I have travelled the path of parenting five children and am a grandmother of six. I am an educator, development consultant, and creative artist. I have wide experience in child development and child rights, and have taught in Steiner early childhood settings and in high schools. I co-founded the first Steiner teacher training college in South Africa in 1985, as well as founded a Steiner school, children centres and community arts projects in Johannesburg. I live in Australia and have taught sessions in Early Childhood at Victoria University. I lead the Nourishing Early Childhood Course at the Steiner Seminar in Melbourne and the Course for Early Childhood Educators in Albert Park. I am also the Education Leader at Ignite Minds Family Daycare.
Background in education
While in South Africa, I worked in disadvantaged communities which were left out of all provision. Later, I was part of the New South Africa’s education system, and had the task to test and develop strategies to build early childhood provisioning for people in informal childcare centres who could not access support or funds. This required education, training and building networks and partnerships across diverse cultures. I noticed and appreciated the constant attempts made by people in dire situations to create cohesion in a fragmented society. I learnt about the African ethical humanistic concept of uBuntu, which means that ‘a person is a person through other people'. I was convinced that this awareness was essential to heal the divisions in society as well as create an environment that would offer young children what they needed to flourish. I began to dream of creating ‘circles of kindness’.
I am passionately concerned that all children should be given appropriate care and nourishment of body, soul and spirit so that they can become resilient and courageous in the face of their future challenges. The wisdom in the African saying “it takes a village to raise a child” resonates profoundly in me. The programs that I run, start with establishing ‘heart spaces’, so that adults involved with children and their development can connect with what it takes to enable children to flourish.
Background in arts
Another powerful and connected pathway in my life was the role the arts played in my development and healing. Early in my life I discovered that by drawing and painting I could not only nurture my heart which was stifling in the arid schooling I received, but also could work through unresolved emotional issues.
Later as an adult and parent, I expanded my art experience to include performance, music and movement. And through these in particular, I uncovered the treasure of working co-operatively in groups, building social cohesion, while supporting personal growth.
I began to use these artistic modalities in various combinations in all facets of my work – in the public sector, in community services, and with parents informally. In working with teams in organisations, such as Action Aid International team, or with Save the Children Fund, the arts were my allies in enabling people to express themselves, communicate, and reach clarity and common understanding about complex concepts.
Now, after years of experience and testing out many different approaches, and as a grandparent, I am clear about who I am and why I am here. I am so much more convinced of the urgent need for Heart Spaces to counter the stresses and alienation in our fast-paced technological age. Heart Spaces uncover what valuable gifts we each have, that are just waiting to be released, given the right conditions.