Why are you called Enki?
What’s in a name? A name can be a reminder of where or who we are - Hill Street School, Montessori Education, or the like. It might remind us of our origins, like Waldorf Education. Or - as in our case - it may be a reminder of what the particular approach to education holds central. In choosing a name for this independent and unique education, we sought one that would remind us all of what is most essential: the teacher’s ability to meet and nurture the child wherever she may be. Even the best designed curriculum and the most inspired methodology are only as good as the teacher’s ability to do this.
With this in mind - and because all aspects of our curriculum are enlivened with storytelling - we turned to the oldest written stories to find a name that would be both independent and would bring forth the essence of our approach. We wanted a name that would call on the teacher, again and again, to support the children’s highest potential. We found just such a name in the oldest recorded myths of humankind, carved into the cuneiform tablets of ancient Sumer over 5000 years ago. Here we found Enki, an ancient symbol of flexible wisdom. His characteristics, we believe, capture the essence of what it is to educate.
These ancient myths come to us from the land where, surrounded by desert, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers make the earth rich and green. Here, Enki, the ruler of the waters, flows into every corner and crevice, changing his shape to explore each detail and provide whatever is needed. By his very nature, he reflects whatever he meets - lighting up the natural wisdom and vitality of all he comes upon.
Nothing is too foreboding, small, or dark for Enki. According to mythology, when Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, was trapped in the underworld, all the gods and goddesses turned from her. Only Enki sought to free her. He fashioned small creatures and sent them into the underworld, where they set Inanna free.
Like Enki, the teacher - whether at home or in the classroom - is challenged to continually perceive, nurture, and celebrate the brilliance and possibility in all the children. His challenge is to meet everything fully, whatever it may be. His commitment is to support every child and help her go as far as she can, whatever her particular strengths and challenges. Enki himself can serve as a model and a reminder of this approach to teaching and living.
What is so special about an Enki Education?
Whether using the classroom or
teachers work with a program which nurtures
the whole child - body, heart, and mind. As a result, children
love learning. They become confident about their ability to learn
and meet the world
joyfully. Our Experiential
education centers around a Developmental-Immersion
Mastery approach that we use truly makes a difference for
children. Why Enki? See
what parents have to say.
When and how did this approach begin?
In 1989 a group of parents and teachers requested that Beth Sutton,
M.Ed., develop teacher education programs, and begin working with
them to establish elementary
and homeschool curriculum and programs. In response Enki Education,
Inc. was born.
The first order of business was development of a Teacher
Training Program. In 1991 we began with workshops for parents
and teachers, which quickly grew into the Enki Teacher Training
Program. Now entering its fourteenth year, the program has served
many classroom teachers, homeschooling parents, and other interested
people. Students have come from across the United States and Canada,
and from Europe and Asia. Much of the program is done off site
through correspondence courses and independent study in order to
make it more accessible to adult learners with other family and
In 1993 the first group of Enki-trained teachers worked with Enki
Education, Inc. to open both an elementary school in Halifax, Nova
Scotia, and several Homeschool
programs. In 1998 a group of parents and teachers began working
to open a school in New Hampshire. Over the years our program and
curriculum materials have been used in preschools, home schools,
homeschooling cooperatives, and independent elementary and junior
Unfortunately, due to the current economic climate, both of our
independent elementary schools have had to close or substantially
restructure. However, we continue to work with individuals and
groups from across the US and Canada, and from Europe and Japan,
to use the Enki approach in homeschools
and to start independent schools. We continue to offer Homeschooling
Conferences, Workshops, and the Teacher
Training Program, and we hope that funding and charter opportunities
will become available and make it possible to open new schools in
the near future.
Enki Education, Inc. offers a wide variety of classroom
and homeschooling resources to assist parents and teachers in implementing this work
in homeschool and classroom programs. These include Homeschool
and Classroom Teaching Guides, Grade Level Resource Libraries,
CD’s, DVD’s, and articles.
Over the last fourteen years much hard work and dedication from
many has gone into birthing this program. Today we are beginning
to see results. On statewide tests 80% of 6th graders in an Enki
classroom scored in the highest levels in both Math and Language
Arts, as compared with a statewide average of 23% in these highest
levels. Both homeschool and classroom teachers report great enthusiasm
and growth in the children they teach.
What can I expect of the teachers in an Enki Program?
In the elementary classroom, whenever possible, each class has
two core teachers who stay with the class for five years. Sometimes
they teach together and sometimes separately, but both always carry
the class. The teachers meet frequently to share and discuss insights,
ideas, and feedback, providing stability and security for the child,
as well as modeling the adult working relationship.
For the homeschool, where the stable relationship between parent
and child is a given, we offer a discussion group, group
and individual phone consultations, and Homeschooling Conferences.
These are designed to share and discuss questions and insights,
ideas and feedback, providing much needed adult support and community.
All classroom teachers train in The
Enki Teacher Training Program. The Program, now entering
its fourteenth year, is an advanced study program that trains
teachers over a two-year period in the Enki process of bringing
about harmony in themselves, in the children and in the classroom.
The Training Program is open to all who work with children, including
homeschooling parents and others who wish to deepen their understanding
of their children and their own roles as teachers. Most teachers
also hold traditional teaching credentials and a master's degree.
How early do you begin teaching a foreign language?
Using the Developmental-Immersion
Mastery Approach, foreign language is taught beginning in
kindergarten. In this approach we work with a three-fold
system: Immersion, Total Physical Response, and Living
Pictures.This multi-faceted approach is proving very successful;
we find all children respond naturally to commands after a
few months, and many begin using the foreign language on their
own within a year. We will soon be offering both French and
Spanish curriculum materials for homeschool and classroom programs.
What is the tuition cost?
We believe Enki Education will be enriching for all children and
we are committed to having a diverse socio-economic student body.
Therefore, we strive to make our program accessible to everyone
to the best of our ability. To this end, Enki schools have had
extensive scholarship programs or worked with a broad-based sliding
scale that begins with a competitive tuition for their area and
is adjusted to meet each family's needs and abilities. As well,
we continue to work with state public school systems to bring our
program into charter and new initiative schools, thus making it
available to all.
How do the graduates of the Enki Program fare?
Enki opened the doors of its first school in 1993; therefore, our sampling of graduates is small. Of these, over 85% have gone on to colleges or universities and have pursued studies in computer science, math, pre-med, visual arts, music, drama, and international relations.
“This program has always honored who my son IS and engaged him with a rich experience of studies, art, music and more. Study and focus, discipline and respect, humor and play were all interwoven. Now, in all his teenage glory, he is full of self-confidence and wants to embrace so much the world has to offer.”
– parent of an Enki graduate
and a 1st grader
On statewide tests, 80% of 6th graders in one Enki classroom scored
in the highest levels in both Math and Language Arts, as compared
with a statewide average of only 23%.