by Gabriela Castro Wedel
Creating a better world
The creation of Palmaïa, following sustainable and eco-conscious practices, was driven by the vision and commitment of wanting to leave a better world for future generations, and every detail and aspect of the resort has been designed to maintain this vision.
We believe through AïA’s principles of natural inclusion and participation, that every individual is part of our collective and contributes enormously to it, regardless of age, race, or gender, making The House of AïA a welcoming community where children are considered to be essential members.
Children look up to adults for guidance, but who better than kids to teach us about reconnecting with all of which we have lost on the way to adulthood? With their never-ending curiosity, inherent innocence, and purity of heart, they marvel at the natural world that surrounds us in ways that we adults might have already forgotten.
So when the time came to define a concept for Palmaïa’s kids’ club, it was only natural for it to be a place where children could thrive and be nurtured following the same principles that guide us. And that’s how a Waldorf-inspired holistic center for children became a perfect choice.
Family time priorities
This past year has certainly turned our worlds upside down, but it has also taught us the importance of the family unit and given families time to slow down, regroup and really sit back and cherish each other’s company.
More than ever, we see a growing need for spaces and opportunities to safely gather and connect, not just as individuals, but as entire families, to rest, detox, heal, and reset; spaces that, instead of just offering an ordinary vacation, allow for meaningful and transformative experiences.
Parents who cultivate a mindful lifestyle also share their world views and practices with their kids, so we understand how it becomes necessary to also bring a holistic approach into the activity program for the little ones. This is how Awen is born.
Palmaïa offers both parents and kids their own holistic experiences, where adults can dive deep into the Architects of Life personal growth program, while children can enjoy their own space and activities at Awen.
Progressive thinking at Awen
As Palmaïa’s holistic child center, Awen is a space dedicated exclusively to nurturing the little ones with a completely new and cutting edge activity program based and inspired on the principles of Waldorf education and anthroposophy, which centers around the idea that children’s spirituality, morals and creativity need as much attention as their intellect.
Waldorf education guards the utmost respect and appreciation for children, nurturing them so that they can grow into adults with great social skills and spiritual values. This pedagogical vision takes into account the different stages of child development, putting as much attention to the psychological and physical development, as well as the spiritual one.
One of the first things you’ll notice at Awen is that it’s a device-free area, an idea that might seem radical to some, but aims to facilitate the return to a child’s natural state.
Laura Díaz, certified in Waldorf education, leads our group of qualified child care professionals, who ensure kids have an optimal experience with spaces and activities both indoor and outdoor, according to their age group.
The program, designed for kids 3 to 12 years old, respects their natural rhythms, allowing time and freedom for things like eating, sleeping and playing, while working on developing their volition through participation, nurturing their curiosity for the natural world and their creativity and artistic abilities through experimentation, all in a safe environment.
Daily activities and rituals are carried out in a respiratory rhythm, practicing containment activities followed by expansion activities. You might find them baking bread, planting a herb garden, singing songs, taking naps, treasure hunting, drawing mandalas in the sand, etc. These all serve a purpose, to get a deeper knowledge of themselves, and later in life, to have the possibility of conquering freedom.
Why parents love it
Families who’ve stayed at Palmaïa have felt so inspired by what we do here with the little ones, that have returned home and have immediately transferred their kids to Waldorf schools. That’s how big an impact it has on them!
Within the program, there’s a 1-hour talk every Friday where parents are given tools from this pedagogical and anthroposophic vision, so that they can implement them at home. Also, thanks to all the experience and sensitivity our teachers already have, they’ve been able to talk with open and receptive parents when situations have arisen, leading to very interesting conversations, reading suggestions, and advice-giving.
Almost in disbelief, parents see their kids completely focused, interested, and dedicated to Awen’s activities, which gives them the peace of mind of knowing their kids are in good hands, and the necessary space to focus on their own journeys here at Palmaïa.