   This virtue is so important to us that it was decided to make one of our core values Diversity As A Gift, which we define as the instance or condition of ‘Being the Gift.’  Through this value we embody the essence of Compassion, Hope, Resilience and Tolerance.

“Acknowledgement that humanity is both very similar and very different and developing an appreciation for both honors each person’s unique contribution to this world.”

This core value also enabled us to take full advantage of all there was to share and learn during this holiday season.  It began by having one of our preschool students and her mother provided the class with a lesson on the origin of Hanukkah and the purpose of the Menorah.  They played the Dreidel game and learned its joyous song.  The children took such delight in gathering together with their friends’ families to learn more about one of their peers.

In a similar manner the children learned of Christian beliefs through storytelling and crafts.  They joined with the children of the Village Gate Children’s Academy in Encinitas and made ornaments to ordain the fresh pine tree to represent Christmas.  There was coloring and caroling as they all celebrated the story of Jesus.  The lessons went on as we included discussions of Kwanza, the Winter Solstice and more.  My guess is the solstice brought special meaning to some this New Year’s Eve with the profound view of the Blue Moon and all of the added meaning it implied.  What an amazing sight the moon provided on such a special eve!

We were so much more enriched in the meaning of the season by slowing down and taking time to learn through each other instead of adhering to one particular view or perception.  We reached into our hearts for the supernatural peace that is always resident within us – the peace that is always ready to moderate every thought and emotion.  From this ‘place of peace’ we are all able to expand our hearts and see how much we mean to each other; not because of a belief, but because we invested time to learn more about another.  This insight of seeing deeper into each other (being ‘in sight’ of what is truly present) will connect us even more deeply in our relationships to one another as we see more through our similarities, instead of through the differences of our practical lives.

We closed our holiday season with a beautiful little chant learned earlier in the year.  It became a simple mantra of ours as we completed the journey of 2009.

Thank you for this day Spirit, thank you for this day.

Thank you for this day Spirit, thank you for this day.

This beautiful, this beautiful, this beautiful day;

This beautiful, this beautiful, this beautiful day.

Thank you for my friends Spirit, thank you for my friends.

Thank you for my friends Spirit, thank you for my friends.

My wonderful, my wonderful, my wonderful friends;

My wonderful, my wonderful, my wonderful friends.

~ From the Native American Church

excerpt from the song by Karen Druker ~

Posted by: kraigkidd | November 24, 2009

Our Guiding Principles for the Environment

Inherent in the Montessori approach to education is the “prepared environment” as an essential tool to promote the auto-education of the student. Also inherent within the Montessori philosophy is the idea that children should develop a “global vision” and an understanding that all things are connected and interrelated. Because of these ideas, we believe that our sustainable guidelines and integrated curriculum should direct our operating strategies and development in a way that students and facilitators can utilize the facilities and grounds as learning tools within an expanded learning environment. Our location must provide opportunities for us all to fall in love with the natural world, learn about Earth’s natural cycles, and gain an understanding of humanity’s relationship with Earth’s life and its inhabitants.

~ adopted from the Montessori School of Maui, Study on Guidelines of Sustainability

In the spring of 1996, a handful of people associated with Montessori School of Maui (MOMI) met to discuss developing an outdoor learning environment on the school’s campus.  After several meetings, the group decided to pursue the concept of a Living Classroom.  New World Leadership Children’s Academy has adopted this similar concept and is committed to the development of an Earth Education Program.  MOMI has graciously made their Guidelines for Sustainability available to all on their website (www.MOMI.org).

On Sustainability

In a broad sense sustainability is defined as the capacity to endure.  For humans it is the potential for long term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources.

New World Leadership found it important to secure a location that modeled in its construction the values we teach in the child’s development.  New World Leadership Children’s Academy utilizes these strategies to integrate the teachings of nature’s life cycles.  By providing an atmosphere that shares a love and respect for self and the environment and drawing correlation to the life that exists in nature we foster the beginning of teaching them the skills that will help them to create/sustain the environment in which they live.

Components of Curriculum

We feel that in order to understand sustainability (both from a teaching and learning perspective) the concept should gradually become part of our daily reality over the years.  We also believe that a ‘sustainability curriculum’ should not only unfold slowly, but it should also recognize the stages through which each child’s relationship with the natural world progresses.  Finally, we see that our sustainability curriculum – along with any other curriculum – is best when it is experience-based and internally-driven by the learner.

Our beliefs about how to best introduce sustainability to children is comprised through three core components: 1) consideration for the developmental stage through which children progress in the world around them, 2) the use of stories and 3) the use of emerging questions (inquiry).  So, in the primary classroom there is strong emphasis placed on the learning of love and respect for the environment through the teaching and use of empathy.

For more information on our approach to teach Sustainability, follow our blog site as we expand on these principles at:

New World Leadership Children’s Academy – Blog

For additional information on Guidelines for Sustainability and Sustainability Consulting see:

Montessori School of Maui (www.MOMI.org)

Eco-Life Consulting (www.EcoLifeConsulting.com)

 

Posted by: kraigkidd | November 17, 2009

It’s Never Too Early to Go Green

New World Leadership Children’s Academy is one of the very few schools in the nation to fully incorporate and embrace sustainability into the curriculum.  Recently, NBC San Diego featured NWL, highlighting the truly unique features of this school and it’s environment.  Click on the link below and enjoy!

NBC story – It’s Never Too Early to Go Green

Posted by: kraigkidd | October 19, 2009

New World Leadership (NWL) Children’s Academy Opening Weeks

We are thrilled to share that on Wednesday, September 9, 2009, New World Leadership Children’s Academy opened its doors as a 501(c) 3 non-profit in the private educational sector originating with a Primary classroom serving children ages 2 – 5 years of age.  On opening day, parents and children were invited to come and meet the staff of New World Leadership, introduce themselves to the environment and see/interact with the materials of the classroom.  Over the next two days, parents and children had the time to make their transitions at their own pace and in their own style.  The approach was incredibly effective and the children were amazing with their courage and ability to be self-reliant.  Watching a child step away from their mother or father for the first day of school and knowing they are entrusting themselves to your direction or care comes with an immense responsibility. We recognize that we are becoming a partner to the family that is entrusting us to become an extension of their family beliefs and values.

We closed the opening week’s activities on Friday evening, September 11th at Swami’s Beach in Encinitas, California during sunset for a Peace Blessing.  The children and their families brought flowers and threw them into the ocean as we offered a Prayer of Gratitude for our week.  And what a week of memories it was.

The following week we moved into our regularly scheduled days with drop off/pick up, scheduled activities/lessons and community lunches.  This week was filled with lessons around the NWL 4-Cornerstones of Montessori Academics, Emotional Literacy, Sustainability and Spiritual approach activities.  The children arrived and were introduced to their morning through an opening circle, engaged in their academic lessons of Mathematics, Language, Sensorial and Practical Life.  These lessons led to many others associated with learning about emotions, taking turns, leadership and followership.  Concepts about respect and taking care of our Earth and the environment in which live have been introduced.   The children have engaged in activities such as planting plants on the property and wondered why roly-poly bugs tickle when they walk on you.  They shared about what it felt like to be ‘left out’ versus included as they prepared snack together.  They had fights, and made up.  The children learned songs and how to sign them in American Sign Language (ASL).  They had conversations about God and what God meant to them; and who they call on for help and support.  Each day they closed with a prayer and a song.  We continue similar routines every day and focus on following the child, which brings curiosity, potential, new desires and the human spirit. The dream of the school has arrived!

In our next articles we will be continue our review of the Four Cornerstones and incorporating examples of each now that the school is open and the children are living the foundational principles and cornerstones of New World Leadership Children’s Academy.

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