Education and the Consciousness Of the Developing Child

Education and the Consciousness Of the Developing Child

To educate a child well, we must first understand the very nature of the child, and realize that every child is a unique individual.
Holistic education is based on the notion that there is an active creative force within each person, and that this force has an intrinsic purpose and direction. (Ron Miller 2008)

As a developmentalism, consultant, and educator, we often see parents arrive in my office motivated by care and hope for something better in the education of their children. These parents know that something is not right in their child’s education, yet they have no idea of how to address it. Most know that top-down transmission education is inadequate. As one father said, “So much is missing from traditional education today. I don’t want my child to just pass tests in reading, writing, and arithmetic. I want something more.” Another parent said, “I want certain things for my son, I just don’t really know how to provide an education that will help him be who he was meant to BE … not be educated to the test.” Indeed, many parents have asked me about education that nurtures the child’s natural curiosity, that inspires a love of learning, and that nourishes the unique potentials of the whole child. They just don’t know how to find it or do it themselves. To educate a child well, we must first understand the very nature of the child, and realize that every child is a unique individual, not a part of a class or grouped with others in a grade level. Instead, we must come to know the child as a person. What is the child’s consciousness and how does the child’s consciousness influence learning? This question must be central to any educational process — and especially to the process of holistic educators. For how can we possibly educate the child without knowing how that particular child sees the world? The process of learning, the acquisition of knowledge, and the very nature of perception itself are intricately linked to our own consciousness, for the lens of the who affects what is seen, and it affects the interpretation of that which is seen. For example, to be nonjudgmental towards our students requires a nonjudgmental attitude toward ourselves (Rogers 1969). Thus, our own development influences what we perceive. This is true for every student, and it is equally true for every educator and parent. A child’s relationship with educators and parents is central to the child’s perception of self and world. Who we are, as adults, is also central to our ability to teach in relationship to the child, for all education depends upon the educator.

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