D4 Expressions

Expressions of Understanding

Expressions of Understanding are personal attempts to represent and communicate to others the deep significance of the experience of listening to each other’s Learning Stories and reflecting on the change that has happened to them by completing the four modules of Connecting to Children.

A Series of Overlays by Noriko Kuriyama

A Personal Story by Melana Allison

When my son was very young, I developed a resentment of the demands on me that motherhood had brought. My time was not mine anymore. Everything I did involved him, and I had to consider him in everything. Although being a mother is the most amazing thing I have ever done, I didn’t start out knowing how to do it. It has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life.
My son has a strong will. He knows what he wants. He takes after his mother. We were quick to fall into the typical power struggles. The problem, I now realize, was my inability to talk with him. I didn’t understand why he was doing the things he was doing, and I didn’t know how to take the conflict out of our relationship.
The first thing that began to change was starting to teach at his school, the Cooperative Children’s Center where he had been enrolled for 2 months. The Co-op is a wonderful place where a community of families and caregivers strive everyday to provide a safe, respectful, nurturing environment for children.
Now I bring what I have learned in these Modules to the Co-op. I am not only a more effective and loving caregiver to the children in my class, I have an improved and enriched relationship with my son. I can now provide a fun learning environment for all “my” children, while teaching them to be respectful of themselves and the people and world around them.
It has been a long time since I felt out of control. Being with children is now the amazing experience I always dreamed it would be.

Poem by Rumiko Kurosawa

There is a growing flower
Hoping to bloom brightly many times in the world

There is a growing flower
Standing rigid when heavy winds blow

There is a growing flower
Where the rains and soil bring nourishment

There is a growing flower
Where the bees and butterflies pollinate surrounding flowers

There is a growing flower
Where the heat and light of the sun causes the petals to open wide

There is a grown flower
Beautifying the whole world


Letter to Tony by Marlene Vasquez

Marlene wrote this to the child in her class that she worked with on the D4 Project of Understanding. She read this to the group with tears streaming down her cheeks.

Dear Tony,
Hi! This is Teacher Marlene. I wanted to write this letter to you to say how happy I am to be in the same classroom as you. You have brought a lot of new experiences for me. Both of us have been working to learn new ways in taking initiative and cooperating. I have learned to change my way of talking to you and also to have patience. You are a big part of our community.
I want to say thanks to your mommy for working with me and with the other teachers here. We still have the rest of the year to continue to learn new things.
Teacher Marlene


Tempera paintings by Kimiko Hihara.

My feeling when working with children before
My feeling when working with children before
my feeling after Connecting to Children
my feeling after Connecting to Children

Final Thoughts

“Someone once told me the functions of a teacher are to inform, model, and respond positively. Now I know how. Teaching young children has become a spiritual practice for me, and the depth of that transformation cannot be understated. I find myself becoming a facilitator for their connection with the web of life that we share. It has been an amazing journey. Thank you.”

“I take from this a confidence that I can make a difference.”

“I feel as though I just became a part of an exploration into the deep understanding of humankind. Children are a lot more capable than if first gave them credit for. I am now able to step back when a child asks for help, and every single time they have been able to solve the problem on their own somehow. These understandings feel like gifts I want to give to everyone.”

“The enlightenment and awareness I have gained has been a transformation to my life.”

Speaking through tears, a teacher said, “My job is so much easier now, but more importantly, we, all of us, are empowering the children.”

“I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to take these modules. I know I will be a better teacher in the years ahead because of these valuable ideas.”

“This has not only made me an effective and loving caregiver to the children in my class, it has improved and enriched my relationship with my son and my skills as a parent.”

“I can now provide a fun learning environment for all my kids and teach them to be respectful of themselves and the people and things around them.”

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