What do you do for a living?
A few months ago my friend Pamela Burwinkel and I started the 100th monkey. A creative and conscious community for children & parents. We offer various classes like art, dance & meditation for children and parents or together. And we also organize inspiration evenings about parenthood, different courses and sharing circles for parents. We had a pop-up studio and now it's time for a permanent studio so we hope to open our doors soon in 2018.
Why did you start studying Orthopedagogical Sciences?
Because I have always been interested in the emotional life of human beings and in particular those of children. The question; why some children develop themselves in a completely different way than their brothers or sisters with the same upbringing intrigued me.
In our opinion, essential elements are missing at schools such as: learning how to cope with your emotions and discovering your talents. And I believe that this is the moment to make the world a better place.
How did you come up with the concept of The 100th Monkey?
The past years Pamela and I ran a practice in the field of educational support. As remedial educationalists, we saw that little attention was devoted to the emotional level of the child. As a result of the current pressure to perform at school more and more children showed symptoms of stress and fear of failure. In our opinion, essential elements are missing at schools such as: learning how to cope with your emotions and discovering your talents. Our motivation to want to change this is conceived out of this. And I believe that this is the moment to make the world a better place.
The vision of The 100th Monkey is to build a conscious and creative community for parents and their children. Can you tell me more about that?
In this hectic society, I believe that it is important to rediscover our true nature. In this, I actually mean to follow our hearts instead of our minds. The 100th Monkey stimulates children through creativity, movement or relaxation in an accessible way to discover who they truly are. In this way, children become more resilient and can share their true talents with the world. Besides, we want to break taboos around parenthood and inspire parents.
The 100th Monkey stimulates children through creativity, movement or relaxation in an accessible way to discover who they truly are.
What makes The 100th Monkey unique?
It is the place where parents and children find a connection with each other and where a location is offered for them to be themselves. A place where children learn how to express themselves based on their feelings instead of their knowledge, performances or average results. During the classes it is not about the highest or lowest result, everything is welcome and may be seen. And at the 100th Monkey parents can unwind and at the same time be inspired.
How would you describe your favorite class with kids and parents?
That must be our parent & child meditation class. During this class parents and children meditate together by practicing various visualization techniques and creative assignments. A class where the child, as well as the parent, are learning, which enables them to see that they are equal instead of different. Those surprised faces of the children when they see that their parents also still need to learn certain things gives me a smile on my face.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that if a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.
What five items would you put in an empty classroom?
Rugs so children can work on the floor
Easel boards to paint
Plants to take care of and for some extra oxygen
Corner with cushions and books to relax
What do you like most about working with children?
Their receptivity to the world around them. As an adult, I can take this as an example! It makes me happy to see how they are surprised by the littlest things, how pure they are in contact with others and their sense of humor. They actually reconnect me to my inner child, and that makes me happy every day.