A child’s need to belong directly parallels an adult’s need for meaning. If we don’t give children access and warmth to the myriad ways they can belong successfully, they will surely seek their own ways of belonging, like a plant bending around obstacles and reaching for the sun.
Over the next couple of years, and as a part of honoring Alaya Preschool’s 40th anniversary (!), we will be exploring our Principles of Practice. These are 15 different expressions of what happens here at Alaya; they provide a direction and purpose to our work, and perhaps even to our lives altogether.
One of the virtues and powers of contemplative education as it is practiced at Alaya is the opportunity given to our teachers to use different methods and techniques based on their own merits–discerned from direct experience–rather than being limited to a particular ideology or plan. I am experiencing this firsthand with Montessori principles and techniques at Alaya as I help out in the Garuda classroom this year.
The rhythm of the day is the discipline in which the young child’s work is given some predictability. This rhythm allows the children and their teachers to relax within the forms of their day. A child’s experience throughout the day at Alaya arises out of the following forms and rhythms.
Genuine relationships are what inspires many parents to have their children here at Alaya, many teachers and staff to teach and work here, and is a guiding principle for many people. But what is it? What is the experience of being genuine? How is genuineness cultivated in ourselves and how is it taught, if it even can be taught?