LifeWays goal is to support the development of home in the lives of children, families, and caregivers because we see home as the natural environment for young children and home-like settings as the ideal for childcare. We do this by offering trainings, seminars, and workshops that lift the participants out of the chaos of the world and reorient them to the foundations of meaningful, purposeful, delightful living. We do this because we know that children thrive in the presence of adults who find meaning in life, who are engaged in purposeful activity and who delight in finding the “yes” in whatever life tosses their way.
We also offer consulting and support to early childhood programs that want to create a homelike atmosphere rather than an institutional feeling. Various studies and our own observations have shown that children learn more effectively when they feel secure, connected and loved. Young children learn through their sensory experiences, through repetition of experience and content, and primarily through observing their people. And when they are securely attached to their people, they learn with more ease. This is a major reason why LifeWays’ number one principle is connectivity.
It is also why we so strongly promote blended ages and continuity of care. The much-beloved babies are delighted by the older children, the toddlers are in heaven to be playing with their next-level role models, and the older children are engaged by nurturing and by being looked up to by the little ones. This represents the foundations of human literacy.
Interestingly, settings such as these also lay healthy foundations for academic literacy and numeracy. That is where LifeWays’ living arts come in. Practical life skills, nurturing care, creative exploration and social interaction offer a foundation for living and learning that has long stood the test of time. Read biographies, study the life stories of geniuses, and think about the experiences in your own life that sent your mind soaring. Somewhere between counting out the forks and napkins, sorting and naming the colors in the laundry, listening to a loved one read or recite the same story or poem repeatedly, experiencing the tender care of another person, navigating the stage of multi-aged social encounters, and experiencing the wonderments found in nature – this is the fare for fertile minds!
Jump-starting, hot-housing, and putting young children in learning environments that supposedly provide them with a leading edge – none of these have withstood the test of time. Jump-starting often results in exhaustion, hot-housing sometimes brings quick results but without deep and lasting roots, and replacing the natural learning inherent in play and free exploration with early academia often leads to burnout or disinterest.
If you are interested in knowing more about caring for yourself and caring for children and families with a more homelike flavor, perhaps LifeWays is for you!