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Our 7 Core Values at the Nature Family School formerly Spiel und Spass Academy-SUSA:
1) Connection through Nature
“Nature : that out of which we are born” (Goethe)
Our ecology curriculum connects core academics, art, creative movement, gymnastics, drama and music with fun and meaning. Engaged and happy children care deeply about our planet and themselves when taught early and with fun about our “nature”. Children then feel connected and passionate about our natural world and are highly capable and interested in learning for the rest of their lives.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [1749-1832 AD, Germany], our Director Karin Kachler is his 3rd cousin in 9th generation, although considered the greatest German literary figure of the modern era, is also well known for his keen observations of nature. He was a true Nature Philosopher (nature scientist) contributing important scientific treatises in anatomy, plant science, and color theory. Although not fully recognized in his time, some of the great modern scientific minds, among them Einstein and Planck, have expressed enthusiastic respect and even approval of Goethe’s contributions. Goethe believes, that nature is not hostile to us, because, whatever it is, we, through our capacity for experience, ultimately derive from it too. It is this harmonic view that we teach our children.
2) Speaking Multiple Languages, Open Mindedness
Young children learn a new language quickly in an environment they love. They feel excited to speak the new language, even if that language is not spoken at home. We have about 50% of non-German speaking families in our school. Many of our students loved German so much after they attended our school that they enter into the free public German Immersion Elementary School in Glendale when they were 5 years old.
Multiple languages enhance the child’s brain executive decision making ability with higher speed and creativity. Children who learn additional languages early also learn other languages much easier later on in life. Speaking multiple languages opens a persons mind, accepts other cultures much easier, is fun and very useful, as it opens opportunities to interact with others, equipping our future adults to become true world citizens.
Many Germans are very appreciated the world over for their work ethic, product quality and engineering skills, and compete in the top sections of every area of the world economy.
At the Nature Family School we provide a connection to the German culture through traditional and non-traditional songs, art, games and stories. Modern Germans are very adept to living in a globally connected world with appreciation of different cultures. Goethe spoke seven languages fluently and believed that people should always be seen as individuals, not nations.
3) Organic Vegetarian Food included
The children’s developing brains are protected through pesticide free nutrition, prepared and cooked daily at our school by our Director and staff. Children love to explore new tastes and textures, because they are delivered in a optically tasteful way. We incorporate herbs, vegetables and fruit from our school garden, which makes the children and their parents very happy. The children bring one different organic food item to their potluck table every day.
4) Secure Attachment – Neuroscience Based
The children’s learning ability and self-regulation, confidence, and sense of self in the world are all developed in their first 5 years of life, peaking in the first 1000 days, including in utero experiences.
Daily experience of warm attachment and supportive relationships, good nutrition, and neuro-developmental exercises plus sun light are critical to optimal brain development of every child.
We offer Bilingual and German parenting+playgroups Spielgruppe for pregnant mothers to 24 months old toddlers to gently educate the whole family about human development, the importance of secure attachments and sensory integration among a host of useful family knowledge.
5) Learning With All Senses – The Whole Brain Child – “making a good brain great”
At Nature Family School we daily immerse the children in an eclectic mix of the most well-known education philosophies, because each one of them has made immense contributions to the optimal development of the child’s brain. We support fun and free play based learning with and without interactions of a play mentor. We recognize that the RIE approach is essential for the child’s self-confidence and body competence, because it allows the child to master his world by him/herself with only minimal outside coaching. The playful, free imagination world and love for the rhythms and gifts of nature, we express through gratitude to Mami Erde, Tante Mond and Papa Sonne, as well as in arts and crafts, as celebrated in Waldorf. Our playful introduction to core academics and life skills appreciates the Montessori method of nurturing early organized thinking and learning through observing the mentor before practicing him/herself. Psycho-motor skills/P.E., creative movement and music education stem from modern neuro-scientific findings for optimal brain development through positive challenges of the senses. Open questions and following child inspired individual and group play like in the Reggio Emilia method are practiced at the Nature Family School every day wholeheartedly.
Goethe’s capacity for learning, appreciating and observing with all his senses was outstanding. He was famous and admired for his abilities to express what he felt with his senses by the best minds of his time.
6) Compassion – Strong Self-esteem, Confidence, Accepting Diversity
“If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children.” (Mahatma Ghandi)
Our current children are our future adult society. Our focus is on building connections to each other, ourselves and our environment. A child that feels connected learns easier and with more joy and confidence. Their creativity, social and emotional IQ, communication, and self-esteem is nurtured daily so that they grow up with the confidence that they will always find a way to solve a challenge. Connected children feel safe in their bodies, hearts and minds and therefore will have an excellent foundation to become successful adults.
A loving, caring, creative person is the result of a happy, educated mind and heart, regardless of a person’s culture, genetics, heritage or religious background.
It is our intent to educate the youngest in all their senses of the mind, heart and body, that these little future adults are able to sustain connected, compassionate communities for a more peaceful and just world.
7) Positively Involved Parenting
“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” (Goethe)
Our German preschool program provides an excellent foundation for your child’s life alongside your own affectionate, engaging, limit setting with empathy, connection based parenting. At the Nature Family School you will learn that empathy is not innate, but taught and a learned response. We work closely with parents and their children daily to support each other in our community.
The techniques of connection and empathy are taught at http://www.handinhandparenting.org and http://www.echoparenting.org and explained at Nature Family School in the parenting+play group, Spielgruppe.
The US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development concluded that at home parenting is the primary influence on children’s development.
From the PDF:
• Neuroscience (the scientific study of the nervous system) provides compelling evidence that early experiences impact on brain development, and can have a long-term effect on well-being (this includes physical and mental health, learning and behavior).
• The first three years are the period of the most rapid growth during which there are specific sensitive periods for optimal learning in particular areas. A large proportion of human brain development takes place after birth as a result of interactions with the environment – the impact of early experience has a greater influence on development than heredity.
• Early experiences either enhance or diminish innate potential, laying either a strong or a fragile platform on which all further development and learning of the person, the body and the mind is built. The longer children spend in adverse environments, the more pervasive and resistant to recovery are the effects.
Thank you for your interest.
We look forward to meeting your family!
Your NFS staff