The early years of a child, both physically and mentally, are the most crucial in a person’s development. PLeace Awaken co-founder Steven Jacobs recognized early in his golf career in South Africa that children with an underdeveloped motor skill, due to socially underprivileged positions, even if their financial situation in later life improved substantially, were not able to catch up anymore with those born into abundance.
One example is that many women are forced to take their small children and babies to work with them, literally attached to them. The burden is huge, for both, mother and child. The mother’s body will break down at some point; the child is scarred for life. Always staring at the mother’s back impairs the vision, imagination and the motor function capabilities.
Recognizing that the problem began at grass roots, Steve developed a method over the past 25 years of his career as a golf professional- and teacher. If the motor capabilities, both of the physical and the mental body, are trained accordingly from the early age of infancy, there is no limit to future success in any aspect of life, materially, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Loosely based on the Waldorf-education with influence of the Montessori method for students and the Reggio Emilia approach for preschool children, which also gives new job opportunities through teaching to young mothers, we have come up with a new educational development system for children and adults. Integrated with Steve’s concept and fine-tuned with new methods and old knowledge, PLeace Awaken’s Multi-Gen-Havens will bring about a new concept of integration, compassion and opportunity. The idea is to grow and nurture all aspects of the child or student, physical, emotional, and spiritual, encouraging creative, analytic as well as abstract thinking.
The first four years in a child’s life are so vitally important as it is during that time that the core belief systems of a person are formed. The Multi-Gen-Havens provide a safe and sheltered environment in which the children can immerse themselves into a childhood of imagination, play and experiential education, which will not cut them off from the magical world they still live in. Compassion, patience and appreciation are core values that GRACE instills in the children and students. By staying out of the childrens’ way as much as possible and letting them use their own way of communication, we can learn to understand them better by observing the individual’s characteristics, tendencies, innate talents and abilities.
One of the most important aspects of the GRACE project is the involvement of the parents, which also leaves room for abused or underprivileged mothers that can get an education as preschool teachers.
The education for children aged three to seven focuses on student-centered free and creative play, singing, cognitive skills and memory building through story telling, foreign languages and environmental schooling in nature. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility and community through experiential learning by exploring and discovering. Painting, sculpting, singing and theater are central points of the preschool and Kindergarten years. To celebrate the seasons of nature and the traditions of different cultures we include festivals and school activities to revive that magic.
In the elementary phase, ages seven to fourteen, the GRACE Project starts with official schooling in writing and traditional academic subjects, however without any pressure or grades, keeping the kids entertained learning and achieving a more effective education and learning to cooperate not compete and compare. Concentrating on one main academic subject at a time, there will be a four week immersion time every day for two hours.
The individual classes will stay together for seven years in family-style with a class teacher that serves as role-model, mentor and person of trust that will guide them and educate them with materials crossing different cultures. The essence here is to keep the kids feeling security and stability at all times. Other subjects such as mythology, history, geography, geology, mathematics, mineralogy, biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and nutrition are taught by highly qualified and psychologically trained academics. Two new foreign languages and a musical instrument of choice are also taught.
Starting in eighth grade, at about age fourteen, the GRACE Project will focus more on academic subjects and systems to start preparing the students for the required university entry exams. Arts and play will still be a substantial part of the curriculum. Through training and education in debate, politics, psychology and sociology, the students are encouraged to develop their own thinking and judgment to turn them into independent and responsible adults.