“Whatever the question, Love is the answer” - Dr. Wayne Dyer
What is a ‘Pedagogy of Love’?
We don’t need to teach children love, they are the embodiment of love. They are the ones that teach us what love really is. A 'Pedagogy of Love' is teaching consciously, being reflective, mindful and always coming from a place of love and respect.
It is an authentic sense of love between the adult and the child built through trusting relationships, heart-centred connections and respectful partnerships. It is holistically nurturing the mind, body and spirit while allowing each child to be themselves and accepting them for who they are.
We often talk about holistic care and education for children and nurturing the whole child. Yet there is a primary focus on physical and intellectual development. Lets bring our focus back to emotional and spiritual growth.
How do we ensure our children thrive emotionally and spiritually?
- Firstly we must ensure that we are emotionally and spiritually balanced. You can not pour from an empty cup. If the adult is stressed and does not feel confident and supported in their role as an educator it will directly influence those around them. Self-care is extremely important. Practices such as breathing, meditation, progressive relaxation, grounding, mindfulness, and yoga are all valuable practices that can help us stay calm and centred. Ensuring (when you can) that you get plenty of quality sleep and taking some time to relax and unwind will help you maintain your inner peace.
- Create and maintain a soothing atmosphere. Take a moment to stop and look around. Are your surroundings calm? What can you see, and hear? How does your space make you feel? Sensory overload can be the cause of many problems. Children are extremely receptive to their environment. If the atmosphere is calm and relaxed it will help those within it be calm and relaxed as well. Choose colour schemes and items that sooth your soul; plants, candles natural resources and quiet music or nature sounds.
- Learn to let go and trust the child. As Maria Montesorri said “never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed”. Children are confident and capable, we must learn when to stand back and allow them the opportunity to master their own abilities.
- Each child is different and it is our responsibility to stop, be present and connect. We must understand, accept and nurture each child in the way that best suits them by consciously tuning in to the individual child’s needs. By being present and truly listening, the child will learn that you will always be there to support them.
- Give children space to be themselves and allow them freedom of choice. Show them that they are accepted and loved. Help the child to see that each person is perfect exactly as they are. We each have similarities, as well as differences and it is these differences that make us beautifully unique.
- Teach them how to tune into their feelings and emotions. It is important that children learn to recognise how they are feeling, acknowledge those feelings and then respond to them. It is ok to feel big emotions and these shouldn’t be suppressed. When they are sad, encourage them to cry, discuss how to release anger in healthy ways such as breathing, physical activities and creativity, and encourage an open dialogue.
- Lastly, be an advocate for the child. Show the children that you will support them and will defend their needs.
Learning and teaching is a dance. Let that dance be of love, peace, kindness, compassion, connection, empathy, and presence.