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Natural Learning Relationships

Natural Learning Relationships (NLR) describes in detail the psychological, emotional, and physical components of optimal well-being and how these emerge within each stage of childhood in relationship to context. To help children develop their full potential, it is important for us to value and understand how children develop and grow. To know a child’s capacities and potentialities at each level of development gives us the power to relate to that child’s natural capacities.

Natural Learning Relationships (NLR) offers us an understanding of “the child’s view”, and how we grow through different knowing fields or stages of development from in-utero through age 23. The value of this knowledge provides a pathway to accessing well-being within a context of self-actualization for our species.

This view suggests that people who possess well-being also grow in adaptive abilities, life-satisfaction, a sense of personal meaning in life, insights, sound judgment, and the ability to amplify the positive effects of emotional awareness and intelligence. In a state of well-being, people have the potential to access wisdom.

Wisdom truly knows no age, and children have been known to reveal simply deep concepts that often surprise the adults who may not yet embrace the process of natural learning. When children are nourished with what they most require from their environment with observant, loving adults there is a state of consciousness through the relationship that is not operating top down, but more from the heart center. Children seen this way become our teacher as we become more aware of the unfolding nature of whole person intelligence that includes the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual.

Natural Learning Relationships opens people to connecting:

    • social justice in children

    • how trust develops

    • importance of interconnection

    • relationship-based education

    • restorative approaches to discipline 

    • healing any wounds you have from your childhood in the context of family relationships.


Becoming aware of this approach to learning provides a grounded appreciation that children will naturally unfold from the inside out when at different stages of development their needs are met. There are five stages of development that are helpful to observe.

The evolution of consciousness through childhood:

  1.  Archaic—(0-utero) boundary-less, unity without awareness

  2. From Magical (birth – 8) I (subject) am the center of the world (object) and the world (object) is an extension of my body

  3. To Mythical (9 – 12) with awareness of death. Rules of the community (tribe) become important, and values and morals form in relationship to others.

  4. To Mental – self-as-autonomous (13 – 18) appearance of a will to form an individual identity and express an individuated self, during the teen years. In adolescence, the child is able to differentiate her social self (object) from her inner self (subject) and begins to engage reflective self-awareness.

  5. Integral – self-as-interconnected, global perspective (19 – 23) Time-freedom is achieved through integration of all previous temporal forms. This integration is one of the capacities of the Reasonable Being stage of development. The integrated individual has the actualized the capacity to form substantive values that endure through time, to step into the perspective of others, to engage the process of making new-meaning throughout life in relationship to the context of his world.

A key insight is that the stages of development of the child’s consciousness recapitulate the evolution of the consciousness of the species, not the awareness, because awareness has no evolution.

NLR has evolved through the work brought to the world by Ba and Josette Luvmour who         have been mentors to thousands of people: parents, teachers, administrators as well as students over the past 40 years. They have founded three schools, and a holistic learning center for families and children. Together they produced and hosted the popular podcast series, Meetings with Remarkable Educators. and have written numerous books that share the insights they have discovered first hand from their experiences. 

Register here for their upcoming workshops, cafe conversations and courses.


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