Definitions of terms we use everyday at Summa

We don’t speak another language, but we do occasionally use terms in our parenting classes and workshops, conference presentations, and other work, that mean something very specific to us. We wanted to put these specific definitions in one place for all of you to read and understand. Welcome to the Summa Glossary.

Being: When we use the term being we mean that nothing essential is missing. Natural Learning Relationships appends the suffix being to each life stage to emphasize that children are whole and worthwhile as they are at each age and stage of development.
BodyBeing: (BB) is the first developmental stage, beginning at conception and ending at approximately 8 years of age.
Boundaries: BodyBeing’s secondary Organizing Principle. A boundary is a frontier or limit. Through the sensory exploration of boundaries, children through age seven map their psychological and physical world.
Communication: Comes from ‘communion’ and means to enter into in common, to truly share. Natural Learning Relationships recognizes that each stage has its own language. To communicate with a child, one must speak the language of the developmental stage.
Community: To participate by holding in common between two or more people; literally “with service”; sharing equally. Community implies good communication and meaningful sharing for both children and adults.
Development: The progression from a simpler form to a more advanced, mature, or complex expression or stage. Natural Learning Relationships specifies the holistic development of children, including aesthetic, values, love, trust, autonomy, interconnectedness, and much more. Natural Learning Relationships maps the development of the innate capacities in children and how they can be nourished for optimal well-being in each stage of development.
Developmental Nourishments: The psychological and physical environments that truly nurture the Organizing Principle for well-being in each developmental stage. Each Being has a unique set of nourishment requirements.
Developmentally appropriate relationships: When the parents, or other caretakers, conscientiously nurture and care for that child’s innate capacities in relationship to that child’s developmental moment. In developmentally appropriate relationships, the child is most likely to experience optimal well-being.
Emergent: All parts of a whole are always interacting and changing. The whole cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts as parts merge and emerge toward greater complexity. Emergent systems defy entropic principles (loss of energy).
Epistemology: The nature of knowledge. How do you know what you know? The way a child knows self and world.
FeelingBeing: (FB) The second developmental stage, beginning at approximately nine and ending at approximately 12½ or 13 years old.
Feeling Mentor: (FB developmental nourishment) Elders who are able to share feelings honestly, without an ulterior motive, speak the language of feelings and remember that the child is always feeling. Be honest about mistakes.
Flexibility: An important nourishment for BodyBeing children. Flexibility means to be responsive to change, to be adaptable. The sensory based exploration that all BodyBeing children undertake requires patience and care. While scheduling often serves the security needs of the child, schedules must be flexible and accommodate the exploration of the moment.
Hesitancy: Development contains periods of growth followed by seemingly dormant periods, or hesitancies, when energies can recoup before another growth cycle begins. This occurs in all children throughout the developmental process. Natural Learning Relationships recognizes times in each developmental stage when the child is hesitant to engage new learning. This reluctance is often marked by regressive behavior and refusal to participate in favorite events. The appearance of hesitancies are a clear signal to parents that change is about to occur.
Humor: Includes the abilities to poke fun at reality, to laugh at ourselves, and to not taking anything too seriously. Humor is the lighthearted playful release which comes from seeing our present reality contrasted by the ridiculous. It’s playful; never at the expense of another. Humor relaxes everyone, creates an environment of open receptivity.
IdealBeing: (IB) The third developmental stage, beginning around 13 and ending around 17½.
Identity: Refers to the way we repeatedly know we are the same person. Again, this changes throughout development, from stage to stage.
Inclusion: Setting up your daily life so your child knows he or she is absolutely needed every day. Allowing your child feel important and indispensable for certain everyday tasks at home (not to do alone; rather, to do together). Appreciate your child whenever possible.
Integration: The action of combining parts into a whole—thus transforming the former part into an integrated whole. The emphasis is placed on a holistic systems approach.
Justice: (FB developmental nourishment) In FeelingBeing, a newly forming sense of whether people are emotionally engaging with others appropriately and whether situations are engaging people appropriately. FB children engage justice as a form of evaluation that revolves around the appropriateness of feeling relations. Justice is not dogma, not moral codes, not logic.
Life Stage: The clearly demarcated time in the developmental process characterized by the dominance of the characteristics of the stage specific Organizing Principle for well-being.
Loving Touch: The most important developmental nourishment for BodyBeing children. Loving Touch refers to physical touch with an attitude of acceptance and to “psychological” touch, i.e., the attitudes and behaviors of others in the child’s world.
Love: Refers to profound feelings of affection, connection, and acceptance. All Beings are capable of love, though each in their unique way.
Mature Recognition: (RB developmental nourishment) Mature recognition involves four key aspects: recognition of commitment, recognition of equality, achievement recognition, and recognition of ability for self-recognition.
Nomenclature: A system of words used to name things. Every developmental theorist uses different terms to describe developmental stages and their qualities.
Nourishment: In the Natural Learning Relationships system, nourishment describes the qualities necessary in relationship with the child to create optimal well-being in the organizing principle. Each organizing principle has unique nourishment needs.
Ontological: The nature of being; the organization of self-knowledge.
Ontological Epistemology: The way the child knows (epistemology) is through his or her whole being (ontological). It is how we come to know who we are as a being-knowledge. Knowledge is emergent, needing context and relationship to come into being.
Organizing Principle: The Organizing Principle is a force that determines the general ways in which human energy, capacities, inclinations, and interaction are structured and act. The goal of the Organizing Principle is well-being, and the energy, capacities, inclinations, and interactions it has to work with are developmentally and contextually bound. The Organizing Principle takes the qualities, capacities and talents of the age and uses it toward the well-being of the child. It’s nature changes development in successive stages of development.
Optimal Well-Being: When the organizing principle is properly nourished then all natural capacities come to fruition. In a state of optimal well-being a person is most likely to access wisdom.
Phases: An aspect or part of a Life Stage. Natural Learning Relationships distinguishes three phases in each developmental stage. They are Receptivity, Trial and Error, and Competency.
Qualitative: Distinctions or comparisons based on qualities of a person or thing. The qualitative method of research investigates the why and how of a person’s decision making (not just where, what, and when).
Quantitative: Comparisons related to the measurement of qualities. The quantitative method measures quantifiable data (objective properties) of a person or thing.
ReasonableBeing: (RB) The fourth developmental stage, beginning around 17½ or 18 and ending at age 23. The emergence of true reason.
Rightful Place: BodyBeing’s primary Organizing Principle is the development of Rightful Place. It entails exploration of environment for anything which generates or supports safe and secure physical exploration. One very important expression of this is the exploration of boundaries, both psychological and physical. In this way, the BodyBeing child finds Rightful Place in their body and in wider and wider environments.
Schemas: Schemas, as described in Piaget’s theory of development, are cognitive structures that organize action patterns so they can be transferred, generalized, or repeated in similar circumstances throughout life.
Security: (BB developmental nourishment) An important nourishment for BodyBeing children. Security means freedom from physical danger and freedom from fear and anxiety. When security is balanced with flexibility the child belongs and confidently engages sensation-based exploration of boundaries.
Sensation: The information received through the five senses. This includes both ordinary perception, i.e., the smell of the rose, as well as subtle reception, i.e., the psychological predisposition of those in the child’s world.
Sensitive Respect: (IB developmental nourishment) Support for the teen’s search for environments that support his or her core nature with respect for the identities that are “tried on” during this search. Sensitive Respect calls for engagement that serves the exploration of many identities so the teen can develop an identity that expresses her discovery of core her own nature
Stage Theory: Childhood unfolds in a stage specific sequence and each stage has its own distinctive qualities that must emerge during its own critical period of development. Each stage is more mature than the last.
Systems Theory: A coherent set of relationships among structures and substructures, with links, boundaries, and communication patterns among them all. A basic premise in systems theory is the interconnection among all parts and the emergent nature of development. Systems theory has demonstrated that whatever happens to any one part of a system affects the whole system.
Threat: BodyBeing children can be threatened both physically and psychologically. Threat can be an expression of harm, or an indication of impending harm.
Transition: The movement between developmental stages. Children exhibit characteristics of each stage, though never both at the same time.
Trust: The primary organizing principle during feeling development; to live without deception or dishonesty. Where there is trust, there is genuine relationship.
Warmth: Important developmental nourishment for BodyBeing children. Warmth is an attitude, and received by the child through sensations of friendliness, kindliness and affection, warmth of heart. It also refers to comfortable environment.
Well-being: The dynamically balanced state of health which optimizes our opportunity for actualization of the self. This view suggests that people who possess well-being also have adaptive abilities, life-satisfaction, personal meaning in life, insight, judgment, and the ability to maximize positive effect of emotional awareness and intelligence. In a state of well-being, a person is most likely to access wisdom.
Whole-child: Emphasis is on the all aspects of the individual child (e.g., physical, psychological, intelligence, emotional, spiritual) and the interdependence of all the parts. It is not concerned with reducing the child into parts and then analyzing each part.
Wisdom: Qualities of wisdom are inclusive of, but not limited to, right action in relationship to the context that is available to a person’s developmental moment in life

    Inner Wisdom: each and every one of us has an inherent source of wisdom which provides us with the opportunity to experience life, to learn and grow, and to actualize our individual and collective destinies.

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