Evolving from “Early Childhood Education” to Early Childhood Attachment and Outdoor Play

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Evolving from “Early Childhood Education” to Early Childhood Attachment and Outdoor Play

When education and the raising of children aligns with the rhythms and cycles of Mother Nature, then we will have woken up. Nothing rushed, nothing forced, just enough structure to allow for what wants to unfold to happen in its sweet soulful time, trusting and respecting due order, the higher agenda of the child, and that of Life. We are speaking of a complete reorganization of society’s principles and values, such that we return to living in nature, as nature itself. What we call “early childhood education” is only a recent phenomenon in Western culture. Prior to the last 100 years, children learned through the natural impulses of exploration and engaging with family and friends. Their education was often outside, self-directed through unstructured, unsupervised play, […]

Healing Your Inner Star Child and Liberating the Innocence and Power of Your Soul Star Essence

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Healing Your Inner Star Child and Liberating the Innocence and Power of Your Soul Star Essence

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos We are all children of God, the Universe, Christ, Buddha Consciousness, Brahman, whatever feels right to you. And each of us has what I call a soul star essence; for, we are, along with everything else, made of stardust! Hydrogen, nitrogen, your computer and clothes, everything is made from this magical and primordial Source! Knowing, embracing and shining our star nature is essential to our fulfillment, to realizing our soul purpose. And healing our inner star child is a big part of that.  Disconnection from divinity The root of all […]

The Therapeutic Power of Play to Heal Shame in Children

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The Therapeutic Power of Play to Heal Shame in Children

The nature of shame is to hide. It keeps pain hidden, the dark corners of our psyche concealed from the masses, too unbearable to share with others, too unbearable to be seen. Look at people with tremendous shame and their head tilts down, their eyes avert contact. Many even have a hard time looking straight into a camera. They must look away. The pain of shame and blame runs that deep.  Children are, of course, not immune to shame. Raised in abusive, neglectful, toxic environments, shame inevitably buries into their psychophysiology. Beliefs such as “I am wrong”, “I am bad”, “It’s my fault” are common amongst children who experience chronic failures in love; who grow up not feeling emotionally or physically safe; who come to […]

The Co-Arising of Play and Grief: How Empowered Choices Draw Out the Pains of Childhood

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The Co-Arising of Play and Grief: How Empowered Choices Draw Out the Pains of Childhood

It’s been said, and it’s certainly been true in my experience, that if you laugh long enough you’ll cry, and if you cry long enough you’ll laugh. Two sides of the same coin, these emotions are closely entangled. As participants connect to the joys of play in my playshops, it’s common for them to feel the stirrings of grief rising within. With each moment of exuberance and freedom reclaiming its rightful place in their body, it becomes harder to deny the despair from having lost their innocence decades ago; from forgoing beauty and wonderment to survive a challenging or unbearable childhood. Indeed, for many who delve deep into the wild fields of childlikeness, grief co-arises with newfound playfulness. Play draws it out from its sleepy […]

Banks of a Wild River

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Banks of a Wild River

In play, children remain in a fluid, flexible state. Moment by moment they open to greater, more creative versions of themselves. They touch and bloom the seed of potential in their heart. Children, in their mischief, imagination and spontaneous explorations, don’t try to become someone. They are someone already. They know this without knowing it. They feel the larger instinct of life pulsating through their veins, calling them to reach and spiral into infinite potential. Be sure in educating and parenting our most precious little ones, you do not shape this natural unfolding into what it doesn’t want to be. Instead, give it space to breathe, to run freely. Let any rules and structures you use be like banks of a wild river, guiding children […]

4 Reasons I Take Issue With Teaching Children Meditation in School

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4 Reasons I Take Issue With Teaching Children Meditation in School

I take issue with teaching children meditation in school, particularly when done without a wider view of the systemic causes for child dysregulation and a more thorough understanding of trauma. Yes, meditation has been proven to be effective with young ones. I know the research is there backing it up. But… Take a moment to consider the four points below, and ask yourself: What is the real issue at hand? What do children fundamentally need? And if we addressed the issues I lay out, while better meeting children’s core biological needs for love and safety, would we still need to teach meditation? Or wouldn’t the desired result of meditation—calm—arise more organically? 1. Anxious systems The problem is not the child, but rather the systems they are […]

What Adults Struggle to Make Room For Within They May Find “Too Much” in a Child

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What Adults Struggle to Make Room For Within They May Find “Too Much” in a Child

For adults disconnected from their power, a child’s unbounded, spirited nature can easily be “too much” – too much enthusiasm; too much spontaneity; too much imagination; too much anger; too much sadness. The greater the repression in the adult carried forward from childhood environmental failures, the more overwhelming an exuberant child can be. It takes a lot of playfulness in the heart of an adult to receive and encourage beaming amounts of playfulness in a child. It takes a soaring imagination in an adult to welcome a child’s imagination wishing to travel the galaxy. It takes much depth in feeling for an adult to safely empathize with the large emotions of a child. Indeed, what an adult struggles to make room for within s/he may […]

Put “Reality” Aside. Children Need You to Dream With Them and Dance In Their Wild World.

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Put “Reality” Aside. Children Need You to Dream With Them and Dance In Their Wild World.

“The magic, the wonder, the mystery and the innocence of a child’s heart are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world.” ~ Michael Jackson In one of my Remembering to Play playshops a father shared that his young son expressed interest in one day becoming an astronaut. “How did you respond?” I asked. The father replied, “By saying, ‘how are you going to do that?’” It wasn’t just about the words the father chose but the doubt and concern he reenacted in his tone, a tone his son would have felt. It’s very tempting and easy to jump to the How. For the inhibited, rational adult, forgetful of the child within, the logistics of the dream are far more alluring than the dream […]

The Wisdom of Giving Your Child a Sword to Play With Instead of a Gun

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The Wisdom of Giving Your Child a Sword to Play With Instead of a Gun

There is a great debate amongst the educators and parents I present to about children playing with guns. In fact, it may be the hottest of all debates (even more than whether to allow children to go up slides!). Does playing with guns support or hinder child development? More so, how might a child playing with guns today impact society tomorrow? As a boy, I remember happily playing with guns. Whether it was with my cork gun shooting cans in my backyard or playing war with plastic guns with my friends, I only have good memories. Gunplay was a means of using my imagination, connecting with others, and being in nature. Looking back now, however, I view those times from mature hindsight, with a depth […]

Much More Than Things, It’s YOU Children Want ~ Playing With Simple Moments of Joy and Connection

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Much More Than Things, It’s YOU Children Want ~ Playing With Simple Moments of Joy and Connection

I had the fortune to wander through a forest-nestled playground with a group of young children a few weeks ago. It was the beginning of Autumn here in Vancouver. The leaves were turning golden yellow and burnt orange, falling large and small from soaring maples. The idea was to take the kids to one of the most imaginative outdoor playgrounds in the city. Full of colorful slides, swings, bongo drums, climbing apparatuses, bouncy and spinny things, the playground did not fail to delight their curious eyes, exploring hands and climbing feet. After a while I suggested we change things up. There was another playground about a 10-minute (or 30-minute for little legs) walk away. I thought it would be nice to stroll along the winding […]