The Heart of the Program
Throughout the Enki Teacher Training Program, we are working with the underlying skills of embodiment and invocation. Why? In a nutshell, we cannot teach experientially if we, ourselves, are not inside the experience (embodiment) and manifesting the experience itself (invocation). This requires extensive work with movement, speech, music, the visual arts, and rhythms. Therefore, work with the principles outlined below, runs through the entire program.
When something touches us deeply we often say, “It really moved me.” Why? Why is it that our deepest feelings are somehow connected to movement? Perhaps it is because movement is the first sense to develop in the womb and remains an active ground of learning throughout our lives. Through the body we take in, process and express all that lies outside us and within. For both child and adult, movement is central to finding inner balance.
In both our live-online courses and in our inperson intensives, students participate in a number of different movement experiences, including: simple movement patterns and exercises to discover their own strengths and blockages; work with reflex and sensory integration; developmental movement sequences to gain direct experience of the processes of child development; structured movements to explore different spatial planes and the human characteristics and emotional/perceptual qualities sparked in eac; and Contact Improvisation to experience different ways of relating to others and the world around us. This work will bring participants into an active relationship with their own movement and deepen their understanding of themselves. In turn, they will gain first hand knowledge of the growing child, coming to share his experience through movement.
Speech is central to all teaching. It is part of every interaction we have, even if we are silent.
Looking at the ancient oral traditions and at great speeches, poetry and drama throughout history, we see that speech can be a powerful, creative force. However, the great majority of speech today is superficial, dishonest and all too often destructive. We hear of “mixed messages” or “speaking with forked tongue” and turn to a person’s body language to know what he is really saying.
This work focuses on awareness of speech-sound, tone, rhythm, and silence. Working with movement, gesture and imagery, we will learn how to speak in an integrated and genuine manner. This will help us to talk with the children, not at them.
Participants expore how to use the elements of speech to bring new life to storytelling. Storytelling lies at the core of Enki Education. Through story we are able to create an experience that the children can enter through their imaginations. They are no longer just learning about places and ideas, they are living them. In Enki, the many academic, skill building, and artistic experiences that fill each day are brought out of these stories. This way all aspects of the work will become a cohesive, living experience for the students.
Music is the language of the heart; it sets our systems in rhythm and communicates directly to the body: just try to stand still with music you love playing! Music is the “fluid glue” running through the entire program with the children, and so, in turn, it is part of every class. Whether experiencing the children’s movement circle, transitioning in an online class, working with our own triggers, or preparig and leading a day of curriculum work, both singing and recorder playing with weave their way through our days as adults and our days with the children. In so doing, they bring the separate parts into a whole.
When we want to convey mood or feeling our language often turns to color; we say that we are “feeling blue,” “coloring the facts,” or “green with envy.” In our visual arts work, we explore how color can bring us deeply into mood rather than form or symbol. This basic experience of the language of color helps participants to develop confidence and joy in drawing and painting, and, in turn, enriches their ability to use language effectively.
In addition to being a study in its own right, students learn how painting can deepen conceptual understanding by bringing an artistic/feeling component into any subject. Therefore, participants will be introduced to the ways painting and drawing are used in nursery through eighth grade.
As we watch the changing seasons, the rising and setting of the sun and the swell and fall of the tides, we can plainly see that rhythm weaves its way through all of nature. Here we will discover the three-part nature of rhythm: in-breath, out-breath and the moment of grace or fertile stillness that lies between. Throughout the training we work with our own natural rhythms of the breath and heartbeat and learn how to apply this healthy, natural rhythm to teaching.
An understanding of these rhythms, which underlie our learning and living, makes it possible to work with the child. Then his natural expansion, contraction and stillness give strength to all that is undertaken. If we ignore these rhythms we find ourselves pulling against the child – hauling stones uphill. Conscious use of natural rhythm, the inborn impulses of the child and the natural world, gives the teacher great support as she leads the child to learn. Throughout the program, we bring attention to how these rhythms are supporting or undermining our desired undertakings.