At Manifesto١٣, we know a kid’s not a kid. They’re the sum total of everything they’ve seen and heard up until they walk through our doors. They’re bold explorers on a hunt for buried treasure, journalists looking for the next big scoop, philosophers on the footpath of wisdom—really, who else but a kid can give you the sage advice that a ladder’s nothing without a slide?
It’s that type of thinking that we seek to cultivate here—and to do it, we read up on the masters to guide us on our journey before letting the kids embark on their own.
Let’s start with Virginia Mae Axeline. Axeline, a leading figure in the world child psychology (and surprisingly not heir to an Ontario-based power tools empire), laid the foundation on how to properly deal with children. A lot of what she said is commonsense now, but her writings (and its massive impact) prove that the adults of yesteryear have never engaged with kids beyond “Hello” and “Not right now, sugarplum, daddy’s tired.” O, how times have changed; as the American comedian Jim Gaffigan famously said, “I’ve got more pictures of my children than my father ever looked at me.”
Here are a few of the Axeline tenets (courtesy of the folks over at goodtherapy.org):
1. The therapeutic relationship must be engaging and inviting, providing warmth and
rapport at the earliest possible moment.
2. The child must be unconditionally accepted by the therapist.
3. The therapeutic environment must be nonjudgmental in order for the child to feel uninhibited in the expression of emotions, feelings, and behaviors.
4. The therapist must be attentive and cognizant of the child’s behaviors in order to provide reflective behaviors back to the child so that he or she may develop self-awareness.
5. The therapist relies on the child’s ability to find solutions, when available, to his or her own problems and understands that the child is solely responsible for the transformational choices he or she makes or does not make.
And that’s our starting point.
Then we pair it with the famous Waldorf method—which is all about culture: so, by all means, play around with instruments, learn a few phrases of Greek, brush up on art history and match the greats! There’s a reason why the method’s so popular—rigid curricula are thrown out the window, and the focus is on the students themselves as human beings with personal and creative needs.
Then the Waldorf method is paired with the Reggio Emilia approach. Through Reggio Emilia, the child’s on equal footing with the instructor. It’s about free-flow play, with gentle nudges by the overseer. Play! Create! Explore!, we say. Nature becomes as important as the classroom—but we understand that constantly settling hospital bills after mass heatstroke in Hawalli park isn’t financially viable, so we built our own garden in Manifesto١٣!
Anyway, if you’re interested in our Child Empowerment Program, sign up quick—it’s the last chance to get our early bird discount on our year-long package!