I recently made the mental shift from being angry, sad and frustrated at not having the right swimming pool conditions here in Corfu to being grateful for a rather rare situation I am in.
“Nope we definitely don’t have the right swimming pool conditions. But perhaps what we do have is far more important than that” Read more at: http://sophiamichalopoulou.com/the-right-conditions/
I realized I am in a privileged position in that I get to work with the same children on land during the day at preschool and then I get to see them in the water in the afternoon or the weekend.
Rather than pushing for babies and their parents in the pool which I am simply not allowed to do, I am focusing on my work with students ages from 3 to 6 that attend a unique private pre-school in Corfu called Iliaxtida.
Here, I am lucky enough to be a member of a very strong and experienced team of educators all of whom lend their experience and way of seeing at any given moment.
There are six pairs of eyes, six ways of seeing, feeling and being with any one of forty five children at Iliaxtida. That’s a rather privileged ratio to be part of.
In switching to this empowering way of seeing my current position I’ve gone back to the drawing board and spent many hours simply observing, case studying particular children and their developmental journey and looking out for transferable skills between land and water.
I can feel the power of immediacy that building bridges between land and water has and I am only just starting to scratch the surface of it.
So much about the way we are in water is determined by the ‘resonant field’ we bring to it. By this I mean the common experiences we share as a group of teachers, students and parents that have come to know each other and the way we work, the standards of practice and the pillars that define or educational values, have created a dynamic force of action that holds us in a positive and supportive learning environment.
I would not be writing this if I didn’t have the support of a wanting and positively seeking group of parents who entrust us with their amazing children all of whom are willing to brave some not so perfect swimming pool conditions.
TRUST is perhaps the number one cement ingredient that allows these land water bridges to stick together. What has been gained on land in terms of trust and letting mummy or daddy go can work wonders when being introduced to a new environment further afield, like the public swimming pool of Corfu, which is not a particularly child friendly environment.
What better way to be in the pool than with my daytime buddies!
RECOGNITION so much of what we learn is based on repetition and recognizing sound, images, smells, facial expressions, emotions. What has been gained on land in terms of familiarity and other recognizable adults, toys and songs is also carried into the pool as a helping stepping stone for first timers.
SOCIALISATION Patterns of behavior and values that are learnt at school, both positive and negative, get to be explored and be expressed further afield for children and parents alike. We get to take the work that we do out of school and our home, further into a different set of social situations and environmental demands. Seeing what we have assimilated is possible when we put it into real time practice.
What we learn at school doesn’t stay at school!
Read the blog post about ‘Shoes Kissing’ on Iliaxtida’s website http://iliaxtidaschoolcorfu.com/otan-ta-papoutsia-filiounte/
There’s been so much written about the positive effects of water on early childhood development, the healing properties of water and the ways in which water can help us form healthy and loving human relationships.
Aqua Sensory in the UK is breaking ground on a large scale, in establishing a sensory way of being in the pool rather than the old swimming style way that said push harder, never mind the tears, we got to be first. Check it out at http://www.aquasensory.com/
We are already riding a new wave that says my individual way of being must come first and perhaps water is the most appropriate element to witness it from.
All of these #waterhappy imprints whether on an individual or group basis, get to go back over the bridge and into class at school and snug into bed at home.
Learning Through Transmission (LTT) for example, is a body of work that was trialed and tested with the parents and teachers of Iliaxtida in Corfu and is now happily taking flight to other parts of the world.
In a few months from now I hope to have a lot more visual material to support the ways we Build Bridges on Land and Water and a clearer understanding of its educational and therapeutic value.