What a perfect time for love week to come around. We’re falling into such a sweet rhythm in our daily groove, adding an extra dose of love into the mix this week was so very special. We have worked hard as facilitators to focus our energies into the relationship we share with each child, building a strong foundation of trust and security within our community.
This week gave us the opportunity to magnify the relationships between the kids. Some of the more timid littles are starting to leave the comfort of their shell to explore what the community has to offer while some of the more established older kids are starting to branch out to explore their interests by creating clubs. We watch as new (and old) friendships blossom ever so naturally but couldn’t pass up the opportunity love week had to offer, using it to expand the child to child relationships beyond the familiar.
Recently, studies are showing that nurturing a child early in life may help him or her develop a larger hippocampus, the brain region important for learning, memory and stress responses. “We can now say with confidence that the psychosocial environment has a material impact on the way the human brain develops,” said Dr. Joan Luby, lead researcher and a psychiatrist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. “It puts a very strong wind behind the sail of the idea that early nurturing of children positively affects their development*.” How blessed we were to be able to see that wind blowing in our Community this week!
Each child started their day picking a “secret valentine” from a stack of hearts, working much like secret santa but instead of gifts, we highlighted random acts of kindness (RAoK). Suggestions included… giving hugs, high fives, saying something nice about that person, cleaning up their lunch/craft mess, making a card, drawing a picture, crafting something especially for them, getting to know them better, etc.
It was inspiring to see how much thought and energy some of the kids put into their RAoK, going as far as spending hours creating and doing research on how to make something specific for their valentine and some even spending an entire day making bracelets for the whole community.
This week helped to ground our community in trust, respect and love which will in turn, be our catapult, sending us off into the coming months. There are many tools we have decided to tuck away for the last month in order to refocus our efforts on community building. These tools will slowly return as each child feels secure within our community and is able to discover the value of using them in their lives.
But until then, they are practicing the cycles of success, setting their intentions, taking the actions necessary to create what they intended, reviewing to see how things went, and sharing with the world! It is so exciting to see that when a child is supported and respected spends his/her days sharing love with the Community!
*Full study can be found at http://www.livescience.com/18196-maternal-support-child-brain.html