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What is Natural Learning?

Why are nearly all of today’s schools focused on a top-down, highly structured, unnaturally academic approach? Good question, because research clearly points us elsewhere.

 

At The Institute for Mindful Learning, we believe in what science tells us about a child's brain development. That means pursuing authentic, organic learning in an environment that nourishes the mind, body and spirit. We call it "natural learning," and it's the way education works best for our little explorers.

Unstructured Play

 Children were born curious, but we can kill their curiosity with overly structured academics, especially at a young age. Instead, they need freedom to play. Free play is not a "nice-to-have." It's a requirement for learning. At The Institute for Mindful Learning, we provide interesting materials, sensory toys and natural objects to engage your child in the most productive play, a.k.a. learning in the real world.

Mindfulness & Meditation

Children are people too, and that means they can experience tremendous benefits from meditation, yoga and relaxation exercises - just like their parents! We infuse regular mindfulness techniques into our days and see students exhibiting greater self-control and emotional regulation as a result.

Most of the Day Spent Outdoors

We spend more than half our day outdoors tending the garden, jumping and running on our playground, getting messy with crafts, and simply enjoying the natural learning materials in Mother Nature. This is more than 3x the amount of time spent outside in traditional schools, and our students crave these hours of exploration. Outdoor play reduces stress levels, improves sensory skills, increases attention spans, and boosts the immune system. Who wouldn't want that?

Emotional Intelligence

The building blocks of emotional intelligence begin in infancy. When a child is comforted and validated in their emotions, their brain starts forming the neural pathways for self-regulation, empathy for others, and collaborative problem-solving. We apply these concepts in brain science to every interaction with our students, because we know growing kind, confident people is just as important as growing smart ones.

Highly Experienced Teachers

At traditional schools, a teacher's salary is unfortunately low. So it shouldn't surprise us when they experience high turnover and burnout rates. At The Institute for Mindful Learning, we hire experienced teachers and pay them a salary that reflects it. Our staff are experts in natural learning techniques, as well as mindfulness, meditation and early childhood development.

Intentionally Low-Tech

It's a trend these days to integrate tablets and other screen time into early childhood education. We don't get it. Every legitimate research study on this topic proves that screen time in young children does tremendous damage to the brain's pre-frontal cortex - the area where self-control is developed. It also encourages consumption rather than imaginative thinking and tactile exploration. We say "no" to screens and welcome sensory materials, messy play and dirty hands in our space. That's what natural learning looks like.

“Encourage your child to have muddy, grassy or sandy feet by the end of each day. That's the childhood they deserve.” - Penny Whitehouse

Dallas

Downtown/Uptown

Plano

Little Rock

West Little Rock

North Little Rock

Park Hill

© 2020 by The Institute for Mindful Learning, LLC.