Yvette Halpin: Childhood Advocate

ADVOCATING FOR CHILDHOOD

A Waldorf preschool teacher for 20 years, Yvette is passionate about working to help integrate the senses and motor reflexes in children who are experiencing learning challenges.  She uses a comprehensive approach that combines the leading research and therapeutic practices in ways that value the whole child and not just their symptoms, behaviours, or difficulties.  Yvette will hold a special place in our family for many years to come!  We are excited to be hosting her and Sherry Rounds' workshop Making Connections on October 16th, 2016.


Childhood is a right, not a phase waiting to pass to get on to the important things such as learning. Especially since the first 7 years of a child's life provides the foundation of life and learning-just like a well built house needs a firm foundation.  During these critical years the child is neurally and biochemically circuited and programmed to able them to learn and live a socially, emotionally, spiritual, and physically balanced life. 

Ways of naturally being in childhood is what so many adults are seeking and striving to return to for our own happiness; this ability to live in the moment, to feel at one with our surroundings and to return to our most essential aspect, that by nature we are first and foremost childlike“neotenous” (Anthropologist Ashley Montague, explores this in his book “Growing young” 1989).  The depth and breath of humanity rests on the favorable development of four neotenous traits. 

The primary natural expression of neotony is play.  Play has not been prioritized into our educational and family systems and certainly has not permeated the child development/child rearing mainstream, and that culture, schools and families conspire against this most essential aspect of human nature.

Montague lists the neotenous traits of humans that are active throughout our life cycles: friendship, sound thinking, learn, organize, wonder, creativity, flexibility, explorativeness, enthusiasm, joyfulness, optimism, compassionate, intelligence, dance, love, sensitivity, to know, to work, curiosity, imagination, open-mindedness, resilience, sense of humor, laughter, tears, honesty, trust and song. 

To allow childhood to thrive, we need to allow our children to:

  • have “tummy time” on the floor as babies
  • self initiate their play,
  • explore and experience through their senses the natural world and with open ended play material
  • to move, move and move

We need to:

  • reduce adult interventions, interference, involvement, and information
  • provide predictable rhythms
  • provide proper sleep and eating routines
  • provide time for the child to encounter and process the world
  • model thoughts,feelings and actions worthy of being imitated
  • to acknowledge their feelings as a basis for their self awareness to flourish 

Our children are not vessels to be filled but are rather gently unfolding flowers. When each stage of development is allowed to unfold in its own time, it will culminate in a strong, flourishing plant.  If it is rushed or hurried, the plant is often weak and floppy and does not exhibit strength or vitality.  Similarly, just as with the plant, a young child's "I"can gently unfold over time, or get pushed into adulthood too soon, causing stress, anxiety, weakness or even unwarranted labels.

To contact or learn more about Yvette Halpin check out nimblekids.ca

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