How did you come up with the idea for Enchanted Wonders Cards?
Enchanted Wonders™ was set up in 2012 with the aim to create a method of work and educational tools for parents, care takers and teachers which will encourage children to ask questions and explore. All we want to do, is to give them the encouragement and the free space to continue their path of exploration without forcing them into our norms and conventions.
After publishing an iBook about creativity and imagination for children (Enchanted Wonders – Butterfly’) we wanted to create another activity book. However, we noticed that after, and during yoga classes, children get to explore a festival of emotions – from feeling peaceful and happy to frustration and anger. We wanted to create an opportunity for children to express themselves and explore whatever is rising up in their minds and hearts during a yoga session. This led to a deeper research and lots of conversations with many experts which resulted in changing the focus of our project from just creativity and imagination to using yoga as a tool to elevate self-expression in children, exploring creativity and developing imagination. This is how the Enchanted Wonders A-Z cards were born and so far, the feedback is amazing.
Tell us about the process of developing the cards?
After the initial research and bouncing ideas with educators and professionals who work with children, we came up with the first draft of the cards. For a whole year we shared and explored the different ways of using the cards with almost 100 families. We handed out the cards with no instructions or game suggestions and based on the feedback we received, we created the final version. Some of the feedback related to the questions we used, some to colour scheme and illustrations, but the most interesting thing was finding out that most adults felt a bit lost without having any instructions or game suggestions . Children, on the other hand, found their own way of playing and exploring the cards and came up with their own suggestions for games, some of which are included in the product today.
How do the cards can be used to develop children’s skills?
Our working assumption is that there are no rights or wrongs in a child’s answer. If children will feel safe and comfortable, they will have the confidence to express what they feel or think and to explore the world around them. If a child talks about a zebra with orange stripes, we don’t think we should jump in and correct them. So we want to create opportunities for children to enhance their ability to express their thoughts and ideas by engaging them in a conversation with either an adult or other child, no matter how abstract and imaginary the conversation is. The point is that we are there, as well as the child, to learn and explore. The Enchanted Wonders A-Z cards engage children by using playful open questions on each of the cards, making reference to the cards’ whimsical illustrations and suggesting creative play. The beauty is that even though you keep using the same 36 cards, you reach a different outcome every time.
What does your workshops for parents involve
Our workshops for parents involve a myriad ways of getting in touch with our own creative mind through the practise of yoga. We are all born creative and curious, and the understanding that whatever we know is good enough, can give us a permission to continue our exploration out of curiosity and not from a place of insecurity. We get to meet many parents who constantly feel that they don’t know enough, and they are not good enough parents. We want to share our experience and tools with all parents so that they feel comfortable with what they know and by that, almost like magic, they can give permission to themselves to tune back into their own creativity and curiosity.
What can people expect from your upcoming family workshop?
To start with, I will suggest they have no expectation.
I think expectations create lots of stress and tension, especially if you are doing a joined activity with your child.
I would advice parents just to stay present and welcome whatever is happening at the workshop. We will play yoga, sing, explore partner yoga, get a bit silly and then get a bit silly more, ask questions, talk, create some time for mindfulness activity, delicious relaxation and we will end with making blessing jars. Different emotions will surely rise up during the workshop but it sounds very tempting to me.
View Ayala’s teaching schedule.