Natural Learning Relationships Master Level Certification

At Summa Institute we help professionals in education to develop and transform lives through the power of learning. We are a center for creative change.

Graduates of the Natural Learning Relationships Master Level Certification program are authorized to use Natural Learning Relationships whole-child development in all professional endeavors with the exception of teaching Natural Learning Relationships seminars, workshops, and/or similar programs for commercial gain.

The Graduate level certificate can be completed in one semester (approximately 3 months).

Graduates gain knowledge and proficiency in the following:
1. Creating school culture and team building: involves an overview of theories including underlying paradigm assumptions, history, context, comparison of theories, differences between approaches (e.g., pathology vs well-being), and the antecedents to the optimal well-being and holistic views.

  • Creating school culture; team building; common goals; common values
  • Reductionism vs. emergence
  • Collegial relationships: teacher to teacher
  • What is a relationship based educational environment?

2. Human Development and Natural Learning Relationships: emergent systems, contextual influences, developmental contextualism.

  • Natural Learning Relationships—emergent developmental contextual view of whole-child development in optimal well-being
  • How does perception (of self and world) change throughout childhood? What is optimal well-being for the child in each stage of childhood? How do children organize their world at different ages of their lives? Based on the principle that capacities are innate but development occurs in relationship, this section examines the kinds of relationships that bring forth optimal well-being in children.
  • Using Natural Learning Relationships whole-child developmental model we will explore how humans are dynamic systems with a biological unfolding in a constant feedback loop with the environment.
  • Being vs. performance
  • How adults develop with children:
    • Processes of adult development
    • Change in the direction of Wisdom
    • Self-development of the educator; teacher/student bidirectional development.

3. Family Dynamics and student success: Relationship with a student’s family is essential to student success.

  • Family systems, cultural differences, meaning structures of each family, family as a synergy of relationships—each person is their own sub-system while interacting in the family system as a whole.
  • Family is the context in which attitudes are formed and then expressed in the community, future relationships, and in subsequent families that the child will grow into.
  • Teacher/parent relationships and family relationships

4. Assessment and portfolios

  • Project Based Learning, multi-age learning
  • Regular observation, documentation, reflection, dialogue, and conferences
  • Support learning during the learning process
  • Modify teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment
  • Involves qualitative feedback (rather than scores)
  • Improves learning outcomes: by reflecting on growth that has taken place as well as to identify areas that require further learning

5. Discipline - bringing out-of-balance situations back into balance

  • Guidance to appropriate behavior; remedying out-of-balance situations in each classroom environment
  • Restorative justice discipline

6. Practical Applications: applications of developmental understanding to classroom environments

  • Applied Developmental Science:
    • Observation skills
    • About skillful Fieldwork
    • Experiential Learning
  • Positive communication: making of social relationships
  • Community relationships
  • Experience and meaning-making
  • Supporting academic excellence

Summa Teacher Training program is a certificate program that brings forth excellence in educators whether you are already an educator or aspiring to become one. The Summa program can give you an added career advantage and offers opportunities for networking. Summa Institute is thoroughly committed to your success.


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