the Enki Approach
In the Enki approach, humanities forms the foundation of all we
do. Why? Because it is the human experience - whether in history
or science, music or mathematics - that speaks to us all. Making
this human connection not only fosters enthusiasm, it also leads
the children to see the world as a whole and find a compassionate
understanding for all that makes up their lives.
approach pervades even the more technical and abstract topics of
grammar and comprehension, math and science. For example, the first
grader might meet such concepts as odd and even through the story
of two princes who are forming an army to save their kingdom. Evan,
the even prince, makes sure that all soldiers have partners
to guard one another; Todd, the other, sees to it that there is
always a leader forging into new territory. In this way, the children
are not confused by abstract concepts but come to know
each character as someone they can identify with. In the process,
the underlying principles of odd and even are revealed - and remembered.
For seventh graders, the story of Nicolas Copernicus brings life
to their study of astronomy and allows them to touch the human brilliance
and courage crucial to scientific inquiry. One class, realizing
that Copernicus was seeing something different from all around him,
began to call out theories of their own. Suddenly, 12 year old Michael
said, If they all believed the sun went around the earth back
then, I wonder what we think now that isnt true? And
all sat for a moment in stunned silence, touching the world of Copernicus,
and the world of possibility and discovery.
all studies in this way the children not only gain a deep understanding
and appreciation for their work, they are also continually experiencing
the art of the language. The modern trend is to teach language arts
as an abstract technical skill, beginning with phonics, grammar,
and analytic comprehension. In the Enki approach, however, we believe
it is the art of the language which expresses the human experience
and is therefore the ground for all else.
From the earliest
days of nursery school and kindergarten, children are exposed to
high quality stories, poems, songs, and spoken language. Teaching
in this way brings potentially dry material to life, inspiring both
enthusiasm and comprehension, and a love of reading. A deep feeling
for the language is nurtured, and with it comes confidence in expression.
So, when out on a walk with the kindergartners after hearing Autumn
poetry, we are not surprised to find 5 year old Emma saying to herself,
Walking through the woods, the only sound I hear is the crackling
of dry leaves underfoot and the pitter patter of falling rain.
of language is connecting and communicating with one another. Therefore,
language arts and social studies are inseparable; how we say something
is how we bring it to life. Throughout the grades reading, writing,
speaking, and listening skills are an integral part of the social
studies curriculum. Other people, times, and cultures are brought
to life through storytelling, research, writing projects, poetry,
drama, and other art forms. This integrated approach cultivates
an intimate and thorough experience of a larger world, and lays
the foundation for a lifelong respect for other people and ways
of life. Dana, a sixth grader studying slavery, wrote, Captured
by our brothers, sold to ghost-faced men, bound and chained, we
were taken from Sunu rao, our homeland. Tears from above
hit cold floors. Words, stories, all flow in song. Talk of days
past, gone forever.
independent reading and their personal experience together with
what they have learned, students keep journals of their own stories.
The integration of the humanities with all other academic and artistic
studies builds a broad, deep, and lively base from which the students
can draw in their High School years and beyond. As one parent put
it, ...this approach integrates academics in a way we have
never known. Music becomes mathematics. Mathematics becomes art.
Spelling becomes literature. Sciences become creative writing. All
disciplines become one..