First of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity to meet you and this method.
I have to admit that this project caught me from the beginning. Immediately I was challenged by its name ”LOVED LIVING ALPHABET”: how can an alphabet be loved and alive? This spontaneous reaction of mine had identified immediately the reason for creating this method. Of course, I had learned letters and then reading and writing in a ”classical” way. Therefore my question was natural. My own experience didn’t enable me to associate learning the alphabet with positive feelings: for me, it has been a ”must”.
Soon after this first question, I was totally fascinated by the coherence of the method, its scientific argumentation, its simplicity and how natural it is. It is exactly how things have to happen.
It's not just about learning the alphabet, it‘s about learning in general, how to help children to learn by themselves and about themselves. The children live a story, identify themselves with the characters, face the challenges, and all of this helps them to develop themselves. They exemplify and tell their own story. It's a process of acquiring knowledge and self-knowledge. In my opinion, the Loved Living Alphabet is more than a story about learning letters. It is an experience for children about how to live and love.
The main scientific aspects that attracted me were: ”No cognition without emotion”, ”Critical phases: Use it or lose it!”, ”Moving from the big picture to the detail / Mexican hat Effect”, ”If a child reacts with hyperactivity, this can be a healthy reaction”, ”Innovation comes from teams”.
Beyond all this, it is an ambitious project, considering the human resistance to change. Teachers could be reluctant because of this (of course, it's again about how the human brain works: it is comfortable with what it knows and takes time to accept changes). I have to admit, I also need time to deepen the method, to practice and to improve my body language in order to become more expressive.
I work with children (including children with special needs, learning difficulties, autism, etc.), parents and teachers for 16 years as a clinical psychologist. In the particular case of the autistic children that already know the alphabet, I can see this project also applied in the opposite direction: we start with what they know (letters) to develop their body language and emotions, their theory of mind and central coherence.
In my opinion, it is a very resourceful, versatile method. I will apply it.
Thank you again for the opportunity to learn. I enter into this project with the desire to implement and develop the presented method.
Our first-year students (freshmen) from the Faculty of Montanology and Engineering of Environmental Protection in Agriculture participated very interested in this seminar of brain-friendly primary education. Their interest has two perspectives: aș future teachers in rural areas and as future parents.
The ingeniousness and creativity of the proposed learning methods are a source of inspiration for these teachers, as the project deals with emotional values, which are important, regardless of the age of the audience.
Through the novelty of its constructive participatory learning approach, we see the success of the project in particular for individualized development in multicultural environments. The method enriches emotionally and cognitively, supports tolerance and orientates towards the things that unite people, irrespectively of the linguistic barriers.
We congratulate the project team and for everyone's benefit we are open to new collaborations.
Children’s mind is like a sponge: it absorbs and stores the information at a high rate. But the way children are able to use the information they store and to apply it in real life, depends a lot on the way the information has been presented to them.
Therefore, I think that the way this method approaches teaching letters, teaching the alphabet, the way it presents the new material, the interactive challenge through which children are lead to discover the letters of the alphabet, ensures a logical, intuitive and also scientific approach.
The images presented to the children are full of versatile meanings: apart from discovering the letters of the alphabet, the images teach friendship, trust, collaboration, love, and they can be the start for developing new topics, new activities.
The children are more interested in what they like or love, in what gives them pleasure, in what makes them happy. So they are most likely to love and enjoy a “lived” alphabet that they discover through the images. The fact that they are challenged all the way through the story to recognize, discover and find meanings, explanations, connections among the characters, this makes them ‘awake’, keeps their interest alive and ensures a conscious, meaningful and practical learning.
This is a platform opportunity for me. I couldn’t be more grateful when Maria asked me to help with other European Nations in the neuroscientific development for teaching school children. This is such a great opportunity because I’m passionate about art and neuroscience and want to become child psychiatrist in the near future.
Hope this project will soon reach out to support great futuristic, intelligent and creative children :)
One year ago I attended the first European training for Brain-Friendly Literacy Coaches at the new project headquarters in Wiednitz, in order to become a certified student-teacher of the neuro-didactic literacy approach. The training has been an unforgettable and deeply impressive experience. I recently finished my Masters of Education at the Humboldt-University in Berlin, but during the course of my studies, I have never learned as much about the recent breakthroughs of neurosciences that Mrs. Lorenz based her method and materials on. I was amazed how accessible this theoretical background immediately is by the manual, which Mrs. Lorenz provided using many examples and illustrations. The most memorable part of the training is certainly the hands-on approach to using the material. Instead of just discussing the new method and material, we were encouraged to choose a letter of the alphabet and apply the theoretical knowledge that we had previously acquired. These practical exercises were carried out with the other attendants playing students and acting as peer-observers who also provided feedback. It was recorded with a video-camera, allowing the participants to reflect on their own performance.
Mrs. Lorenz was always accessible for questions, feedback, and suggestions, and at the same time, she made everyone feel very comfortable and at home at the conference center. The whole experience has been absolutely inspiring and I am looking forward to expand on my training and hopefully become a certified teacher-trainer in this incredibly sensible new approach to alphabetization.
Maria's passion for neuroscience-based learning and education is infectious. You can't spend time on this project without learning something and wanting to know more. Maria is generous with her time, explaining and demonstrating tasks clearly, as well as communicating key neuroscientific concepts and their relationship to child development and education in simple terms which anyone could understand.
All the volunteers we met were incredibly kind and helpful, giving their free time to help my 8-year old daughter mend and ride bikes, cook real French crepes, play badminton and table tennis and watch fun films. Thank you Theresa, Solene, Alin, Pedro, Esther, Alina & Amira and best of luck for the future!
We stayed in a comfortable and spacious room.
The project is amazing and from the first day Maria made sure we learned in a brain-friendly way and brought out the best in us through projects and challenges- some tasks were a big challenge but worth the hard work as the knowledge and message for anyone interested in education today is so important. We feel good having something to share back home with friends and community! Thank you Maria for inviting us to be a part of this wonderful project!
This project not only increases all the precious creative universe we have inside us -which I think is fundamental- but also provides all the scientific theory we need to put it in to practice. I didn't know that I'd love to teach, and I wouldn't discover if it wasn't for María!
I wish I'd spend more days learning more about all the things you've discovered and you're working on.
This experience has enriched my life in so many ways. I couldn't be more grateful.
I loved being a volunteer and having also the opportunity to join this educational project. I really think everyone should learn about this and share it. I've always thought art is the best channel to connect people, to share information, to get to know ourselves.
I hope I can help you change the world ;)
Hugs from the distance.
I stayed for about ten days in September and even if it was a short period, it has been a new and really interesting experience: I was glad to give a help to this educational project doing practical and creative jobs as well. I also had the opportunity to learn a lot of fascinating stuff about neurology thanks to Maria’s great passion and energy she’s giving to this project.
I wish all the best for the success and that the ideas of the project may spread the coming years and I’m sure I will be back again one day!
I really am hopeful that the brain-friendly model of education expands.
Nathan Scarbourrough, educator, 2nd March 2018
The time I spent at Gruenewald Strasse was an amazingly diverse experience, and I had the chance to do a lot of different kinds of tasks. The brain-friendly education was fascinating and I learned a lot and had the chance to participate in a certification process and a short film. I really am hopeful that the brain-friendly model of education expands and informs the wider narrative.
In addition, I had the chance to meet a variety of amazing and wonderful people.
Thank you Maria for this absolutely unique and memorable experience in Saxony, Deutschland!
Passionate about how we can learn better and more creatively.
Ning de Eknamkul, art Student
I spent a week helping to develop innovative learning methods for young children and create a website for the neuroscience-based learning platform. Every afternoon was an opportunity to discuss the art and science of learning and do a creative workshop with drawings and rhymes. This was really fulfilling for me as I’m passionate about how we can learn better and more creatively. Daily bike trips around the countryside featuring wildflowers picking definitely made for an idyllic summer experience.
Once we started I didn't want to stop anymore.
Ricarda Beck, high school graduate
I just loved it! Everything was developed together and that was great. It was not transferring the content of music sheets but „That's me! I make the music!“
It makes you trust in talents you couldn't imagine having.
It's totally different from anything I met.
Current brain research immediately accessible and useful.
If you want to enter new territory, you are in the right place here. The large estate, a former school, in shining anew. But more exciting than the building is meeting a new way of teaching and learning. Maria shows you into the worlds of the current brain research and - most essential - connects it with current needs.
Our children engaged with open eyes and ears. Sensitively and creatively motivating, Maria reacts to the children. And the insight in the neural network she shared with us, was also immediately accessible and useful.
It is amazing in how short a time sustainable effects and impressions became visible.
The materials are colorful, versatile and appealing. Colorful as this entire project. It is appealing to any child, how different ever the uniqueness of each child may be.
The overview is unique.
Imanuel Pedersen high school graduate
I'm a passionate Footballer as well as a passionate reader and I really want to find out, how learning for kids can be improved. I did internships in different places.
I wish my exams would leave me more time to better support this place. It feels I got a lot there.
Alphabet fairytale: a fascinating discovery!
Brigida and Dietmar Kruse, psychologist and Dr.phys
The place is great! A place where kids can still be kids.
If they were not outside proudly using their muscles, cutting bushes - the above 8-year-olds were seized by the opportunities in the painting workshop, created a folder with trees, did 3D drawing, printed, laminated, decorated ... always with the experience, to be useful, to be effective, indispensable. Learning new things and being useful in one felt great! We'll be back soon :)
And for the little one, the interactive alphabet fairytale was a fascinating discovery! She had the feeling "I know that I've already experienced it; this is exciting, this is important for me!" It’s learning with all the senses!!! We are absolutely grateful for the experiences and will definitively come back soon.
It really encourages to excell.
Johanna & Tomas Wolf, Dr.med. and Highschool teacher.
There was something unique about igniting enthusiasm.
In particular, the coordination of mixed age-groups was very good.
We managed a lot in just a few days. Things were well thought and at hand. Also the kids felt personally recognized and proud of themselves.
From the art workshop they took home a very beautiful picture-book still admired by friends.
A really encouraging experience, if you want to excel.
Nothing can stop Maria. Keep going, you can do great things.
Martina Machova, designer
" Maria is such an inspirational and enthusiastic person, always smiling, always positive. I’ve never met someone like her before. Nothing can stop her, even when so many devices were breaking just when we urgently needed them, she was always able to deal with it.
I loved listening to her stories and scientific knowledge. What a beautiful experience and opportunity that was given to me and I am so glad to meet other teachers from around the globe.
The whole course was an enriching experience, I loved the form of teaching children in a way that is effective and also fun (Pinars’ ZigZag Zebra was the best). I wish it worked that way everywhere.
I admire your attitude, keep going, because I know you can do great things.
I am so grateful to participate in this project. Thank you so much!"
Wholehearted devotion responds to whatever is needed.
Dmitrij Kalinicenko, science graduate
" It’s great to experience this wholehearted devotion to making educational innovations for children come true. Creating this place for the respective trainings, Maria’s positive and energetic personality never hesitates to respond to whatever is needed. Rolling up her sleeves for hard physical work is as natural to her as the empathy for personal needs and particularities of the participants.
If you want to practice your German, French or English, this is the right place. Maria not only just speaks with you, but also helps you to find appropriate expressions and explains things in a vivid, practical and easy way.
I very much liked the interesting discussions covering topics of psychology, education, history, similarities and differences between cultures and many more things.
I hugely enjoyed learning here a lot up to the development of the brain (what boys and girls need at which age and why, what makes memory sustainable, etc.). Maria also provides links where the information can be looked up easily again.
Cycling in the amazing rural outdoors and being taken to Dresden and to Berlin, these are fascinating highlights of my stay.
Thank you very much for providing the delicious homemade food and plenty of a living space!
It was an excellent diverse and encouraging experience.
I wish this place many future developments in fair innovative education and that it were ready for educational purposes by many truly engaged volunteers.