by Tomasso Lana, creator of the Embodied Learning Program, multidisciplinary experiential team building program for adults that enhances communication and collaboration skills through sensory play, movement, and imagination.
I graduated in 2002 from the University of Milan, Italy, with a master's thesis in history about children of immigrant families who had been unrecognized social change-makers. Since then, I've been developing collaborative learning methods for adults inspired by children's innate adaptive learning abilities. Between 2005 and 2008, I worked as manager of visitors services, teaching artist, and facilitator at the permanent interactive exhibit "Experience Field for The Development of The Senses," Wiesbaden, Germany. This groundbreaking formative experience within the realm of sensory learning inspired the beginning of Embodied Learning as a company. "I couldn't gather all organizations, teams, and communities on Earth in one single place to impact the way we all relate, interact, and work together. I needed to go to them, listen to their needs, and let them try things out."
After serving educators across Europe for over a decade, I moved to NYC in 2017 to spread Embodied Learning across North America. Since then, I have worked with the Google Children Centers, the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, the Children's Center at Caltech, the three NYC library systems, LAPL, the YMCA, and many more.
Based on my personal journey, and after observing, analyzing, and stressing the behavior of adults in that interactive museum environment in Germany, I had an idea: "What if every adult has a talent that hasn't been nurtured – and they need to tap back into memories of playing around in the yard as a child to learn how to use it?" "Children are unique, talented individuals – and they all learn by doing. Overthinking is an adult problem. Children use their bodies to perceive, sense, and move through life, while as adults, we try to think or speak our way through life. Somewhere along the way, we lose the ability to learn by using bodily skills that were innate to us once before."
It sounded like I had a mission: Supporting adults in exploring learning as a physical and emotional act and fostering an authentic, collaborative relationship between teacher and learner, adults and children.
Why is it important for adults to embody children's autonomous learning processes?
It's a self-rewarding and motivating process: to be happy and successful educators, we need to understand, almost embody, who we are teaching. We have to travel across children's physical, emotional, creative, and fantastic journey to reconnect with children's forms of play, non-verbal languages, social competence-related experiences, and discoveries. What can we learn from children? Are we ready to learn from children?
How does it work?
An in-person 2-hour workshop with Embodied Learning is a fun, interactive, dynamic experience involving sensory development, motor learning, and creative and collaborative learning. There are no tables or chairs or digital devices in the room. Adults use simple, zero-budget materials and interactions with other colleagues to build rewards and motivation through discoveries from the world of children's autonomous learning. Educators rediscover why they chose to teach as a professional career. Educators review how to approach learners/children and welcome their discoveries.
Photos & Videos
Here is my video series, Embodied Learning at Home, created for families trapped in their apartments during the pandemic: https://www.youtube.com/embodiedlearning
Photos are attached.
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