Infecting children with the “I can” belief

The story of this woman inspired me to write this article. 

Kiran Bir Sethi, designer, mother, revolutionary and brave woman, is the founder of the educational movement Design for change which began in 2009 and is already present in more than 66 countries, infecting child to child the powerful belief of “I can”.

Kiran, like many of us, simply wanted to give her son the best possible education. She tells how one day she went to school to talk with the teacher to find out more about the interests and abilities she had detected in his son. To her surprise at school, her son was another number, so when she mentioned his name to the teacher, she immediately asked for the student’s code so she could download his report.

This so much attracted her attention, that she immediately decided to take her son out of that school and, moved by that feeling of frustration and indignation, opened the doors of her house to give her son and other children the possibility of a different education. It started with 25 children and her intention from then until now has not changed; since its inception Kiran sought to give each one the importance they deserve by giving them full attention and actively listening to their needs, desires and interests. She did not agree with the school culture which, by the context in which it develops, reinforces (unconsciously) the “I can´t”. She was determined, therefore, to demonstrate, to the children, to the parents and to herself, that, if we only allow ourselves to believe in the children and act intentionally to show that confidence and nurture it, the possibilities of what they are capable to do are endless.

The acronym FIDS represents the philosophy of this movement; which comes from the words Feel, Imagine, Do, Share. These acronyms represent the approach that the Design for change program seeks to implement in each school to achieve empowering children so they become agents of change, not of the future, as she mentions, but of the now.

“To infect each child with the powerful belief of I can” is a goal that both, Design for change and Humano, have in common. We are convinced that success in life depends on the knowledge and trust that one has in one’s own abilities and interests, because these are our most valuable tools and those we use to keep going day by day. The vision we have is clear, everything is possible for those who believe, and this belief connotes trust in the environment as well as in oneself, and for that, self-knowledge, self-regulation and self-responsibility are fundamental. 

We know that what education gives to children, they will return to society. So, what are we giving them?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The importance of the environment in the child’s growth

“Many are the children who are raised in an environment that atrophies and incapacitates them, and then it is presumed that they are so by default of birth; even they themselves come to believe it “Shinichi Suzuki, violinist, educator and philosopher

Shinichi Suzuki is the creator of the Suzuki pedagogy, which is a method of both education and philosophy based on respect for the child as a person and on the concept that ability is not inherited but learned. His method is known as Talent Education, since for Shinichi, talent is not something that is present or not in a child, but something that is educated and developed.

Like Suzuki, we are convinced that children are born with unlimited potential which, in most cases unfortunately, does not come to be explored and even less developed. This is undoubtedly due to the false belief that we have that talent is something innate and not something that can be cultivated, as he mentions. However, Suzuki develops his philosophy based on the universal fact that all children are able to easily learn their mother tongue, since the teaching-learning method is based on repetition and constant imitation and positive comments about the work and the child’s progress.

In HUMANO we share similar values ​since like Shinichi we believe that:

• All children can learn. 

• The environment nurtures growth and that it is essential for optimal development. 

• Parental involvement is essential. 

• Each child learns at their own pace. 

• Repetition and constant imitation are key. 

• We promote cooperation instead of competition.

And this is precisely why our goal is to provide children with a fertile environment, full of love and trust where the infant can acquire inspiration and interest from everything he sees and hears, since we know that it is the superior environment that gives the greatest effect on the creation of superior abilities in children.

The true meaning of the word education

“Ideally, education is the principal tool for human growth; essential for transforming the illiterate child into a mature and responsible adult. Yet everywhere today, both in the developed countries and those in development, we can see that formal education is in serious trouble.  

Classroom instruction has become so routinized and dehumanized, that children often consider school to be an exercise in patience rather than a learning adventure. Even the brightest and most conscientious students easily become restless, and for many, the only escape route lies along the dangerous roads of drugs, sexual experimentation, and outbursts of senseless violence. 

 Teachers too find themselves in a dilemma, dissatisfied with the system which they serve but unable to see meaningful alternatives to it. One major reason for this sad state of affairs is a loss of vision regarding the proper aims of education. The word “education” literally means “to bring forth”, which indicates that the true task of this process is to draw forth from the mind its innate potential for understanding. 

The urge to learn, to know and comprehend is a basic human trait, as intrinsic to our minds as hunger and thirst to our bodies. In today´s turbulent world, however, this hunger to learn is often deformed by the same moral twists that afflict the wider society. Indeed, just as our appetite for wholesome food is exploited by the fast-food industry with tasty snacks devoid of nutritional value, so in our schools the minds of the young are being deprived of the nutriment they need for healthy growth (through meditation, yoga, massage therapy, debate and moral inspiring stories).

In the name of education students are passed through courses of standardized instruction intended to make them efficient servants of a demeaning social system. While such education may be necessary to guarantee societal stability, it does little to fulfill the higher end of learning; the illumination of the mind with the light of truth and goodness. Such education is being imparted in The Alice Project School in Sarnath and Bodhgaya, India”

Humano has been inspired by this educational model and applies it too in its educational curriculum.

Photo by Chelsea Aaron on Unsplash