Friday, April 28, 2006

Questions about Enki?

I received an email recently that had some questions about Enki and I thought I would post them here in case other people had the same questions. The mother asking has a child with special needs and had some questions about how the Enki program may help her meet those needs. Her questions are in green, and my replies in yellow.

So for your questions about Enki, let me first start off by saying I love Enki, the philosophy, the combination of styles and the overall "feel" of it speaks to me. If I were to sit down and write my own curriculum it would look a lot like Beth's does, so Im a bit biased. Let me also say that I do wish more of their resources were currently available because Im so anxious to get my hands on the material I need for GM's following year. Your lucky though because your child is the perfect age, all the materials you would need are currently available. :-)

So, the reason I e-mailed you is to find a little more about Enki. I've been checking out their site and really like their philosophies. My question to you is, did you find that they can provide a good enough curriculum or would you suggest blending with other stuff?

For your child's age, yes it is a very good curriculum, the kindergarten actually is a wonderful and magical program. The main reason I supplement is because the resources for second and thrid grade are not available, so I have to work with what I can. The focus for kindergarten is not really academic. Im sure you dont have too many academic concerns for your son right now, it sounds like he has a fire for that already. The focus for kindergarten is in creating rhythm and habits for learning in the coming years. It's about exploring the world through new eyes, and about music and nature, and coming together to form a bond that is really going to help you in the coming years. Making learning a fully positive experience, removing too much expectation of academic checklists and really finding where your child is right now. Beth's curriculum is really a great way to do this. With the Enki program you will get the nature stories (science) the movement (pe, language arts, and some science, as well as therapy) the folk and fairy tales (language arts and developmental support) and the crafts (hands on learning and reinforcement) all in one pack; also of course the teaching guides which are wonderfully written and very helpful. The movement program alone is terrific (order it with the first grade set and save over $50.00) You get the CD's the DVD to learn how to do it and the complete binder filled with the processes, songs and even sheet music. For those of us with special needs kids, the best part is the breakdown of the movements. She has them all charted to show you which part of the brain it is a good stimulator for. So if you want more vestibular you look for the "V" or maybe some tactile or fine motor for handwriting, it says right on it. You save so much research with it and you really are targeting the area that needs the most attention, as well as beginning to better understand where your child may be weak and need more support. I highly recommend it!!

Have you used any of their sensory programs?

Yeah, I kind of went in to this above, but it is a great way to integrate that much needed therapy into the learning and to teach to the whole brain, not just the rote memory. You will begin to notice your child making inferences, and manipulating the knowledge rather than just repeating it like a computer. (If you know what I mean) The Edu-K or BrainGym stuff is very helpful and really helps you to begin to understand your child and how their mind is working. An interesting tid-bit .... My son GM with Aspergers was born with one ear deformed. It isn't major but it is in fact deformed. We thought it was endearing and cute (which it is) and it wasn't until we began our journey through Autism that I learned that the ears are a good sign of how the brain formed. Apparently the ears form in tandem with the brain and a deformity of the ears can (not always, but can) be a sign of brain formation issues. The brain is a machine, magical, but still very much a biological machine. There are ways to work that machine and to stimulate the neurons to help support the weaker areas of the brain. Brain Gym and the movement (sensory integration) exercises will really help you to recognize, via your child's movements, the areas of weakness, and to begin to exercise them. My son still struggles with dominance (right or left handedness) this is a sign of an area that needs support, so we are working on it through movement and exercises; all of which he enjoys and thinks are just part of our family routine.

My son is almost 6 - high functioning autistic with social issues -and so this would only be "kindergarten" but he can do some things at a higher level (can read) and other things - writing - at a much lower level (fine motor skills pretty low)- is it pretty easy with Enki to address different skill levels?

Absolutely. You are choosing the actual things you do, it is not laid out in a day by day format. So you can choose which level you work with him on. For instance my boys are completely different learners, and they are two full years apart, but I can tailor things to match each of them where they are and still help them each grow and expand in a comfortable manner. You are very much the leader and the one who pieces together the day to day lessons. With Enki you just get all the resources you need so you can do this in an easy and well organized way.

Also, are the number blocks you mentioned on your blog Enki or somewhere else? They sound pretty cool.

Actually they are a set of wooden base ten blocks, and not a pert of the Enki resources. We all love them and each child uses them at their own level. GD uses them to show a physical version of a number, while GM uses them to work out some computations. With three kids they are a good investment. I got them at a local teacher supply store and paid probably about $35.00 for a full set of them (includes the 1000 square, the 10's and a lot of 1's).


Coach said...

I've been busy, as usual, and today caught up with your Blissfulness. Posts like this one are wonderful; it's given me a better idea of what all you're doing and it's so damned useful having material like this and being able and willing to share how you've used it. This net thing really is a positive development. The projected May 27 BF commune-documentary party looks like it will be big and fun and reading your blog does make me think how useful a tool it would have been when we began here in 1970. We had a clue or two but lacked the at-your-fingertips accumulated wisdom (etc.) available now. Had we had the Net, well, we'd have known more, I think talked more about what we were doing, and done at least a few things quite differently. Sure, maybe.

APKimberMama said...

Oh, I need those math blocks! We just got Cuisenaire rods and are playing with those, but soon enough we'll need hundreds and thousands.