THE TEACHERS, whether in the classroom or homeschool.
are the cornerstones of the child’s education, Each teacher
stands before the children as an example of human potential, human
decency, and human striving. In the Enki approach, teachers are
committed to their own development and to deepening their insight
into themselves, their students, and the world.
In the elementary classroom, there are two core
teachers who stay with the class for several grades. These two teachers
work as a team, sometimes teaching together, sometimes separately.
In this way they provide the students with a model for working together
through the challenges and triumphs life presents. Both teachers
oversee the learning and development of all the students in their
class. They meet together frequently to share and discuss insights,
ideas, feedback, and concerns. This provides stability and security
for the child to open and develop naturally, in the context of a
deep and growing relationship.
In the homeschool, where
the stable relationship between parent and child is a given, it
is the “teaching-parent” who needs a place to share
and discuss questions and insights, ideas, and feedback, and find
much-needed adult support and community. To this end, we offer
discus-sion group, group and individual phone consultations,
and Home-schooling Conferences. These, in turn, help the homeschooled
child experience the community of adults working together.
In the middle school classroom, each class has
a new team of teachers who are joined by specialists, adding new
skills and variety to the stable and trustworthy environment established
by the class teachers. This combination of security and variety
offers students both safe ground and new challenge as they face
the roller coaster of pre-adolescence. In the high school, students
learn from the larger pool of teachers and mentors available in
their community. This happens both in the classroom setting and
out "in the field" during in-depth apprenticeships in
the local community.
We recognize that the content of the curriculum cannot be separated
from the way in which it is taught, and that the children's learning
is inseparable from the teacher's learning. Deep learning happens
only when the many aspects of each of us are working in harmony.
Therefore, the faculty in Enki schools is trained in the Enki
Education Teacher Training Program. Homeschooling parents are
encouraged to join in this training or to participate in one of
our Homeschooling Conferences. In this way, all teachers are trained
in the process of bringing about that harmony in themselves, in
the children, and in the classroom or home.
The child develops
through a series of distinct stages, like the metamorphosis of
caterpillar to chrysalis and then into butterfly. While each
child is clearly
a unique individual, growing at his own pace, we find that there
are certain developmental principles and themes common to a given
age group. The feisty autonomy of the "terrible twos" is one,
commonly recognized, expression of a developmental principle.
At each stage
the child experiences the world in a unique way. Throughout the
school years, the curriculum content and teaching methods are
chosen to mirror themes common to each stage. We find that by
these themes in our curriculum, each child has the opportunity
take from the material those parts which best nurture her.
In this way, whether she is studying
math, science, humanities, arts or foreign language, her own
and processes can enliven all her work. For example, the third
is awakening to a new interest in the world. She longs to experience
the unchangeable, unconditional realities of life. She is annoyed
by the lack of dependability she sees in the human world - particularly
the foibles of her parents and teachers. She turns her attention
to the natural world, to the wetness of water, the solidity of
the heat of fire, etc. To meet this keen interest, in the context
of studies of ancient cultures, third graders begin the study of
children's archery. Study of this discipline begins with a trip
to the woods where the students cut their own bows, precisely measured
to fit each child. Over a number of days, they take this hand-cut
bough through soaking, bending, sanding and stringing until it
ready for their personal "fire marking." At each step the children
work directly with the natural elements; their ability to do so
determines how their bows turn out. After a similar process to
arrows, the children learn to shoot. Drawing the bow and loosing
the arrow provides immediate and direct feedback from the world.
If you push the arrow it doesn't fly; if you pull too far, the
cracks; if you're not steady, firmly planted on the earth, you
cannot aim. There are no opinions here, it just is.
Just as the third grader longs to touch the natural world directly,
each stage of childhood has its particular characteristic longings.
When these are recognized and honored within the curriculum, the
child comes to see her own experience as part of the larger world,
part of the human journey. This strengthens and validates her experience,
making it possible for her to meet the challenges she encounters
and master learning to the fullest. When she is ready to move on
she can do so completely; her innate wisdom and confidence can