Whenever she is confronted with first graders, Birgit von der G., primary school teacher, notices the tremendous differences between the pupils: "some are vocally enthusiastic at the prospect of finally being in school, while others sit motionless and look at me anxiously. Some are unable to sit still and listen, while others pay absolutely no attention to what I’m trying to teach them and instead focus intensely on their neighbours..."
Retain children’s inner openness
Birgit von der G. has searched for other ways to educate children besides the conventional ones - ways that would help children to feel good about themselves, so as to enable them to develop their innate talents and derive real pleasure for learning. Gerald Hüther, a German professor of neurobiology, has underscored how important it is for children to "retain their inner openness, their intellectual curiosity, and their desire to create, so that they can become more open and independent – and thus realize their potential." (Hüther, 2012).
In order for a child to develop his talents and abilities, there needs to be a healthy balance between the child’s inner life and his outer environment. Needless to say, a child who is subjected to extreme pressure and who suffers from anxiety or an attention deficit, or a lack of self-assurance, or who has difficulty making friends, is not likely to feel very good about himself. "This anxiety provokes a cerebral chain reaction that undermines the learning process, destabilizes acquired knowledge, and makes it difficult for a child to develop quite simple behavioral strategies at a very early stage.” (Hüther, 2012)
Harmonization has enabled Birgit von der G. to find suitable ways to strengthen pupils’ inner lives and promote their inner well-being. Since 1998, at Löwen Elementary school in Hückeswagen (Germany), where Birgit von der G. has been working until June 2018, pupils aged six to ten have undergone harmonisation at their own request or on the recommendation of their parents or teachers, based on positive word of mouth about harmonisation from their classmates. Once a week, a retired teacher joined Birgit von der G. at the school to harmonise pupils, either during their morning lessons, or after school.
In 2018, Birgit von der G. published a book relating these experiences with Harmonization. Selected elementary school graduates described how they experienced Harmonization by writing it, or illustrating it, or both. This initiative resulted in a collection of 54 children’s documents. Teachers, staff members of German progressive primary schools (referred to in Germany by the acronym OGS) and parents said that they would be willing to describe how they perceive harmonized children.
In the 54 children’s texts about the effects of harmonisation:
- 42 expressed relaxation, rest, calm, quiet.
- 22: harmonisation is "great", "fantastic", "cool", "fun”, "terrific"…
- 16: "I feel better after harmonisation", "I feel good after harmonisation”
- 12: "I get my concentration back", "easier to focus on my homework"…
- 7: “I feel carefree", "I forget all about quarrels", "the best cure for arguments”
- 6: "It fills me with strength", "it makes me strong"
- 4: "I feel asleep more quickly at night", "no more nightmares".
- 3: "I get rid of my soreness or cold", "my back pain went away"
- 3: "I feel drowsy/sleepy after harmonisation session"
- 1: "It gets rid of my anxiety”
- 1: "I feel safe and secure”
According to all reports of Harmonization recipients, their parents and teachers, the process promotes a balanced overall state. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) developed by Joseph Renzulli et Sally Reis provides children with support that will enable them to enthusiastically deal with their academic tasks, as well as tasks that they set for themselves (Renzulli, 2001). The SEM model shows how innate talents and abilities can be translated into achievements. By stimulating children’ balanced overall state and inner peace, Harmonization promotes this process.