Children at the Heart of Things

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

With what is your child living?

Excerpted from Dorothy Law Nolte’s poem “Children Learn What They Live”

There is a place in Toronto where children live with and learn about heart wisdom, respect, harmony and compassion.

"Children are gifts to the world, naturally creating compassion and peace when given the space to do so,” shares Sandra Moon Dancer, B.Sc., M.H.Sc., founder and executive director of Centre of Circle Wisdom

The Centre of Circle Wisdom is a unique sanctuary in the heart of downtown Toronto offering energy medicine workshops, retreats, healing sessions and children's programming.  Founded by Sandra Moon Dancer, an urban shaman, inspirational speaker, teacher and energy healer, the centre gives space for children to learn, grow, and rejoice in who they are.  They connect with their heart wisdom and a larger universal spirit.

At the centre, traditional indigenous teachings are gracefully woven with the realities of modern day living. Julie Devaney, acclaimed author and speaker, describes Circle Wisdom as a place “where you can find your feet on the earth while honouring your place in the city.”

“In the spirit of international peace, the children of summer 2012 camp, each created and gifted beautiful dream catchers for The Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. One child's ripple of love celebrating a Grandmother reveals the interconnectedness of all people. These actions are transformative and powerful," describes Sandra Moon Dancer.  

The Tribal Children’s camps and the Goddess Girls camps run every summer. The weeklong programs involve singing, drumming, dancing, creative expression and Mother Earth teachings.  Children’s laughter resonates through the beautiful light-filled space of Circle Wisdom.   

The programs have been described as “so much more than just an ordinary camp experience,” by a mother of a camper. The camps do far more than teach skills and foster friendships. They create a heart space to celebrate, explore and honour each child's spirit. They preserve the wonder and zest of childhood in a way that is a rare find.

Hallie Switzer, one of the camp’s counselors, says, "The Goddess Girls and Tribal Children camp is something really different. They offer the purest feeling of love and support. At this camp, no one is judging you; people care about you and what you have to offer. Everyone belongs, and that is a beautiful thing.”

Throughout the course of the camps, each child is taught to express who they are in whatever way feels right and they are given the tools to listen to their inner spirit. “I learned to speak from my heart,” says Darius, a 4-year-old boy and Tribal Children camper.

The children also develop an understanding of their sacred relationship with other people and Mother Earth. They cultivate an appreciation for the interconnectedness of life, which is crucial in today’s society that often emphasizes the need for individuality and separateness.

Parents are wowed by how this is taught and what their children bring back. One camper’s mother says, "Michau was enthralled with the camp. She came home giving me snippets of wisdom to appreciate the life force in nature from an acorn to a mighty tree. I feel it is very beneficial for my daughter's emotional and creative growth." 

What the children learn at these camps is beyond anything that is being taught in classrooms. Here, children’s heart wisdom is nurtured and respected in a way that develops their truth.  Their vision of peace expands.


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