A simple question. No answer found.

cry tear

I felt like crying many times lately for I can’t find an answer to a question that really disturbs me. So this is somewhat a catharsis. Hope you understand.

I offer playgroups for early childhood in Castelar, Argentina.

More and more parents ask me:

“Why nobody else works the way you do?”

Do you know what I do? I follow Magda Gerber´s teachings.

I wait, wait and wait.

I trust every child.

I don´t interrupt a playing child.

I let them cry out their feelings in a safe environment.

I broadcast their social efforts to interact with each other.

I nurture children´s trust setting limits. Lots of firm, calm limits. As many as I can and as soon as possible without feeling emotionally involved.

Then I say “I wont let you hit, you can trust me”. I trust the child and the child trusts me. Eventually they hit. Most of the time they wont.They are so happy.

Parents are there and listen.

So they ask me:

“Why nobody else works like you do? What you do is healing and rewarding and it is so different from what we see at educational facilities. It really helps us and helps our children”.

I am pretty sure I am not an educational savior.

I am no genius.

I am no hero but zero: the less I do, the better it goes.

I am sure there are many people working the way I do.

But I guess is not enough.

So little children come to my playgroup after being expelled from kindergarten at the age of 4  for the mere reason of not being conformists. For not complying with an educational system that does not respond to their real developmental needs.

Little children have been told they are inadequate for being different. So they have to go to the psychologist. The psychologist sends them to my playgroup.

And do you know what happens?

They get better. Much, much better. Because they are accepted as they are. Because they are not told their own and unique way of being is inadequate.

Of course I have studied. Of course I am a professional.

But I am not special, I have no magic.

So my heart burns and my voice cries out a question I can find no answer yet:

Why? Why aren´t there more people working the way I do?

You don´t need much. Just a heart in your chest and a renewed vision in your mind.

10 thoughts on “A simple question. No answer found.

  1. Silvia Corvalan says:

    Todos estamos inmersos en el PLAN DIVINO… Soy feliz por los niños que llegan a jugar a ‘La Casa Naranja’ pues ese era el plan inicial. El Señor tiene otros planes para los demás niños. Seamos felices!

  2. Silvia Corvalan says:

    Todos estamos inmersos en el PLAN DIVINO. Aquellos que llegan hasta ‘La Casa Naranja’ son los destinados a interactuar contigo… Los otros no, así de simple y, ACEPTAR la voluntad de Dios forma parte de nuestro propio aprendizaje. Soy feliz por aquellos que han podido llegar a jugar con vos. Para los otros, El Señor tiene otros planes!
    ***
    We are all immersed in the Divine Plan. Those who come to ‘La Casa Naranja’ are intended to interact with you … The others don’t, that simple and acceptation of God’s will is part of our own learning. I’m happy for those who have the posibility to play with you. For the others, the Lord has other plans!

  3. ♥ ♥ ♥ You are not alone!! There are lots of us around the world all living from Madga’s teachings😀 Sometimes we also feel so alone but blogs like yours remind eachother that while we are physically far away we are all connected at heart! ♥ ♥ ♥ Much love to you from New Zealand😀

    • Lic. María Raiti says:

      Oh I know there are lots of us around the world!! Sometimes I feel it is a privilege to have come in touch with Magda Gerber´s “educaring” principles. I also realize heart and mind must be open to understand and practice her teachings. We, adults, must open up and transform our selves first to be able to respect children. How I wish a revolution like this in the educational field! Thank you so much for letting me know you are there! Much love to you too!

  4. Maitreyi says:

    Oh! Thank you so much! I just looked at your blog today and tried to just let the spirit I could feel in your writing be my guide. I haven’t even read through completely any of your posts. i just kept telling myself – respect, listen, look, stop yourself and acknowledge the child. Oh the calmness of my being, I have not felt so completely at peace with my little ones and myself in a long long while.

    • Lic. María Raiti says:

      What an amazing feeling… “oh! the calmness of my being”. I read your comment twice and cannot stop smiling yet. Thank you! Love, Fernanda

  5. Kate says:

    Hello! I absolutely love what you have written. Do you have any examples of how you “broadcast their social efforts to interact with each other”. I think this is the missing key for what I need to do with my daughter. But I’m a bit lost how to do it. Thanks so much for your time!

    • Lic. María Raiti says:

      Hi Kate, thank you for your kind words and for trusting me. How old is your girl?
      First of all, I would like to tell you it is much, MUCH easier for me to broadcast my little students than my own children. With my students I don´t suffer their struggles while learning about limits, about their own needs and their relationships with their friends. I see it completely as an educational and valuable process so I can broadcast their efforts without getting involved… not only using a neutral tone of voice forced by theories in my mind: my heart is calm and I talk to them from the heart. I share the story about how I learnt this here.
      Thinking about a few examples I can recall right now… For example, a 4 years old child who has difficulties at kindergarten to interact with peers comes to my playgroup. On his first day he was creating a beautiful landscape using blocks and animals on the floor. He looked at the other children sitting at the table and asked me:
      – Why aren´t they playing with me?
      I just broadcasted his question:
      – You are asking me why they are not playing with you.
      Then he looked at me and looked at them a few times. He was puzzled. Finally he told the children:
      – Why aren´t you coming to play with me?
      The kids looked at him, a few of them got up and came to share his game and he was SO satisfied.

      This happened all on it´s own. I did not suggest any solution. I just narrated to him his own question and that was enough for him to find a new way to interact with his peers on that occasion and there on.

      Another day this very same child wanted to play with a construction done by someone else (it was a racing track done balancing wood sticks and wood circles). This construction was not very stable and when he came wanting to play he somewhat disassembled the track (remember he is fully engaged in learning how to relate to peers). The other child was furious and started yelling.
      I said to the yelling child:
      – You constructed a racing track. B came to play here. Now the track is disassembled.
      – He broke it, scold him!, he said. I have noticed this kind of reaction is so typical in children attending kindergarten! When they only came to play with me they never make such a request because something like “scolding” never takes place so it is not in their universe of possibilities😉.
      – You say he broke it, you request me to scold him. You are upset, I can understand you.
      – Scold him!, he insisted yelling.
      – You want me to scold him. You are upset and I understand the way you feel. Take your time, it is ok.
      He looked at me (for the first time in the whole sequence):
      – He broke my racing track!, he said in a softer voice and started crying. He was still looking at me.
      – You say he broke your racing track, you are crying now. Would you like me to hold you while you cry?, and I offered my streched arms.
      He almost jumped into my arms and cried out his frustration, his anger, his not knowing how to deal with others when things don´t go the way he wants, he even maybe cried out his own fragility expressed in the instability of his contruction… who knows? Here and then I said:
      – You did not like what happened. You are crying now. I understand you. (when I say “I understand you”, I really mean it).
      After a while he was done, he moved and I knew he wanted to leave my arms so I let him go to continue playing as if absolutely nothing has ever happened… No! As if EVERYTHING has happened! He was really calm and able to enjoy his play again.
      (I instruct mom´s to validate feelings, not minimizing their experiences by saying: “come on, nothing happened”. This is a typical expression Spanish speaking parents use when they want to comfort children… but this invalidates the whole experience which really IS something for children).

      These intereactions I narrate here are between children age 4. If they are younger, depending on what is going on I change a bit the strategy.

      If I understand two children are struggling to gain better socialization skills pulling from the same toy for example, I get very close and broadcast what is going on (kind of: “you are having a difficult time, you are both holding the same car”) and at the same time I make sure they dont get hurt, so I intend to offer them a safe environment where to interact with eachother avoiding judgement (nothing like “be a good boy”, “that´s ugly”, “good job”) and avoiding requests that are inadequate for their developmental stage (“share the car with A”, “be reasonable, wait for your turn”).

      If I understand a child is in need to push limits, I reafirm the very same limit as many times as needed in a very heartfelt calm way (behold!, this is so tough for me as a mother… but as a teacher it is so simple for me!), using as few words as I can (this is a challenge for me!) and offering my own hand as a barrier between what is not allowed and them (or even interposing my whole body as a clear sign that I will not allow that particular action). What I love about showing my hand as a limit is the fact that it helps me to avoid taking control and becoming the main character in the story. The child is given the chance to star his own acceptance of the limit, my hand is there letting him/her know I mean what I say but it is left on them to accept. Most of the times this is enough and I love it because they gain a sense of satisfaction: “I have the power to accept that limit”. If they don´t accept it, then as soft as possible, I refrain them physically and broadcast, i.e. “you are sitting on the table, I don´t allow you to climb the table, I put you down”. And I do it, end of the story. Whenever possible I offer an option: “we don´t sit on the table, but we can sit on the stools”. If they get a fuss, if they go to the floor to cry, if they scream, again I validate the feeling and offer a safe comfort.

      Now! When it is my own child the one who is strugling, oh behold the Lord! It is soooooo much harder. I can bearly hear my children crying, I suffer, I feel guilt, I feel confused and lost, I pray and implore for guide… and I am not exagerating.
      That is why I dream of more teachers having the open mind and heart to apply free education ideals, such as the ones offered by Gerber, Pikler and other truly revolutionary educators. Because we mothers do really need help to raise our children in love and respect when the sorrounding society is so pungent and confussing, so demanding and stressful. Because we teachers have the enormous responsibility of accompanying families, supporting and caring for every single child in his human unfoldment. Who are we teachers to judge and pour prejudices?

      I hope this helps, much love, Fernanda

  6. Fran says:

    Es precioso lo que hacés y es tan relevante para la vida de estos niños y sus familias!!! Felicitaciones amigaaa!!!! Un abrazoteeeee, Fran

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