Natural Learning Relationships

What Guides Our Practices?

All of us at Inspired Explorations Learning Community believe in providing children with learning experiences that are meaningful, engaging and developmentally appropriate for each individual learner. We incorporate the knowledge of Natural Learning Relationships–whole child development into our daily best practices as educators. Natural Learning Relationships draws upon extensive child development research and brain research, particularly in the field of interpersonal neurobiology. Supported by Natural Learning Relationships students develop their ability to self-reflect. This builds confidence, creativity, compassion, and inquisitive minds.

Because we understand the various stages of development, our curriculum is based on the needs of how children organize the world around them. Listed below are the stages of development and the needs and nourishments the children need during each stage.

BodyBeing (0 through 7 year olds)

Organizing Principle: Rightful Place

Secondary Organizing Principle: Boundary Creation, Strength

Children in this stage need to feel safe and secure in their surroundings both physically and emotionally.

We provide the nourishments needed to fulfill this stage by providing a safe, warm and secure environment with firm boundaries. Our learning environment offers appropriate sensory based learning tools, and a space to explore alone and with others.

FeelingBeing (8 through 12 years old)

Organizing Principle: Trust

Secondary Organizing Principle: Reciprocal Cooperation

Children in this stage of development need trusting and trustworthy relationships with mentors. Trustworthy feeling mentors are people who are connected to their feelings and able to share those feelings openly and age appropriately. Throughout this stage of growth children are open to a new scope of feelings that begin to be experienced. We provide the nourishments needed to fulfill this stage and access to trust by providing caring, feeling relationships between mentors and learners. In addition we provide a learning environment that honors fairness, justice, concern, honesty, adventure and inspirational experiences.

IdealBeing Teens (13 through 18)

Organizing Principle: Autonomy, Self-governance

Secondary Organizing Principle: Identity Construction, Personal Power, Freedom

Teenagers in this stage of growth need sensitive respect, challenges in the realm of success, respect for their personal space and an opportunity to explore and express their ideals. We provide the nourishments needed to fulfill this stage by challenging the child’s thinking about important topics that are relevant and meaningful. We allow teenage students to explore various expressions of themselves and honor their diversity with a gentle sensitivity.

References:

Luvmour, J. (2011). Education and the consciousness of the developing child. ENCOUNTER: Education for meaning and social justice, 24(4), 15-23.

Luvmour, B. (2006). Optimal parenting: Using natural learning rhythms to nurture the whole child.

Boulder, CO: Sentient.

Luvmour, J., & Luvmour, B. (1993). Natural learning rhythms: How and when children learn. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts.

You can obtain more information about Natural Learning Relationships at Summa Institute.