Honouring Authenticity within Ourselves and Our Learners

When I have asked people about what the word authentic means to them, the words different, unique, original, true, meaningful and interesting have come to mind.

We as a learning community believe in honouring the authenticity of each learner and community member.

As part of our core values and beliefs we honour this authenticity because:

-We meet children wherever they are along their developmental journey

-We recognize and value children’s interests and ideas

-We respect every learner’s learning style, needs, challenges and strengths

-We celebrate everyone’s right to be diverse and unique

-We value children’s expression of learning and how they choose to communicate their learning

Along the path to honour others’ authenticity, we as Educators and Parents also need to honour our own authenticity in order to allow others to unfold at a pace that is right for them. When we are able to see ourselves as individuals possessing different gifts, different ways of being in the world and can recognize that our needs and wants may be very different from our child’s needs and wants, we can then see value in their pace of unfoldment. We, as Educators can also see where each child is unfolding developmentally and can challenge them to continue growing along that path. By honouring their pace, we are honouring their authentic selves. We are seeing them as they are and as they become.

It can be challenging in a world that tells us who we should be in order to be successful.  It can be easy to succumb to the fears that if children aren’t learning what society thinks they need to know in order to become successful by societies standards, then they will fail, they will struggle and therefore be unhappy. The first thing I want to point out is that this is simply a fear. Fears are not reality. Fears are False Expectations Appearing Real. We have no way of knowing what our world will be like in 10 years, 5 years, 1 year or even next month. So placing worry on what our children might need to know or do, so they are prepared for the future, can seem futile.

I am not saying that reading and writing, math and science are not important topics in which to be exposing our learners. There is great value in learning to read and understanding how letters come together to make sounds and words. There is also great value in understanding how numbers can be added and subtracted and thought about in many different ways. What I am saying is that we need to honour each child for who they are, how they learn, what their interests are and how they choose to express that learning. At Inspired Explorations Learning Community, we see each child. Not as we want them to be, but for who they are, what they need and who they are becoming.