What is self-awareness? Pinpointing what self-awareness looks and feels like can be nebulous because the target is always moving with us. This is especially true when our goal is to teach self-awareness. It’s like a fish trying to explain what water is to another fish. There are a million ways one could describe it, but our experience of it is subjective.
Like imagination, self-awareness is a natural human phenomenon that can’t be taught, but can be cultivated. When weaving intentions for cultivation of self-awareness into curriculum, the goal is less about direct instruction and more about creating spaces— mental, emotional, creative, and relational— that facilitate opportunities for young nervous systems to grow awareness of themselves and their environment. This means we must let joy and curiosity lead.
Ultimately, when our needs are met, we humans are inclined toward a natural evolution of consciousness. Awareness grows with us. When holding space for others to cultivate self-awareness, it starts with safety. Throughout each previous learning adventure, we have structured our time and focus to create psychological and physical safety (by helping our littles find commonalities, respect differences, act with honesty and integrity).
Recognizing this foundation allows us to capture natural learning opportunities as they occur throughout this adventure. Our littles have unique strengths and challenges. Letting this unit be an exploration of the element of space— curated in a way that feels good to you, the facilitator— creates organic openings for reflection and connection making.
Humans must feel safe enough to relax, to take creative risks and have the space to reflect on our actions in ways that allow us to close the feedback loop for growing our self-awareness. For many who move through the Elements of heART program, the Space of Self-Awareness adventure is merely a reflection of having been engaged in this process.