A village of relationships that inspire potential.
Have you ever experienced a profound human connection with a person who brought the best out of you?  

What did he or she bring to the relationship?  How did he or she take care of you?  What obstacles did you overcome?  What did you learn or accomplish that was previously unattainable?  How did it make you feel?  Could there be a more inspiring way to learn and grow?

The kind of experience that these questions bring to mind illustrates the heart of relationship inspired learning.  Our mission is to deliver world-class learning environments for one person to cultivate better relationships and to grow more potential.

How do we intend to deliver this kind of learning?

Our theory of practice grows from eight principles of "relationship inspired" learning.  The eight principles were built on two keystone assumptions:

First Assumption: The best context for learning is always the context of relationship.

The founder of cultural-historical psychology, Lev Vygotsky described one component of the optimal learning context as a relationship between a less-experienced learner and a more experienced learner.  Gordon Neufeld, author of Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers, describes the prime context for maturity as one where a less mature person attaches to a more mature person who takes responsibility for the relationship.

The first four guiding principles for our learning environments are built upon these bedrock developmental perspectives.  The following are the first four relationship inspired learning principles:

1) People learn best when attached to a more-experienced learner.

2) People learn best when maturity is cultivated with a more-experienced learner.

3) People learn best when autonomy is supported by a more-experienced learner.

4) People learn best when positivity is reinforced by a more-experienced learner.

Second Assumption: The best environment for learning is one that inspires with meaningful content.

David Ausubel, the developmental psychologist and cognitive learning theorist, focused his life work on understanding meaningful learning.  Ausubel found that meaning is created in the learning process through any form of representational content that connects directly with a learner's real experience.  The content can be language, signs, symbols, concepts, or propositions that directly relate to the learners' experience.

Relationship inspired learners receive or discover meaningful content that inspires, stimulates curiosity, supports mastery, and invites responsibility.  These are the final four relationship inspired learning principles:

5) People learn best when inspired by meaningful content.

6) People learn best when curiosity is activated by interaction with meaningful content.

7) People learn best when mastery of meaningful content is required.

8) People learn best when responsibility is given for innovation of meaningful content.

World-class learning environments are created when learners are given the opportunity to experience meaningful content in the context of a supportive relationship with a more-mature learner.  Guided by the eight relationship inspired learning principles we exist to grow a world of inspiring relationships one world-class learning environment at a time.

What is obvious?
  • Your child is…
  • Not sleeping well
  • Not getting assignments finished at school
  • Losing friends
  • Getting in fights
  • Telling you to F___ off!
  • Not coming at night
  • Coming home drunk or high
These behaviours are obvious.  Why children activate these behaviours is not obvious.  They require looking beneath the surface.
In the past few years, these four authors have helped us look beyond the obvious:
1) Gordon Neufeld, PhD
Dr. Neufeld's approach uses the words "stuck" and "challenging behaviour" for the obvious.  He uses words like attachment, maturity, and vulnerability to help parents and caregivers look beyond the obvious.

Gordon's book Hold On To Your Kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers (co-authored with Gabor Maté, MD) has become an instant parenting classic.  It will help you see the broad panorama of developmental factors that relate to common childhood problems.

2) Gabor Maté, MD 
We already introduced Dr. Maté with the book he co-authored with Dr. Neufeld.  Check out three more of his ground-breaking works:  In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close encounters with addiction, Scattered Minds: The origins and healing of attention deficit disorder, and When The Body Says No: The cost of hidden stress.    

We are looking forward to hosting Dr. Maté at our inaugural 2015 Alberta Family Works Conference in Red Deer, October 27-28, 2015.

Watch his Ted Talk on the power of addiction below:
2) Ross Greene, PhD 
Ross Greene boldly announces on the Lives in the Balance website, "How you think about and treat behaviorally challenging kids is about to change for good!"

Despite the appearance of overkill, Dr. Greene's approach has been profound in our work at Heritage Family Services.  We require every one of our staff to view his DVD recorded seminar: Explosive, Noncompliant, Disruptive, Aggressive Kids: What works, what doesn't and how to turn it around.

He provides tons of free resources.  One of our favourites is the Bill of Rights for Behaviorally Challenging Kids.  It's a must read, must reflect on, must apply kind of document.
2) Jennifer Kolari, MSW, RSW 
Jennifer's CALM approach, an acronym for the simple mirroring steps that she recommends, provides a new framework for parents and caregivers to respond to their child's behavioural challenges.  She also provides valuable perspective on reinforcing boundaries without eroding self-esteem.

Her two hour presentation via TVO Parents is one of our team's most watched.  Check it out below:

    The Relationship Inspired Learning & Development Blog

    Welcome to a village of moms, dads, and supporting professionals who share expertise, experience, support and encouragement in the vital role of inspiring potential in children.


    March 2015