The Imagine Wisdom Education (I-WE) system is the result of mutual creation of children, their teachers, and parents. To create this page, One Community spent hours interviewing Satyanna Luken, Author, Montessori Teacher, and founder of I-WE. For more detailed information on I-WE, we recommend you read Satyanna’s comprehensive book about her method: “I-WE, Imagine Wisdom Education.”
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I-WE methodology is a combination of Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio ideas synthesized through a collaborative creative process of children, their teachers, and parents. For that reason, the schedule, types of activities, and classroom design are very flexible and depend on common effort and cooperation.
The school construction is based on three principles:
The classroom is an inner and outer space that function as a whole. The inside of the building is divided into 7 sections/rooms, each of them represented by a certain color – from red to violet, like the colors of the chakras or 7 colors of the rainbow:
|The red room stands for Love and being grounded and connected. The main tools are a set of 20 drums. The function of this room is arts in all their possible realizations.|
|The orange room represents imagination and full self-expression. It encompasses creativity and everything connected with it. The tools of this room are easels, paintbrushes, watercolors, oils, etc.|
|The yellow room is about peaceful leadership teaching. Here students learn how to be leaders in peace, health, and happiness, and also train their willpower. There’s a ministage, a microphone, a podium, a big screen there to practice public speaking and share ideas.|
|The green room is about sustainable life and everything connected with it. Here students learn about sustainable living, solar power, using rainwater, being friendly with the world, never harm any being (never step on a bug, a spider), etc. The main tools are gardening equipment and kitchenware with growing food and cooking facilitated by access through this room to an outside area with a big garden.|
|The blue room stands for communication, empathy, feelings and the ability to express yourself. It contains all necessary tools for watching and making movies, using media such as a screen, a projector, and computers.|
|The Indigo room represents indigenous cultures and evolutionary consciousness. It’s a “world room” where students can learn about past and present, ancient and modern, and get connected to their roots, learn about indigenous cultures, ancient and modern philosophers and thinkers. This room is for practicing yoga, meditation, dancing, storytelling, etc. Here students learn geography, history, philosophy and so on. The tools of the indigo room are books and internet materials on the above mentioned subjects.|
|The violet section (room) is a big stage with rows of seats set up for dancing and theatre performances, concerts, shows, and speeches. It represents the crown chakra, the Being; here different religions and philosophies are explored.|
The schedule is formed through the perspective of immediate needs of every child and has a flexible structure. It focuses on a three-day working week so that the rest of the time children spend with their parents who take them to the world (museums, farms, etc.). Its tentative schedule looks like:
After napping, morning activities are repeated in a comfortable succession: snack, work time (can be arts, learning a new game), and play. In the afternoon, meditation and Kundalini yoga also take place.
I-WE methodology is a combination of Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio ideas. The foundation is Montessori school which introduces such principles as prepared environment, prepared teachers (they walk their talk), and freedom. The environment is organized in the way that children can imitate their parents by “doing work.” They are involved in cleaning the space and making it beautiful. Since the activities are chosen in the way that children can win at them (they are challenging, yet possible to be carried out), they learn to do everything by themselves (typical talk starting from age 1 – 1.5: “I can do it!”). Within the created environment teachers let children choose the activity they want. They guide gently and bring the world to the child to show how it works through a variety of activities.
To make the Montessori approach even more balanced, the world of beauty, fantasy, and creativity is borrowed from Waldorf and Reggio schools. Here a number of group activities are practiced, such as cooking together, dressing up and setting up for a theater performance, puppet show, etc., and learning two-three languages in a natural environment. Combining these things helps form more brain cell connections that improve both intelligence and creativity.
A great emphasis in the I-WE methodology is also put on non-violent communication:
If a conflict happens, everybody stops; at first the conflict is dealt with, then the activity resumes. In the group, sharing is encouraged and appreciated. Older kids are praised for sharing with younger ones. If the same toy is wanted by two kids at the same time, one kid counts to 10 while the other one is holding the desired object, then they change roles.
This combination of different approaches combined to create the I-WE method gives rise to an abundance of activities. They can be individual (quiet reading), pair, and group activities. Here’s a list of suggestions:
When performing any activity, the I-WE method also gives special attention to the differences of masculine and feminine energies. Two examples of this for girls are that they are encouraged to speak what they need and everyone helps keep a clean area because “if things are not in order, all things speak to girls and distract them.” For boys, there are bigger breaks between different types of activities because “masculine energy needs more transition time to change their activity.”
NOTE: One Community does not believe there is any one system that is the best. It is our Highest Good of All philosophy to look at all systems and all methodologies. Our goal is to learn and integrate everything we can to better inspire and create the Education for Life program as an open source and free-shared globally collaborative and accessible program available to positively contribute to the education of anyone who chooses to use it.
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