Create freedom in the learning environment
A child has a deep longing to discover that the world is based on truth. Respect that longing.
In our attempt to help children grow into inspired adults, we wish them to carry the youthfulness of their souls and the wonders of childhood into their old age.
Rudolf Steiner once said: “The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility – these are the three forces which are the very nerve of education.” Children learn intuitively, perceiving subtle inner relationships by observing nature. Free creative play is an invaluable gift that children need to start properly relating to the outside world.
By exploring, experiencing and imitating the world of grown-ups through free play, children are given a chance to unconsciously learn and emotionally mature through their own games.
Too much of today’s learning is structured: children are directed, instructed and carefully followed at all times, so they do not have a chance to experience learning through unobstructed observation.
Children have deep devotion to life and this devotion is beautifully expressed through free play. Objects of play should be as simple as possible to allow the power of imagination to flourish. Perfect, expensive toys rob children of their ability to see beauty in a stone or a shell.
Freedom should be an integral ingredient of your child’s growth.
Take your child to play in a park. Try not to interfere in their activities. Let the child discover, explore and invent the objects of play.
Allow your child to cook, wash dishes, and take care of plants and animals. These activities are extremely interesting for a child because they can act as grown-ups.
Children need to feel our love at all times; our love gives them confidence that they are heard, that they are present, and that they matter. A warm, loving and gentle environment is absorbed unconsciously and it gives children a wonderful start to life.
Children perceive our emotions and map them, so if we are angry, they will be frightened or chaotic.
Children also learn beautifully when with other children. They learn not to scream, shout or hit, because other children at all times challenge their emotional make-up.
Play with your child. Invent stories for your child, and let your child invent stories for you.
Listen to your child. There is something they are trying to tell you with their screams.
Do not let your child get lost in the world of TV, computers or games, but let them explore nature instead.
Children first learn through experimenting. The fascinating world around them of flowers, animals and stones has so much to offer, so there is no need to rush their thinking process or development. Once the thinking starts, it should be treated as the most fascinating activity completely supported by the world of images and emotions.
Children love learning through rhymes; they love poetry, painting, story-telling, cooking and knitting. Their thinking capability beautifully develops supported by music, arts and sports.
The development of thoughts should go hand in hand with the development of feelings. From the age of seven to 14, our children are learning to have a beautiful capacity for feelings that will give them rich, soulful experiences, and they express a wonderful hunger for knowledge, for philosophia (love of wisdom). Love and wisdom are the two greatest gifts of mankind.
Children do not understand ‘no’ and they fight against this word with all their means. Try not to make ‘no’ a focus of your life. Use ‘no’ rarely, because children get satisfied with very little, but when you use the word ‘no’, you will have to mean it and stick to its force.
Be conscious of your words. If you lie to your child, the child will think lying is normal. Practise truthfulness from very early on.
Children’s imagination is a feeling force. Respect the world of images and avoid abstract and cold thoughts. Sarcasm can be a very hurtful and destructive force.
Use music, dance and painting as tools for inner expression.
Nataša Pantovic a researcher on self-development and higher states of consciousness.