“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.“
At the end of 2017 I had the privilege of passing 10 weeks participating in the daily routine of the Inkiri Piracanga School (read here one post I have wrote about the school).
My arrival represented the start of a long and bold journey to different holistic and innovative schools throughout the world, with the intention of learning and reinventing myself in the education universe. The Inkiri School was my first stop, and I was anxious and curious to see where it would all go. I spent more than one year planning this journey of research and immersion and the sensation of of concretizing something that had been in my mental space for so long is always a bit strange for me – after all, theory in practice is different than theory for theory’s sake, isn’t it?
One thing that was not in my plans is that I would arrive at the school in an awful emotional state. Some things that happened in my personal life were not part of my plans and knocked me off my center right before leaving on this trip. And it was like this, off my center, that I arrived at the school. I didn’t feel like I had very much to offer in that moment, and because I believe in an education that welcomes our interior states and emotional questions, I respected my own rhythm and sensations. I arrived bit by bit. I arrived in silence. I arrived observing and sensing my surroundings.
What was at one point a tough and unexpected situation became one of my first and main lessons that I would receive on my journey: the value of OBSERVATION. I perceived that my professional and academic experience up until this point had conditioned me to observe very little, as though the anxiety to have something to turn in, come up with some sort of solution, stand out, or have the answers hadn’t permitted silence and the necessary rhythm for true observation.
I arrived at the Inkiri School with the absolute certainty that I had nothing to offer and with complete reverence and respect for the story and relationships that had already existed for years within the school. I allowed myself to simply be there, observing and flowing organically as different openings presented themselves to me. What a beautiful surprise!
There is a reason why J. Krishnamurti said the “ability to observe without evaluation is the highest form of intelligence.” When I allowed myself to be loyal to the exercise of observation, I could truly experience a deep and transformative process: first because I was silent enough to observe my own intense internal processes as I observed the children, secondly because I could observe the natural and autonomous flow of childhood development that is so strong, and third because without my anxious intervention, things began to happen in the best way for my journey. It seems that there’s magic that happens when we stop trying to control everything.
From the moment of my arrival at the school, I naturally became close with the class of the youngest children (called Cycle 1 and made up of children between ages 3 and 4), with whom I spent about a month and a half, substituting for an educator who was on vacation. After this I had the chance to get to know the class of children ages 6-8 together with Fred, an educator at the school, and following this I had the chance to substitute for Fred for one week.
There are so many reflections about the things I learned over the course of these 10 weeks that it doesn’t all fit in a single post, but I am sure that over the course of my trip they will come up again and again. Being around children is definitely an incredible opportunity to get closer to our own inner child, our education, our beliefs, points of light, and shadows. Of everything that I have lived in terms of processes of gaining more self awareness, there is no process more intense or beautiful than human development. Education is truly a space of mutual growth, and the educators who are committed to their roles definitely learn more than they teach.
The letter that I wrote to the educators (angels) of the Inkiri School when I left.
At the Inkiri School I felt that the educational process creates instant bonds between the people who exist together in that space. There is no methodology that is more important than the value of the relationships. For this reason, the educator is definitively the central figure in the educative process. When I think back on the main things that I learned at the school it is impossible not to relate this reflection to the people with whom I spent time. What did I learn with each educator, whether observing their actions or interacting directly with them?
I share here a summary of what I will take with me from each educator at the Inkiri School: from Karina, I take with me transparency, from Paulina the quality of presence, from Bia subtlety, from Fred rhythm, from Guga simplicity, and from all of them, silence as my main point of learning. You can click on the images below to read my definition of each of these qualities.
May I continue observing so that I may learn, so that I may teach.