Beth Sutton taught a course this Fall Term in the Institute entitled SD 512 Ecosystems of Education. She described the course as follows:
Education, like all other aspects of life, functions as an ecosystem with each aspect impacting all others. This is true whether we attend to it or not; the only issue is whether we work consciously with it so the child’s whole experience is in service of our educational goals and we all have a sustainable and healthy experience. In this course learners explore the Enki Education Web, the underlying structure of the Enki ecosystem, as a tool to look at educational ecosystems in general. Each week students engage in short exercises at home that give them a personal experience of the particular “web thread” or principle in focus as well as specific reading on the topic. These ?web threads? or principles include:
- unity and diversity;
- body, heart, and mind;
- developmental mirror;
- activity of learning;
- teacher health;
- adult models;
- essential energy;
- family and community; and
- wisdom and vitality.
In class we debrief this ?field application? and reflect on the web principle from the vantage point of direct experience. In this way, the learners each have their own personal experience of each of the principles, which they then bring together in a collaboratively designed final project.
Enki Education: A Contemporary Holistic Education Form
Enki Education (enkieducation.org) is a brilliant ?whole human? educational program developed by Beth Sutton. She has been a teacher and director of schools and camps over the last 43 years and is experienced in Traditional,?Experimental, and Integrated Day, and Waldorf methods. She has taught in both Waldorf Schools and Waldorf inspired programs, as well as Enki Schools.
While Enki Education shares some common ground with the Waldorf model, it is distinguished by its contemporary origins in the ?global village? we live in today.
Enki Education is an independent program that strives to recognize wisdom and vitality wherever they arise. In this spirit both the classroom and?homeschool curriculum?are informed by the work of several leading educators and a variety of methods. Central among these are:
- the multicultural focus of the?United Nations International School,
- the integrated arts approach of Waldorf Inspired Programs,
- the skill building techniques of traditional Western education,
- the independent project learning of theme studies programs, and
- the focus on neurological development of?Sensory and Reflex Integration Programs.
Enki differs markedly from both Theme Studies and Waldorf Inspired Programs, as well as all other approaches. The Enki approach, known as?Developmental-Immersion Mastery, weaves together many rich and diverse elements in order to support its fundamental premise: that the integration of body, heart and mind is key to cultivating educational excellence, confidence, and competence. At all grade levels, whether in classroom or homeschooling programs, Enki develops academic excellence while nurturing the whole child, weaving together specific academics, skills, arts, and movement to bring about integration. This builds a strong foundation of skill and understanding which enables the students to meet the world head-on, in a compassionate, flexible, and creative manner.
Enki Classroom and HomeSchool Resources
Enki Education provides both?Classroom and Homeschool Resources. The Enki Teaching Guides detail its underlying philosophy, including its view of child development and neurological/?sensory integration, and the role of rhythm in learning. Both the classroom and homeschool guides then describe the specific ways this view unfolds into teaching through the arts on a day-to-day basis. This gives parents and teachers a deep understanding of the Enki classroom and?homeschool curriculum, and of how to adapt or develop this curriculum to most fully meet their own goals.
In both the classroom and homeschool materials, the Foundation Teaching Guides describe the underlying philosophy and principles that are the basis for all Enki work. Each grade level then takes up an exploration of how these principles unfold in the day-to-day learning of each subject area, offering the “why” and “how,” but not the materials for use with the children. Each grade level depends on approaches established in earlier grades. Therefore, the Teaching Guides are only sold in sequence, from the Foundation set up. They can also be purchased as a complete unit for a significant discount. Materials for use?with?the children are found in the Resource Libraries within each package.
More information at: www.enkieducation.org
Beth Sutton?s work is a very important addition to entire holistic education field, and our learners at the SelfDesign Graduate Institute are fortunate indeed to have an opportunity to learn with her.