"I can tell you that it has been great having the Enki
graduates. Their cooperation as a group, overall general attitude
and positive outlook toward learning have been fantastic. What
stands out most strongly is their openness to and love of learning
- that is quite uncommon for children at this age. They also function
as a positive and supportive peer group. They were a strong enough
community to carry the five new children into this positive mood.
As one of their teachers put it, "They all seem to be friends
and there are no set patterns, even in their seating. On a daily
basis they flow to sit with different friends who could be male
or female. They do not seem to exclude anyone. I am thrilled
the opportunity to teach them. It is a special experience for
"I have spoken with all their teachers, and as far as the
academics go, they seem to be very well prepared. Individual
children excel or face challenges in particular areas, but as a group they
have a solid foundation in mathematics, and are particularly
strong in language arts and humanities. Their open curiosity and unjaded
view toward science has been very good. Their love of the arts
and music is palpable! Overall, they have been a delight."
Middle and High School Director
My son entered the Enki program after completing two difficult
and frustrating years in the public school. Within weeks of attending
the program, his anxiety disappeared. The slow, comforting approach
was just what he needed to feel good about himself as a learner.
He went from covering his head when reading time was announced
to raising his hand to be the first to read aloud to the class.
What an accomplishment.
What initially attracted me to the program
was the Developmental Immersion-Mastery approach the school
employed. The children
are introduced to topics through genre such as storytelling
and music which peaks their interest to want to learn more. This
desire to learn thus helps the child master the skills and
of that particular topic of study. My son went from a child
who covered his head and chewed his sleeves with anxiety to one
is eager to go to school, quick to volunteer, and eager to
- Second Grade Parent
"My child's particular class,
which began as a combined grade 1-3 class when the school
began, was special in many ways.
The teacher, the kids, and the pioneer spirit coalesced in a
magical way, in spite of the fears and concerns of parents
such as myself.
Most of the original grade 1-2 group moved together to grade
7. Many teachers there have commented on their inquisitiveness,
of mind, creativity, and sincerity."
"My daughter certainly thrived
in the program. Next door to her present homeroom is her
former teacher's grade 4-5 class,
and she often stops by. She has said to me several times lately,
'Mom, I didn't appreciate elementary school enough when I
there. It was the best that any school could be. When I go into
my old teacher's class now, it feels so good just to be there.
They are working on things together...' She and some of her
have been disappointed by some of the things they've found in
other schools--such as the cynicism in the school culture.
been disappointed by what I would summarize to be a general lack
of depth, cohesion, and sense of 'meaning' in the curriculum.
There is also a more-is-better emphasis in other schools,
than the focused learning found in the Enki program.
"When the school began I had many concerns. In retrospect,
some of these were more valid than others. Perhaps it was natural
to be slightly paranoid when enrolling my child in a start-up,
experimental school. But now, looking back, I am once again appreciating
her elementary schooling. Over the last number of years I have
looked into other schools and, with all this school's struggles
as a new school, I conclude that it is the only school in our
vicinity that holds meaning, connection, and basic harmony as
primary values. These values were successfully realized in my
daughter's class, and for that I am ever grateful".
Parent of a graduate and a second grader
My daughter came to the Enki program
as a child afraid of reading, afraid of voicing her questions,
in a nutshell, sadly, afraid
of learning. The teacher nurtured the spirit within my daughter,
celebrating her uniqueness, just as she has done with every child
in the class. With the teacher’s tenderness, excellent
teaching skills, and unending commitment to the well being of
the whole child, my daughter is now a happy, smiling, eager little
soul... Without her experience in the Enki program where she
became eager to learn and appreciative of all, I doubt that my
daughter would have emerged from the quiet, scared, broken-spirited
little girl she was just a few months ago, after completing the
- Parent of a first grader
"This program has had an inspirational
influence on my son, and the improvement in his school performance
has been wonderful!
In addition to my son's opinion that his teacher is 'the best
teacher I've ever had', specifically, she improved my son's
skills dramatically and has improved his math skills, thoroughly
grounding him in the fundamentals of math. She took a child
said, 'I hate math' and helped him become one who says to his
parents, 'Give me some math to do'. My son has especially
this artistic approach; it has opened many doors to learning
that had previously been closed to him."
Fourth grade parent
"My daughter had been strong
academically, and was among the top students in her class
in all subjects when she began.
She was learning piano and violin and doing well in both. However,
she had a stuttering problem, which was becoming increasingly
worse, and she was refusing to participate in class because
her fear of stuttering. She was cynical about school and bored.
She lacked confidence joy in learning. It was for all these
that I decided to move her into this program.
"By the time she graduated,
she had gained confidence and an appetite for learning. When
she began Junior High, if anyone
showed impatience with her slowness to answer a question, she
was able to simply state, 'I stutter'. Despite her stutter
gained enough confidence that she joined the drama club and received
widespread praise for her performance as the lion in a play
'The Love of Oz'. She is now fearless in expressing her opinions
in class and in personal conversations. She has a confident
positive approach towards science and math and is working above
grade level. Her grades in Middle School are high in all
"Her ability to organize her
thoughts in writing, while it is adequate for someone her
age, is one of her weaker areas.
My daughter commented at the end of Grade 6 that the children
who were in the program longer were 'better able to think'.
feels as though these children experience less struggle than
she does in organizing their thoughts. I believe that if
had been in the program for longer, she too would be better developed
in this area because of the way listening and writing skills
developed starting in Kindergarten."
Parent of a graduate
"This approach awakened a joy
of learning in our child. This extended through every discipline
from math to drama. It
is not clear whether this was exclusively the methodology or
was in part due to the teacher. What is clear is that this
integrated academics in a way we have never known. Music became
mathematics. Mathematics became art. Spelling became literature.
Science became creative writing. All disciplines became one.
incorporated fun with learning.
Beyond academics, the teacher gave our daughter the setting to
gain confidence in herself. Her growth in this area was tremendous.
The teacher helped her to recognize her strengths and weaknesses
and turn both into opportunities."
Fifth grade parent
"No one could have been happier than
I was with my son's years of growing and learning in this
program. I asked my son
why he thought his teacher was so great. "She can do it
all. She can teach art and music; she can teach math and science;
can teach English and humanities she can teach everything and
she really teaches!"
My son went on to explain that everything
that his teacher taught was connected. One of the images
that comes to mind for
me when thinking about this method of teaching is stir-frying.
The teacher takes all of the ingredients, carefully stirs
together, and in the end creates a culinary masterpiece. This
year my son has several teachers for different subjects.
that "everything sits by itself now." In other words,
the richness of the material and the learning is not being made
whole by kneading it together.
My son's teacher's ability to animate
her students and her classroom was a skill that I have never
seen before. For months
now, my son has said, "No one will ever teach like that again." It
amazes me to think that an eleven-year-old boy was so impressed
with his teacher that over halfway through a new school year,
he is still comparing his teachers to her.
Less than ten days ago, as we were
pulling into the parking lot at my son's current school,
he said to me that he had not
experienced any "ah ha's" this year. "The class
used to be full of "ah ha's," he said. "You're
going along, when suddenly everything you have been working on
comes together and makes sense." Because in the Enki approach,
the material was never taught at the surface, but each subject
was penetrated to its core, students came to understand, and
that in the end, it would all make sense. They knew they would
be required to think more deeply, to explorer further, and to
allow their thought process to be flexible and resilient. The
teacher expected as much from her students as she expected from
herself. This was a great deal. She was able to stretch her student's
abilities far beyond where any of them thought they could go,
and when the year ended, the confidence that her students had
in themselves was evident.
A final comment that my son made was that his teacher had worked
with the class in a way that turned it into a cohesive unit.
a chaperone that spent the weekend with this group hiking in
the New Hampshire White Mountains, I knew exactly what he meant.
students learned to respect each other and to respect the views
and opinions of others. There was no room in the class for rudeness.
They were taught a level of respect that went beyond classroom
Fifth grade parent
Whatever approach education takes, we are giving our children a
view of humanity, and a view of life, that will be their base for
life. We are always teaching the children, instilling in them or
awakening in them a particular view of humanity.
In the Enki approach we believe that there is an unconditional
brilliance at the heart of life, which is indestructible and is
inherent in everyone. Like the sun, it may be obscured by clouds
and storms, but it is always there for the finding. This commitment
to our natural wisdom shows itself in the approach to history, geography,
science, math, music and art. It shows itself in the integrated
way we approach all learning, and in the way both strengths and
weaknesses are seen as opportunities.
When children are able to find meaning
and recognize value in everything they meet they will automatically
have the respect and caring needed
to relate properly. This will render violent destructiveness unimaginable.
It is our experience that only through an integrated approach
we foster the connectedness and confidence that are the real antidotes
to the isolation, despair and aggression facing our children
With our first set of graduates entering the "real world",
we can see that it seems to be working very well.