Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mom to Mom: Josette Luvmour

Children love games, but can feel hurt, embarrassed or rejected when they lose and I wonder about the effects that losing has on a child's self-esteem. I remember reading a book many years ago that mentioned the non-competitive games of Aboriginal people of Australia and the Inuit people of the Arctic, and it left quite an impression on me. I remember thinking about how different our society has become, and how some games today are down right violent. What purpose does the "I'm better than you" message of winning truly serve? Does it nurture a sense of unity,equality, community or foster a sense of separateness and division? Recently some teachers have observed that the competition seen in win/lose games leads to aggressive behavior and have since begun instituting cooperative games into the class room. Cooperative games foster a sense of pride and teamwork, and have even been used as a tool to resolve conflict. I am interested in games that promote acceptance rather than rejection.

That said, you can imagine my delight when I discovered the book, "Everyone Wins! Cooperative Games and Activities" by Josette and Ba Luvmour.

I was so inspired after reading her book, I knew I needed to chat with her. I'm quite pleased to introduce Josette Luvmour.

Mom: Josette Luvmour, M.A.
Mother of: Amber (32)
Grandmother of: Ruby Ann (2 1/2)
Where: Portland, OR
Encompass Institute

1. In what ways has becoming a mother changed you?

Motherhood changed me in every way conceivable. In 1975 I gave birth to my daughter at the age of twenty-five. It was a home-birth. More precious and pure than anything I had ever seen, she was a manifestation of the sacred. Becoming a mother changed my purpose and meaning in life to one dedicated to optimal well-being in children and families. After the birth of my daughter, I went back to school to finish by Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, went on to receive my Master’s Degree in Human Development, and currently work toward my Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Systems. My dissertation research explores the dynamics of how the child affects adult development when the adult has learned about child development and follows through with nurturing the child’s developmental needs. More specifically, how the interrelationship of nurturing the child’s developmental needs leads to the emergence of new meaning, self-knowledge, and development in the adult. I will conduct my dissertation research in 2008 and hope to finish by the year end.

2. What is one tip you would like to share about mothering?

There are many tips I would like to share:
  • Take the time in life to learn about child development
  • Change with your child
  • Dedicate yourself to nurturing your child’s developmental needs
  • You will find that you grow and change as much as your child(ren)
  • (e.g., nurturing the child’s development leads to the emergence of new meaning, self-knowledge, and adult development).
As one mother recently said to me, “I don't know, who got more out of raising my child with child development in my parenting practices, my daughter or I? We both got a lot out of it.”

3. What is your creative medium?

Writing, fabric arts, dancing, yoga, and time walking in nature. I have been creating fabric arts for over 30 years. As a medium of expression nothing can top the endless creations that can be made from fabrics and then gifted to those I love.

4. How do you juggle/orchestrate your creative life and motherhood?

I consider the whole endeavor of motherhood to be that of service (the highest offering).
Motherhood is the most important job there is. For it is nothing less than creating the appropriate for the formation of consciousness of another human being. Nothing compares.

5. What inspired you to write your book, "Cooperative Games"?

Children inspire me. The innocence of a child inspires love beyond compare. I am inspired by the delight of the child’s discovery of life. My dedication is to continue to offer children, and the family context in which children grow, the best opportunities for a healthy life.

6. What are some of the benefits of cooperative games?

The greatest benefit of cooperative games is the healthy emotional development of the child. Children want and need emotional connection and learn from the modeling of the adults around them. Trust is the key to the child assimilating new information in a positive way. When adults cooperate, children trust and learn by example. Knowledge of the world and of ourselves is formed from direct experience. The strength of direct experience of cooperation in play helps children learn to adapt and make better choices toward a more fulfilling life.

The social benefit of children learning about cooperation in the medium of play leads to social justice. Children who experience themselves as socially valuable throughout their childhood feel trust and have the greatest likelihood of facilitating the transition to a socially just world.

7. What is one surprising fact that you learned while doing the fieldwork for your book?

During each age of childhood connection, understanding, and appreciation of life deepens. Children begin the social process with bonding, play, and innocence. Around 9 years of age, children move to a new level with feeling empathy with the feelings of others that call forth the formation of ethics, justice, and fairness. Teenagers build on this by insisting on the right to choose and the importance of loyalty. This establishes individual liberty, a powerful addition to social membership. Young adults feel interconnected and are tolerant of diversity. During this age, the realization dawns that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must include all people. When these natural capacities are developed in childhood, it is not whether a person participates, but how.

8. Please tell us a little about the EnCompass Institute?

EnCompass Institute is where schools and families intersect to achieve optimal well-being.

Our Mission is to provide students and their families the opportunity to achieve optimal well-being through whole-family experiential learning, elementary and adult education, and research in the Pacific Northwest.

Our Vision is a nation of communities, families and children strengthened through the experience of optimal well-being and capable of changing the world.

EnCompass Institute is comprised of three interrelated parts:

  • The Family and Professional Development Center will provide experiential learning and parent education for the parents of the children attending the Lab school and for families in the wider Portland and Northwest community. It will also provide well-being-based teacher training and professional development for those working with children.
  • The Lab School will use curriculum based on Natural Learning Rhythms, multiple intelligences, and the best of current pedagogical research, to serve 100 children ages 6-12. It will also provide a learning environment for teacher training and professional development.
  • The Research Unit will create and execute research projects, analyze and publish the results, and allow the Institute to continuously refine and improve its practices and curriculum. This dedication to best practices and objective research will greatly improve our ability to replicate our model in other places.
Our Business: We facilitate our mission and vision through fresh insights in parenting and child development based on 20 years of research and fieldwork, whole-family experiential learning and community support.

Natural Learning Rhythms, a powerful approach that combines the best of child development and family dynamics is the foundation of all our programs. It enables parents to understand the psychological, emotional and physical components to optimal well-being in children. When adults meet the developmental needs of a child, blocks to the adult’s own well-being can dissolve as well. The family system flourishes

9. Lastly, what grounds you, inspires you, fills your well?

In order of importance:
  • Playing with my granddaughter
  • Reflection in quiet solitude
  • Inspirational reading
  • Communication with my husband/partner/colleague/friend
  • Quiet walks in Nature

One last word:

"Family is the heart of humanity. For over twenty-six years I have worked to design whole-family learning experiences for anyone with children in their lives—to discover the Natural Learning Rhythms in development for the benefit and well-being of future generations."

Enjoy the children!


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posted by Wendy at 5:34 AM


Blogger denise said...


We'll have to check out that book. We like cooperative games here, and having some more ideas is great.

9:57 AM  

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