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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. 

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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 a 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 DEVELOPMENTAL THREAD

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 addressing these themes in our curriculum, each child has the opportunity to 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 questions and processes can enliven all her work. For example, the third grader 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 earth, 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 is 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 make 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 bow 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 shine. 

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