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Two Ways to Create Nurturing Environments and Relationships

You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.
M. Scott Peck

Two Out of the Box Training Kits offer ideas for providing deep nurturing for children. The first, “Are Your Children in Times Square? Moving from Sensory Overload to Sensory Engagement" focuses on the physical environment. Sandra Duncan and Michelle Salcedo, authors of the article that provides the foundation for the Kit, make an analogy between the confining spaces that make up New York’s Times Square, and the confining way we often configure early childhood classrooms. Some of these environmental configurations are physical “and lead to confinement of the body” while others are less tangible and result in confinement of the mind and spirit.

The authors discuss what they call "three confinement-busting enable children’s individuality.”

  1. Reflect children’s interests in the classroom by planning experiences which mirror their conversations and play.
  2. Tear down the behavior chart.
  3. Question your rules. Are classroom rules for your convenience or to support children’s growth and development?"

And a second Out of the Box Kit, “Finding Questions Worth Asking,” based on Ann Pelo’s article by the same name, encourages nurturing interactions through authentic questions and respectful listening.

“Good questions are born in silence. They begin with the humility of listening,” writes Pelo. “When we listen with self-awareness...we stop being teachers intent on instruction, and become companions in the project of understanding.”

Pelo’s encouragement fits with author Dennis Lewis’s writing on his blog that focuses on careful listening:

“Deep listening has to do with the very essence of our relationship to ourselves and others. Deep listening requires love, being, and listen deeply means to welcome, to make ourselves fully available to what is actually taking place now.”

Source: “The Lost Art of Listening,” by Dennis Lewis,, 2009

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