Flow to Learn ~ The Book
Flow to Learn: A 52-Week Parent's Guide to Recognize and Support Your Child's Flow State – the Optimal Condition for Learning
by Carmen Viktoria Gamper
Published in March 2020
is an uplifting, illustrated Parent’s Guide divided into 52 weeks with hundreds of practical suggestions and compassionate insights into why and how to create independent play and learning opportunities for children at home. Using practical, evidence-based tools from the fields of child development, psychology, and child-centered education, readers are guided step-by-step through the creation of simple hands-on activity places, “flow stations,” that boost children’s love for learning. In these prepared environments, children naturally experience flow, the deeply focused, fulfilling state scientifically proven to be the optimal condition for learning. Creating flow-friendly learning opportunities at home frees up parents’ time while strengthening children with spaces that support their inherent talents, creativity, and wide-ranging intelligence.
Each of the 52 Weeks offers two parts: first, you will find reflections and information about flow, then an array of practical suggestions, “Try This,” on how to facilitate flow in life with children. Some weeks offer authentic and encouraging insights from a mother, Susanne Stover, who incorporates the flow-parenting approach with her family. Susanne adds her valuable first-hand experiences from the perspective of a parent to the book. Her insights assure parents that flow-friendly parenting is possible, and even though it may not eliminate all parenting challenges, it ultimately benefits the whole family and rewards children as well as parents with authentic, connected, and inspiring experiences. Click to read an excerpt of Susanne’s Parenting Insights.
Throughout the book, you will be delighted by the many drawings of children and adults learning in flow created by the Italian illustrator and educator Sybille Kramer. –Sybille and Carmen are currently preparing an online program for Flow to Learn readers with educational hands-on, flow activities for preschool and elementary school ages. Please subscribe to our newsletter to find out when it’s available.
Flow to Learn’s philosophy of education includes elements from methods that promote flow, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Fröbel, and, especially, the RWB (Rebeca Wild based) schools, which have been Carmen Gamper’s primary field of research. As you read, you will find many examples from these child-centered schools, where Carmen used to be a pedagogical director and teacher and regularly observed children learning in flow.
You can read Flow to Learn Week by Week to regularly increase flow in your life or randomly open the book and see what finds you. You can also use the Table of Contents and the Index to look for particular items, such as insights on ADHD, Montessori materials, or how to create a makerspace.
In this book, you will discover how to..
✩ Create a home and sanctuary, where you and your child love to spend time, each find fulfilling activities to replenish from school and work.
✩ Identify qualities in your child’s educational setting that promote flow and optimal learning and qualities that block them.
✩ Create spaces and choose toys and learning materials that help children drop into flow states.
✩ Debunk current myths in education, including the overuse of rewards and the misguided expectations of academic rigor in early grades.
✩ Help your child process their time at school and other potentially stressful experiences with tension-release supports.
✩ Nurture mutual respect between you and your child.
✩ Reinvigorate your own life with flow experiences.
Whether you are a parent, educator, nanny, grandparent, guardian, or another special person in a child’s life – you can be a nurturer of flow for them, a “flow companion.” Week by week and day by day, Flow (in order) to Learn also helps parents to see children as guides to accessing their own flow states, which brings more joy, fun, and purpose into life and helps develop a deeper understanding of and relationship with their child.
Available as print and eBook on amazon.com
- Review on the lifestyle website Mobangeles.com
- Review in The Hollywood Digest
- Review on Medium.com
“Flow to Learn is a beautifully-written and well-researched resource for children and parents. We’ve found it incredibly helpful as we navigate the joys and challenges of having our two-and-a-half-year-old son home with us (all the time right now, due to the shelter-in-place order)! The book is refreshing in its centred and balanced approach to parenting, and it generally avoids dogmatic statements about what parents “should” do. Instead, it is focused on the idea of “flow” (a state of mental and physical absorption and concentration that both children and adults can access and during which optimum learning takes place). One of the things we appreciated the most about the book is its attention to BOTH parents and children: a “flow state” is something that parents can cultivate in themselves, and the journey we see our children embark upon is one that we can also experience. Highly recommended!”
Dr. Joel Cabrita
History, Stanford University
“As a learning specialist of 25 plus years, I highly recommend this book. It has profound wisdom as well as practical, day to day – put into use now – lessons, activities, and awareness to deepen our connection to children, our own heart, and theirs. It is a gift at this time when parents everywhere are having to take an active role in their child’s education. ”
Patti Hamsa Lutke
“Flow To Learn arrived in the mail a few days ago. I’ve only read the preface and introduction, and I’m already feeling so inspired! I am a positive psychology practitioner, and learning more about supporting flow states with children will really help me as I develop the teen mentorship/coaching that I offer. I love how the book is organized into small weekly chapters, each with a ‘Try This’ section.”
Elvira Di Brigit
Table of Contents
PART ONE | Flow
The Optimal State For Learning
WEEK 1 | What is Flow?
Try This: Notice your own moments of flow
WEEK 2 | The Science of Play and Flow
Try This: Tinker and create without expecting results
WEEK 3 | Flow and Mental Health
Try This: Three mental health anchors for your child
WEEK 4 | The Self-Chosen Challenge
Try This: Help your child with an ongoing practice
WEEK 5 | Recognizing Flow
Try This: Watch a child play
WEEK 6 | The Child Master in You
Try This: How to encourage the beginner’s mind
WEEK 7 | The Power of Hands-On Activity
Try This: An example of child-directed learning
WEEK 8 | Learning How to Think
Try This: How to create intellectual safety
WEEK 9 | Emotional Safety
Try This: What do You need to feel safe?
WEEK 10 | Reality Check
Try This: Schedule a day of rest and play
WEEK 11 | Healing Negative School Experiences
Try This: Temper your child’s negative school experiences
WEEK 12 | Reclaiming Genuine Activity
Try This: Step by step to mindful activity
WEEK 13 | Flow Is the Reward
Try This: When, why, and how do you reward your child?
PART TWO | Your Child
A Young Master Of Flow
WEEK 14 | Children have Superpowers
Try This: Superpowers in you and your child
WEEK 15 | Two Ways of Experiencing the World
Try This: Emotional safety through practicing consent
WEEK 16 | Endless Possibilities
Try This: Enhance your child’s play
WEEK 17 | The Healing Power of Imaginative Play
Try This: Set up a sand table for healing play
WEEK 18 | Nature Before Culture
Try This: Lead children to nature
WEEK 19 | Step into the River
Try This: Three existential questions for you
WEEK 20 | What a Young Master Needs
Try This: Reconnect with your own genuine needs
WEEK 21 | Striving for a Healthy Identity
Try This: Learning from indigenous cultures
WEEK 22 | The Child and the Screen
Try This: Balance your child’s screen time
WEEK 23 | Flow and Friends
Try This: Offer role-play for several children
WEEK 24 | Flow and Practical Life Skills
Try This: Making chores child-friendly
WEEK 25 | Connecting while Playing
Try This: Safe roughhousing with your child
WEEK 26 | A Close Look at Boredom
Try This: Dare to be bored
PART THREE | The Zone
Creating Flow Activity Stations
WEEK 27 | A Master Needs a Dojo
Try This: Set up a makerspace
WEEK 28 | Activating the Zone
Try This: Create a weather station
WEEK 29 | Freedom within Structure
Try This: Bonding while putting things back in order
WEEK 30 | The Flow Zone Rules
Try This: Create a place for treasures
WEEK 31 | Keep it Simple
Try This: Create a simple water play station
WEEK 32 | Opportunities to Experiment
Try This: What were your favorite childhood activities?
WEEK 33 | Systems Thinking in Your Home
Try This: Puzzles for everyone
WEEK 34 | Sizing Up Your Space
Try This: Arrange a nature science table
WEEK 35 | Independence = Dignity
Try This: Prepare a sensory play station
WEEK 36 | Offer Outdoor Adventure Play
Try This: Protect children from damaging influences
WEEK 37 | Expand your Vision of Toys
Try This: Prepare potting station and mud kitchen
WEEK 38 | Where do the Children Play?
Try This: A place for instruments and sound-makers
WEEK 39 | Creating Flow Learning Centers
Try This: Your role in a flow learning center
PART FOUR | YOU
A Flow Companion
WEEK 40 | Adult and Child
Try This: Allow time for self-correction
WEEK 41 | Your Powerful Inner Child
Try This: Remember yourself as a child
WEEK 42 | Re-Parent Yourself – Reinvent Yourself
Try This: Ways to show children your trust
WEEK 43 | You Can Do It!
Try This: Encourage yourself and children
WEEK 44 | Become a Genuine Needs Detective
Try This: Let the detective work begin!
WEEK 45 | Respect must be Mutual
Try This: “Stop, rewind, take two!”
WEEK 46 | Where I End and You Begin
Try This: I am I—you are you
WEEK 47 | The Flow Companion as Teacher
Try This: Facilitate learning through asking questions
WEEK 48 | Generosity – The Great Healer
Try This: Experiment with healthy abundance
WEEK 49 | We, the Human Family
Try This: If a child gets bullied
WEEK 50 | Pretend Violence and Weapon Play
Try This: Three things to give to a child
WEEK 51 | Debunking Three Outdated Myths
Try This: Three habits that sabotage flow
WEEK 52 | Your Ripple Effect
Try This: Time for gratitude and celebration
Parenting Insights by Susanne Stover
#1 The Self-Chosen Challenge at Home
#2 Helping your Child through Big Emotions
#3 Giving Permission to Play
#4 Let Children Rely on Your Firm Boundaries
#5 Being Authentic with Children
#6 Growing Healthy Technology Habits
#8 Thriving During Transitions
#9 Meeting Children’s Physical Needs
#10 Helping Children Keep Themselves Safe
#11 Re-Parenting One-on-One
#12 From Dysregulation to Co-Regulation