“All the great teachers of the past have drawn their action from non-action. From Christ upon the high mountain, to Lo Tung over his tea, down to us. And I can never see that those names are too big to be used side by side with today. The intention is the same – teaching”.
– Sylvia Ashton-Warner
At this time in history, urgently, we need to shift the paradigm in which we live. From the ground up – literally and figuratively – we must shift if we are to survive and to flourish. This must begin with education, otherwise we simply put on new clothing and race around the same hamster wheel. And this education has to begin with ourselves. That is the ground and the path of Enki Education.
In the myths of ancient Sumer, Enki is the god of the waters. He flows into every corner and crevice, changing his shape to explore every detail and provide whatever is needed. By his very nature he reflects all he meets – lighting up its natural wisdom and vitality.
Nothing is too foreboding, small, dark or dirty for Enki. It is said that when Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, hung trapped and lifeless in the underworld, all the gods and goddesses turned from her. Only Enki saw wisdom in her descent into the depths. From the dirt under his fingernails, he fashioned creatures and gave them the power of the waters. Sent into the underworld, they set Inanna free and returned her to life.
Like Enki, the teacher is challenged to continually perceive, nurture, and celebrate the brilliance and possibility in all her students and in all she teaches. Her challenge is to meet everything fully, whatever it may be.
The first thing we meet each and every day, moment to moment, is ourselves. As we enter the classroom we stand before the children as more than facilitator or director or instructor. We stand before the children as a examples of human potential, human decency, and human striving. Our example will impact the children more deeply and more permanently than any of the skills, information or experiences we provide. So it is here we begin, and here we hope to end, standing honestly with ourselves.
“When I began this program I thought I could play the recorder. I thought I could sing. I thought I could speak and walk. Here I’ve learned lessons through my body that I never thought I could know. This is not a surface program about how to be a teacher or a parent. It’s about how to be.”
Kristine, student 1995
What is our goal?
Our goal is to help each participant meet new parts of himself, bring his own wisdom and confusion to light and discover a way to work with children that expresses his personal vision and passion for life. The Teacher Training Program works intensively with the Enki curriculum and methodology and is required for those wishing to teach in Enki schools. However, whether a participant goes on to teach at all, or pursues Enki, Montessori, Integrated Day, Self-Design, Traditional, Waldorf or any other form of education is not important. What is important is that each participant find a deep personal connection to the approach heor she chooses.
In the course of the Enki Teacher Training Program participants will come to see how details of the physical environment, the curriculum, and the methods always express a particular perspective – whether we intend them to or not. Participants will learn how to choose curriculum content, balance particular activities, and set up classrooms and outdoor environments that express their personal vision in a harmonious, coherent learning environment.
We begin on this process in the Ecosystems of Education course, and take that learning ever deeper in the courses that follow.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
– T.S. Eliot
How do we do this?
Travelers: From the beginning, we ask participants to approach each phase of the training as though they were entering a foreign country. All around is a world of unfamiliar sights, sounds, colors, tastes and customs. It is a time to try new things, from sarongs to kilts and from calamari to the local stew pot – whatever it may hold. In this unfamiliar territory there will be many new and strange ideas and experiences. Even the familiar will be approached in new ways. We ask participants to lean in fully – suspending judgment and opinion, noticing but not acting on their resistance – until they have tasted all that is offered.
Later participants will have the opportunity to reflect on and critique their experiences. They will compare the new with the old, sometimes rejecting one or the other, sometimes weaving them together into new, whole cloth. But it all begins with openign to the new. In the end it is critical for the teacher to be able both to lean in fully without judgment and to step back and reflect objectively. Only then can she choose wisely.
Contemplative Education: Contemplation can be defined as the viewing of something for its own sake, giving complete attention or standing in rapture. This quality of attention is central to all we do in this program, be it arts, movement, study or community life.
The contemplative attitude that runs throughout this program is specifically cultivated through a non-sectarian mindfulness meditation practice. This particular practice has been used in many traditions throughout the world. By sitting still and bringing our attention to our breathing, mindfulness meditation brings us back, again and again, to the present moment. It is here we rediscover our simple humanity and natural appreciation for life. Like the child, we see things anew; we come to know each moment for the first time. This is the openness of the beginner’s mind. This practice does not preclude any other form of spiritual, religious, or psychological practice students may be pursuing on their own, but offers a simple and direct way we can come back to the present moment.
Does this mean our only concern is ourselves? No – quite the opposite. Contemplative practice provides a foundation for working genuinely with the issues of our time. We believe a global perspective must be based on viewing the peoples and cultures of the world for their own sake. An ecological one must grow from perceiving the earth for its own sake. And how can we possibly know the compassion of an ethical or religious view unless we look with open eyes, awake to the moment?
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki, Roshi
Outside In and Inside Out: To provide direct, experiential learning, we work from both the outside in and the inside out. Working from the outside in, participants engage in research, presentations and lectures on specific views of child development, curriculum, and methodology. They are challenged to look through each theorist’s eyes and connect with his wisdom and passion. In this process they come to see which ideas resonate with their own experience and which do not. As different, and sometimes contradictory views are encountered, each participant discovers more about her own assumptions and biases, and more about her own wisdom.
Working from the inside out, participants undertake a variety of artistic endeavors that bring them direct, personal experience of how children learn at different stages. For example, they are asked to enter the young child’s world where learning happens primarily through imprinting/ imitation. Expert and beginner alike will learn to play recorder, paint, and dance solely by following the instructor’s movements. Immersion in the texture of the child’s experience has a deep and far-reaching impact as participants awaken sleeping capacities and re-visit their own childhoods. From this internal vantage point they are asked to look outward and re-evaluate their own views of education.
Joining Body, Heart, and Mind – An Artistic Approach: Underlying the Enki approach is the understanding that human beings have several very different capacities – divergent modes of experiencing, learning and expressing. In the Enki program, we call these body, heart, and mind.
Although each of us experiences all three capacities throughout life, in the course of child development there are successive stages in which different capacities are dominant. Each capacity has its own strength and its own challenge. In the realm of body, we rediscover the ability to explore and express through movement, and the open, unbiased quality of being imprinted by all we meet. Here we find the young child. In the realm of heart, we rediscover the artist in us as we explore color, song, and story, bringing learning to life through the imagination. Here we find the grade school child. As we question, analyze, and wander down logical mazes, we train the powerful gifts of mind. Here we find the adolescent, awakening to new powers of thought.
Mirroring this process of development, in the Enki Teacher Training Program we strive to re-awaken and integrate these capacities. We are working for a harmony that goes beyond balance. It is not so much a matter of making sure we have a fair share of everything in our stew, but that the ingredients are mixed to create a single dish. At different ages for the child and in different contexts and endeavors for the adult, particular combinations will spark this harmony. Throughout the Enki program, in every class and every workshop we strive to draw on all three capacities and weave them together; this is the seat of well-being.
By its very nature this is an artistic undertaking. The teacher works with the elements of each class much as a painter brings together colors or a musician, tones. Specific concepts, skills and traditional arts are the colors on the teacher’s palette; music, painting, drama, and movement are as much a part of the academic learning as are study of facts and ideas. No particular skill or prior artistic experience is necessary; artistic training is part of the course work.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
– Marcel Proust
Our Teacher Training program, began in 1993 and has grown in new and exciting ways over the years. We have had participants and receive inquiries from across the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and India. As a result, we have structured all aspects of the program to serve our “students at a distance,” while maintaining the integrity of this work.
At this time we have restructured our courses to make them more accessible to more people. Many are done online, and others are held in one week intensives, on location where a group is undertaking the training.
We have been successful in working with universities to enable students enrolled in their programs to apply to receive college credit for Enki courses, and/or include the Enki program as a central component of their Masters and certification programs. If this is of interest to you, please contact us directly to initiate the process with your college.
The opening programs of the Teacher Training, Rousing Intuition and Ecosystems of Education, are stand-alone courses. These are open to the public and can be taken as a single workshops.
Rousing Intuition, is a three-day IN-PERSON workshop.
Ecosystems of Education, is a 15 session, weekly, live-online program. This is also open to the public, however, attendance at or make up of each class is mandatory for continuing. Click here for current schedules and descriptions.
All other classes and workshops described at this web site are part of either the Foundation Course or the Professional Course. These are open only to those enrolled in the program. Each section of the program is offered as a whole and must be taken in sequence.
If you are interested in either the Rousing Intuition workshop, Ecosystems of Education, the Teacher Training Program, please review the program descriptions, course prerequisites, and Certificate requirements.
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us.
Foundation and Professional Courses:
The full program is spread over a 36-month period, as described below:
Foundation Course Level I (prerequisite: Ecosystems of Education)
- Embodiment and Invocation (Summer – in-person)
- Storytelling and Neurosensory Embodiment in the Nursery and Kindergarten (Autumn – live-online)
- Process Calls (live-online): a mid month meeting
Foundation Course Level II (prerequisite: Foundation Level I and Rousing Intuition)
- Arts the Ears of Childhood: the Primary Grades (1 and 2) (Winter – live-online)
- Triggers and Monsters: working with children, parents, ourselves and each other (Summer – in-person)
- ChildSpeak (Fall – live-online)
- Arts the Ears of Childhood: the Upper Grades 3-8 (Oct – May – live-online)
- Process Calls (live-online): a mid month meeting
Professional Course Level I (prerequisite: all Foundation Level Courses)
- Summer Arts Intensive (Summer – in-person)
- Making it Your Own/Curriculum Development (Fall – May – live-online)
- The Runway (Summer – in-person)
- Square One (Fall – live-online)
- Process Calls (live-online): a mid month meeting
Professional Course Level II (prerequisite: all preceding Foundation and Professional Courses)
- Internship – (in-person)
Credits and Certification:Those successfully completing the program will receive a Certificate of Completion and will be qualified to teach in independent schools using the Enki approach. For programs within the public school system, local certification may or may not be required as well.
In some cases the Enki program will meet part of the local requirements for initial and recertification. For assistance with certification or college credit, please contact the appropriate program directors PRIOR to beginning the course to make the necessary preliminary arrangements.