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First International Children’s conference, from the pedagogic group.
Barbara Rolsma - Netherlands

 

Clearing a space for the process.
First International Children’s conference, from the pedagogic group.

When I was invited to coordinate one of the groups at the conference I could not help feeling a little nervous at the prospect of the newness for me, of the task, however, I decided to trust my felt sense concerning the whole project, which told me that I "only" had to BE. This coincided with a theme of the conference " You know more than you think you know". I soon noticed that this attitude worked well; how my so-called inexperience faded into the background, and was replaced by a group oriented concern born out of experience in other spheres. It was to create an atmosphere of safety, international co-operation and joint responsibility, where each person’s qualities could be expressed. From here a fruitful co-operation with my two Hungarian colleagues was able to grow, and a sharing of responsibility proved to be most enriching.

Our group was made up of 12 people from 7 different nationalities, and many different occupations. There were people concerned with groups of babies, infants, primary-school children, teenagers and teaching young adults, a veritable spread of experience. Some were experienced focuses, whilst others had completed one basic course.

When we began working we learned that a group is made up of individuals but that it can operate as a group only when it’s members are appreciated individually. We found that collectively, child/inner child, or adult, and despite cultural differences, we were able to build up a deep respect and openness for each other, when we experienced ourselves being respected. Naturally this is an open door but it proved to be precisely this experience, which traveled from the inner self to the outside, and was an example of the hypothesis-process model as described by Ynse Stapert during a plenum, which worked so marvelously.

Our own certainties are not necessarily the certainties of another, and this was also clearly seen amongst our different nationalities. As adults, we cannot assume that a sureness we may feel will instill in a child the same feeling of trust. Everyone wants his.

Individual characteristics to be recognized and acknowledged. Our group was careful to create secure surroundings so that everyone could experience such acknowledgement, and provide optimum conditions for our focussing. We provided an example for ourselves of how a group’s process can flow, and from there we can make the link with our practical work with children, in whatever form it might take, and for whichever age group.

At the conclusion of the conference I can say that we progressed as one homogeneous group. We were able to go forward - from doubts, even fear, to security, from security to an openness towards each other, to making acquaintance with ourselves internally, to a focusing attitude externally, towards each other, towards children, so we can help children to listen to themselves.

 

What we noticed in our Hungarian-English pedagogy group

1. ON THE SUBJECT OF SECURITY AND SAFETY:

That attention to language difficulties was directed by connecting our ways of expression with our felt sense.
Grown ups can connect their inner child to their present consciousness by recognition of this inner child, being able to communicate with it, so this will not stand in the way of an open contact with children.
Always take the inner child seriously.
Listen to the felt-sense of yourself and to the felt-sense of the child, and take whatever comes seriously.
Classroom-focusing means giving attention to every individual child, whilst safety and security are developed by attentive listening, listening to what happens inside the child, the felt sense, and take seriously whatever comes.
Confusion in the child can be avoided by eye contact with the child and explaining what is required.
The trust/distrust divide can be avoided by addressing a child as a person.
When communication between people becomes difficult, open up and experience the trust that problems can be solved together.
Empathy comes out of an own felt sense.
By giving space to others and saying what you find important yourself, brings good teamwork.

2. ON THE SUBJECT OF RELATIONSHIP ADULT - CHILD:

You can guide children to go inside themselves with a story, which has importance for them, for example an elevator or mineshaft, or something else, depending on their culture.
Positive stimulation builds up trust and happiness.
Fulfilling emotional needs (e.g. sitting on a lap, cuddling) brings peace into a group.
Children like to use all their senses: hear, see, smell, taste, touch, move, and cuddle.
Trust can be built by recognizing, reflecting, and fulfil-ling their emotional needs.
Trust-building games help to create a safe atmosphere.
Trust-building games create a warm atmosphere between the group-members.
A trust building game can be: standing in a circle, one person in the middle, eyes closed, falls forwards, side-ways, and back-wards, while every one in the circle WILL CATCH that person and will carefully push her/him away again.
Children are the experts about their own feelings; they just need safe surroundings to let them come out.
Not only the words of children, but also the meanings behind them should be recognized by the adults. Shy children as well as extrovert children like stories and games of all sorts so long as they feel being recognized.
"To help", often means our own opinion being imposed upon the child.

3. ON THE SUBJECT OF SAFETY AND RELATIONS:

The teacher makes space for trust by recognizing/reflecting what the child says.
Non-verbal focusing and verbal focusing starts by listening in a focusing way.
Bringing focusing to other people is possible by taking yourself, that is your own felt sense, seriously.
By listening in a focusing way gives opportunities for the real person to come out and to break with old patterns.
Sharing responsibility also means telling each other when it is not right for you anymore.
..listen to that special place inside...., which has a story...

4. ADDITIONALLY:

TAKING SERIOUSLY WHATEVER IS INSIDE YOU AND ACKNOWLEDGE IT’S MEANING, IS ABOUT (e.g. imagine an elevator ride):

... remembering

... listening and noticing

... being respectful and silent

... stories that live inside our bodies

HOW CAN CHILDREN BE INVITED TO SHARE?

Examples to choose from are:

painting
drawing
drama
puppets
writing
clay
poetry
songs
mandala
taping (taperecorder)
telling the group

 

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