©2015 Peter Fritz Walter. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
— Chapter 1 : The Sane Child
‘Creative-C Learning’ presents a pre-school curriculum for a sane, holistic, brainsmart and systemliterate education of small children. The author’s educational approach is tailored to how our brain works and develops from ages 2 to 6. It’s a functional approach, not an idealistic one, based on the actual constitution of the human being, with all the complexity inherent in it.
The author contends that children are born sane and are rendered more or less insane by an educational system that till now considers the human being as the impossible human, that is, a creature that is basically faulty and has to be improved and upgraded by education, and morality. The present view opposes this age-old educational paradigm and shows that traditional education brings about fragmentation, ignorance and widespread violence.
The present curriculum emphasizes the natural integrity and wholeness of the small child, who is by nature a systems thinker. The curriculum builds upon this fact and presents a way to raise pre-schoolers in a learning environment that fosters systemic thinking capabilities, so that children become systemliterate at a young age.
The author also emphasizes the need for teaching emotional awareness to teachers and presents techniques to be applied in the vocational training for early child care workers and pre-school teachers that teach how to cope with stress, and that show the details of the trustbuilding process both between teachers and students and between parents and teachers.
The audience for this guide are all those involved in educating children, as well as educational policy makers, also parents, educational associations, politicians, pediatricians and child psychologists, and also the lay public, especially those who are looking for a new way to educate children now and in the future.
Creative-C Learning: The Innovative Kindergarten
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Chapter 1: The Sane Child
The present book is written for parents and educators with the purpose to show alternatives for behavior, for individual and cultural choices, and for a better education of our children.
I shall be asking what was first, the hen or the egg, the sane child or the insane adult? And it’s not difficult to intuit the answer. The sane child is the natural child; and as nature is infinitely rejuvenating herself over the generations, the sane child is as it were a recurring feature in the biological setup of human society.
And it is equally true that an ever new generation of sane children is perverted into an ever new generation of insane adults through institutionalized and standardized education that educates not along the lines of nature, but along the fault lines of culture, and of tradition. When nature is not bent in its bioenergetic essence, matter remains infinitely supple, and flexible.
Children who grow without a moralistic roof structure as a consciousness overlay move swiftly, and are agile, witty and competent. Their breath is fresh and perfumed, the breath of life.
The sane child is the child that has not been twisted into dualism, the cultural split between emotions, on one hand, and intellect, on the other. Life is a whole, a unity, and the natural child lives in that original undivided state of being, and not in the state of consume-trained innocence that is a signal for a mutilated emotional setup. Emotional balance is a state of inner peace, which is the natural result of emotional wholeness.
The sane educational approach is functional, not moralistic. The sane educator is able to maintain a healthy balance between emotions and intellect.
He or she will be an observer rather than a manager, a witness rather than a judge, a friend rather than a parent replacement. He accompanies the child, as a guide, as a tutor.
The vibrant natural child assumes characteristics that are rather contrary to what is generally considered to be normal in our days. This must be so because the standards set for the education of our children are not child-oriented, but industry-oriented. They serve consumer culture first of all, and the child, if ever, only in second instance; they are intended to serve technological progress and therefore are forged for bringing up the consumer child. As a result, the natural child sadly is blacklisted because by nature a bad consumer.
Natural children don’t need medication against hyperactivity, the cultural disease of the consumer child; they sleep in a trance-like state that is so deep that you can throw them in the air or carry them around on your shoulder, yet they won’t wake up. In addition, they heal themselves from most of their illnesses, and this without doctors and pharmaceuticals. Their body possesses a naturally strong immunitary response with the result that they do not catch all those diseases consumer children today are suffering from.
They are alert and witty, and agile. Their bodies are gracious and well-proportioned; they move swiftly instead of being clumsy and fat like consumer children. They are naturally respectful instead of constantly molesting others.
And they can be silent and non-obtrusive when they have to, instead of behaving like drunken princes or perverted freaks, the way, namely, most consumer children today behave.
Natural children live out the whole range of their emotions, including their sensuality, in a way that is naturally balanced. Our distorted and sexualized concept of love is unknown to natural children because it is schizoid and erects an unnatural residual view of life; such a notion of perceiving life is alien to the unfragmented mind of natural children. That is why we have to preserve the natural child, and thus, as a paradigmatic quest arising from that insight, safeguard our sane children from repression, corruption and indoctrination.
For natural children, the body plays a most important role in their self-expression, and primarily in sharing and expressing affection, love, and tenderness. To the natural child, it feels normal to be sensual as a code inherent in spontaneous self-expression.
But sensuality is not a conditioned response; it comes with birth, a natural outflow of sensation. More we sense, more we are alive, more we are sensual! That is why children are highly sensual by nature, and only by repression and denial coming on down in the black mask of education are they gradually rendered non-sensual, dull and alienated from their bodies.
Even as adults, we can experience the blessed condition called a child-like mood or innocence, which is actually a sacred state of being.
In moments when we feel truly excited and trust another human, we are in a state of sacred unity. It’s a religious state of mind, and the natural condition of the sane, non-conditioned child.
This state of mind must imperatively be preserved by education and not, as in traditional upbringing, be sacrificed to values such as discipline, rationality, toughness, or any other of the split concepts so typical for our deeply fragmented culture.
It is for this reason that I call integrated education a ‘love education’ and shall further down explicit the details of such a sane educational concept. It’s sane because it’s safeguarding and protecting the natural child by loving care, for preserving that blessed state of non-conditioned spontaneity and natural emotional intelligence that is the fruit of nature — and not of culture. Hence, love education abstains from conditioning the child according to social ideals that mutilate the natural integrity and wholeness of the newborn.
Institutional education does not serve the child, but the system; it does not recognize the existence of individual, and individually gifted children. For mass education, there is a quantity of humans to be educated, not a variety of unique individuals. This is why mass education is destructive and leads to devolution, not to evolution. It serves not cultural, but if ever, military needs. It destroys the full human in us. It suffocates sensitivity and sensuality, and wipes out individual differences by imposing certain behavior patterns, with the ultimate purpose of molding children into a standard pattern of thinking and acting that is socially approved and politically correct. It conditions good humans to become bad citizens and dull bureaucrats. It paralyzes the inborn self-thinker and replaces individual intelligence and brilliance by mass mediocrity.
The traditional patriarchal educational paradigm creates havoc in the child’s psyche by stressing performance and ruthless competition, thereby creating violence in relationships. It transforms the naturally self-thinking child into a conforming robot that fits like a wheel in a machinery of inhuman values that make up our mainstream cultural paradigm. Even in schools for children from well-to-do families, the child is often not respected as an integrated human, but reduced to a split-self that is conditioned to become a cunning career-hawk; by doing so, the unique soul qualities of the child are neglected or downplayed, if not shunned, and through the outright focus on left-brain, separative yang values, the more integrative and socially functional yin values are wiped under the carpet. This is how, virtually in the cradle and the crèche, hubris and violence are structurally programmed by modern society into our young generations.
A further result of this educational bias is that systemic, associative, creative and ecological thinking is mutilated and so-called rational, logical, strategic thinking is hypertrophied.
To focus on every individual child is only possible when, from the start, we have a qualitative and not a quantitative approach to education. The quality approach does not ask for efficiency, but for integrated solutions that serve every child in the community.
We cannot compartmentalize education or we bring about humans who suffer from a fragmented perception. Direct or unfragmented perception typically leads to peaceful interaction with others and the environment, and as such it fosters nonviolent behaviors.
Life education opposes moralistic education because morality-based education serves dominator culture, and not the child. Dogma-based education molds the child after the adult role model as a social ideal, and thus after the values valid for a majority. Such forms of education regularly disregard the true needs of the child or sacrifice them on the altar of mighty, idealized, parenthood. Carl Jung used to say that our psychiatric cabinets are filled with people who had ‘ideal parents.’ Bruno Bettelheim coined this truth into the dictum that parents should be ‘good enough’ instead of being perfect.
Moralistic education is contrary to intelligence for it breeds psychological fear and guilt which are barriers to self-knowledge. True intelligence is nourished by observing our psycho-emotional actions and reactions on a regular basis.
The adherence to morality or ideological positions hinders the birth of true intelligence because it blocks the dialogue with our desires and inner energies.
Education based upon ideologies leads to negative growth, absolute rigid positions, conformity, imitation and, in last resort, violence. For getting an idea of the emotional life of the child, we need to grasp what is intelligence.
Many people confuse intelligence with knowledge; they don’t see that accumulation of knowledge is purely mechanical and as such no indicator of intelligence. Intelligence is something entirely different from knowledge. It is not mechanical, but a natural byproduct of emotional vivacity and wholeness: to grow sanely means to be rather intuitive. Children and geniuses have that in common that they are emotionally integrated.
Our rational mind only functions at full capacity when it is connected to our irrational mind so that intellectual/analytic and intuitive/synthetic thought synergistically interact with each other. In that case, the rational and the emotional part of us are well balanced and we experience a state of lasting inner peace.
Mainstream education makes a complex and difficult natural process easy by destroying it. It kills the child emotionally by invalidating the child’s right-brain capacities and resulting actions and, as a matter of fact, castrating the child emotionally at an early age. The world is populated with people who are emotionally dead.
Mainstream education reminds of a gardener who, because of lacking knowledge how to grow a certain plant, just roots it out. Junk child! Life education does not produce and does not need junk children as mainstream education does. Junk children are the reminder of civilization. That’s exactly what they do, then: they remind us of our incapacity to educate them properly.
By contrast, an integrative educational concept develops wholeness for all children by empathetically and holistically understanding children. The natural counterpart of wholeness is holistic thinking. Intelligence, sensitivity and understanding for the complex functions of life can only be developed if cognition is imbedded in the emotional life of the person and thus a result of wholeness, and not of fragmentation.
Cognitive capacities that are imbedded in emotional sanity can only grow on a basis of readiness, of emotional maturity. A child voluntarily accepts instruction in reading and writing once emotionally ready for it and not under any other circumstance. And here I speak about the individual maturity of a child, and not a standard concept, since there simply are no standards.
Education must logically proceed in a one-to-one relation and interaction between educator and child, for only then the uniqueness of the child can be validated. The emotional bond in this relation is of overwhelming importance.
Only love can be the bridge for the transmission of values. Group education therefore is an impossible quest. It seems to be more effective while truly it is much less since the child, in a group, is treated at a bottomline level and not according to their emotional and intellectual complexity. In addition, tactile stimulation is of high importance, especially for smaller children because it enhances the emotional flow and by doing so strengthens the child’s immunitary system.
In a time of manifold immunity-related diseases, we should begin to appreciate the preventive benefits of tactile stimulation and consider to incorporate child massage in our educational curricula.
— See, for example, Frederick Leboyer, Loving Hands (1977).
The integrative approach to education also stresses that education should be down-to-earth if it is to avoid an ‘ivory tower’ intellectualism as a result. In olden times this was called ‘education of the heart.’ You find it for example in the Islamic Sufi tradition or in the Japanese Zen tradition. It is also part of esoteric Christian teachings such as the mystical teaching of Master Eckhart in Germany.
This is being done through giving spirit to daily activities, and to fulfill them not as ordinary duties but enchanted duties which serve to bring order and sobriety not just to the environment, but to the beholder, the soul.
This does not mean that education should be a ‘religious’ one in the sense that it judges materialistic values in any way. Material values, in my view, should be embraced as all of life, material comfort, material safety, material possessions are not in the way when the spirit is pure, and an enslavement to material possessions will then not result. The art of life is not to reject anything but to integrate all of living, also technology, comfort, and possessions of all sorts.
Massage helps greatly here because it overcomes language barriers. What also helps in sometimes miraculous ways is truthful dialogue, the simple practice of putting words on feelings, emotions, and circumstances.
Until children have built a considerable amount of trust toward adults, it is very difficult to communicate loving feelings and acceptance to them verbally. It has to be done physically. When the body talks, no lies are possible. When you touch a child, how you touch will be decisive for your communication with the child!
Touch can be degrading, and it can be uplifting; tact and sensitivity are needed here, and also some knowledge about the etiology of the child’s particular hangup or emotional distortion — if there is any. With many hyperactive children, the basic problem is a mix of lacking touch and false and religiously tinted language. Hypocrisy as it is practiced still today in fundamentalist churches and sects, and social circles that are politically on the right wing really distorts children’s perception and deeply confuses their natural emotional balance.
But children from the opposite side of the political spectrum, the left-wing intelligentsia, are often not better off. Children who come from an atheist background and have overly intellectual parents who reason everything out without the slightest hint of an emotion, always emphasizing the logic and practicability of things, are starving emotionally and sensually. After all, human beings, when in growth, are first of all longing for sensation, and only thereafter, and when their sensual needs are fulfilled, do they agree for being initiated into logic and reason.
Language is not verbal. Verbal communication is a result of culture. Natural language, as Gregory Bateson (1904–1980) and other systems thinkers have shown, is touch, telepathy, and emotion. Bateson writes in Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972/2000) that when a kitten wants to communicate that it wants to drink milk, it says: ‘Dependency, dependency!’
Further, he writes that the cat talks in terms of patterns and contingencies of relationship, and from this talk it is up to us to take a deductive step, guessing that it is milk that the cat wants. You can a thousand times affirm you love a child, but the child will not really understand what you are talking about. The notion of ‘love’ has no meaning if the child has no context to put it into, and no experiences that by their contextual pattern convey to the child what love is all about. In addition, when you are negative in your thoughts and feelings about the child, while telling the child that you love him or her, the child will focus not on your words, but on your thoughts and your feelings.
You cannot lie to a child, while you may be able to lie to adults. When I say child, here, I mean a human until the age of six.
Modern society is child-centered in that it has developed a certain protectiveness which is, well understood, a concern for our own future. The modern concept of child protection is a direct result of this concern. But we must also see that such protectiveness may well serve as a pretext for control and terror, and less democracy for the generations to come.
Historically and psychologically, it can be seen that the hidden face of protectiveness is slavery. The rose-and-blue world of modern civilization babies represents the plastic shell in which they are incarcerated for their own good and the clean façade of a culture that has lost the sense of birth and death and, as such, of living. The ‘truth of childhood’ that child protectors tend to invoke authoritatively to justify their paranoid assumptions is in fact a very relative concept; among one hundred fifty cultures in a survey, ours showed to be one of the three most restrictive. Thus, seen from a global perspective, such kind of statements are not only relative: they are simply invalid as to their pretended universality!
Emotional abuse has been assessed by child psychologists as damaging for the child’s healthy emotional development because it entangles the child in a net of obligations, and brings about a submission of the child under the power of the tutelary adult for the exclusive gratification of the adult’s desire.
Emotional abuse is much more subtle and underlying as a pattern than other forms of child abuse that have been known for much longer. It is therefore not surprising that research on emotional abuse is relatively recent. And it’s so devastating because the child cannot see any valid argument to deny the symbiotoholic demands from the side of parents and educators because these demands are backed up by society that came to use children as sentimental pets in a wide range of areas, and as amuse-jesters and welcome pain-killers, sorrow sponges and night pillows.
A factor for trauma is the child’s guilt feelings that result from their (correct) intuition that the symbiotically demanding tutelary adult or educator suffer from some kind of emotional hangup or long-standing inner wound, and that, therefore, to reject persecutory attitudes would mean to put the finger on that wound.
Giving the child emotional autonomy clearly means to empower the child, but for many parents it means to have a huge slice of their own abusive parental power removed! And that’s why society does not move in that direction. Protectiveness serves consumer culture in that it ensures the child to be available as the cheapest and most willing cutie slave and dummy partner you can think of. While sane children are early independent, outgoing, responsible and self-reliant! They don’t cling to their parents, and thus grow naturally out from the maternal shell.
As parents, tutelary adults and educators, we have to practice non-interference in the child’s emotional and intimate life instead of perpetuating persecution and control.
Strangely, while people agree that persecution and control are undemocratic measures, many nonetheless practice them with their own children, unaware that in doing so they help perpetuate archaic and destructive forms of control that impede humanity from progressing into a new age of peace and enlightenment.
©2015 Peter Fritz Walter. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.