Just a few days ago, our two kids completed the first seven year cycle of their life. Just like that! One day you wake up and : “Oh my God, today they turn 7!!”. It has flown by. But looking back on those seven years, I have to say, that these guys have conquered mountains in in that time!
As I write this we are on a ferry travelling to Sardinia Italy. Lying on my bunk bed, I look at my seven year old twins sleeping soundly and I think to myself: the die is cast. Like my daughter Nayra says, seven is a magic number. According to various authors, the first seven years of life are vital to the formation of human beings.
Rudolf Steiner talks about this seven year period as the time when the child recieves the base for her moral conduct in adulthood. He also talks about the learning process during this period which takes place mainly by imitation. While writing this I catch myself wondering what kind of “horrific” things they might have seen me doing during the last seven years and have they dangerously integrated them into their “moral conduct”….??
Steiner also says that during these first seven years children experiment the world and its physical aspect. For our kids itś been endless hours of water, sand, clay, jumping, climbing trees, balls and wheels….only in the last year have they started to show an interest in organised games with rules. It has also only been in the last few months that our daughter has seriously started to show an interest in learning to read ( this has coincided with her losing her first teeth).
Yolanda Gonzalez, a renowned Spanish psycologist in th field of attachment parenting, describes the phase from 0 to 7 years old as the development phase in which the character is structured ( basically the childs personality).
Both Steiner and Gonzalez write about the importance of the attitude of the adults close to a child during this period as well as their affective availability and their physical and emotional presence….
So if their personality and their moral conduct are already formed, all that we can do now is trust that we havent messed it up too much….
The last seven years have been intense, full of love, emotions and change, LOADS of change. For me, this period has been an amazing opportunity to discover parts of myself that I didnt even know texisted. It has also been a beautiful process of getting to know my children and falling in love with them each day.
During half of this seven year period, our kids have been breast fed, they have also spent five of these years cosleeping with us, and they spent the first three years at home without attending any nursery school. When they turned three we began to go together to Educar es Amar, a parent-led non-directive learning space. The first time they stayed on their own in this educational space was when they turned four and a half, four days a week, sharing the space with another 5 kids and two adults. So it was still a very family-like space with a home feeling to it. When thay turned five we went to Morrocco and we celebrated their sixth birthday in Guatemala. A little while later we crossed France together and took a ferry all the way to Ireland. In total, we spent two months living and travelling in a caravan. The learning that takes place while travelling is tremendous and we will dedicate a lot of posts in this blog to talk about worldschooling and our experience of travelling with young children. This academic year thay have started to attend a democratic school with more children of different ages. They have also enrolled for the first time in directed classes with actvities like tennis, cooking, sewing, reading…..
Meanwhile during this 7-year life itinerary thay have learned how to walk, to speak in two languages, to run, to climb, to swim, to skate, to cycle, to count, to add, to substract and have developed many more skills whitout attending formal classes: recognising the letters, drawing, painting, modelling, dancing, climbing, planting, building, using tools (brushes, spades, scissors…) and most of all thay have learnt how to resolve conflicts, how to be in shared spaces with others, to listen, to come to agreements, to cooperate. They have also become really confident young kids able to speak up if they need to.
It has been a journey of love and mutual discovery, a journey of staying close and present in order to facilitate their first steps away from us and into the world. Now the second seven year cycle begins. Watch this space!