The Classroom is open to members and all guest, registration is not required.

Our on-line class offers inspired continuing education for parents, grandparents, childcare providers, Head Start and preschool teachers. The class format - six weeks, twelve lessons - is similar to online classes used by colleges and universities. Estimated time to complete each class is five hours per week, thirty hours total, which can be applied to continuing education certification, which we offer in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute.

michael mendizzaThe Art of Playful Parenting
with Michael Mendizza, based on his and Joseph Chilton Pearce’s book Magical Parent-Magical Child, the Optimum Learning Relationship. This course creates a direct relationship with Michael Mendizza. Michael will correspond with you as needed as you move through each lesson, responding to questions that the material raises.

Open Schedule 
You begin and move through the material at you own pace.

Our goal is to apply the psychology of optimum experience, what athletes call the Zone, researchers and the business community call Flow and what children call Play to parenting and to education. The twelve lesson class will redefine the Zone, Flow and authentic Play as “transformational technologies” that optimize learning, performance and well being, at any age, in any field.

Magical Adults nurture and guide Magical Children. Magical Children challenge and mentor Magical Adults. Our goal is to explore this reciprocal dynamic. We will suggest ways to optimize the adult-child relationship, reduce conflict and boost learning and performance on both sides of the equation. We will explore “state specific” learning and performance, optimum states and what prevents them and what we call “the intelligence of play,” and why we believe that this state called original play is nature’s baseline for optimum learning and performance.

Lesson 1 - Optimum Learning Relationships
Lesson 2 - The Learning Channel We Call Bonding
Lesson 3 -  Beginner's Mind & The Intelligence of Play
Lesson 4 -  The Safe Place
Lesson 5 - Learning & Conditioning
Lesson 6 - More About Play Ages & Stages
Lesson 7 - Punishments & Rewards
Lesson 8 - Focusing on the Score
Lesson 9 -  Following the Leader
Lesson 10 -  Our Brave New Industrial Mind
Lesson 11 -  Principles for Optimum Learning Relationships
Lesson 12 -  Principles Continued

Instructor: Michael Mendizza
Michael is a documentary filmmaker and founder or Touch the Future, a nonprofit learning design center. In collaboration with Joseph Chilton Pearce, Michael developed a performance and learning model that optimizes the adult child relationship. Athletes call this Optimum Learning Relationship the Zone, researchers call it Flow, and children call it Play. In Optimum Learning Relationships the adult-child dynamic is approached as a spontaneous, creative act. Formulas, rewards and punishments are replaced by creative intelligence and insight. Learning and development is shared, awakening new levels of sensitivity in both children and adults. Touch the Future is developing projects that cultivate Optimum Learning Relationships between adults and children, including: Nurturing the Early Child, Family & Caregiver, a project which targets communities serving children zero to five; United We Play, which focuses on amateur athletics; and Science, Story & Creativity, a PBS project which explores development of critical and creative skills and the future workforce.

Course Requirements & Recommendations

The course material will be drawn from the book Magical Parent - Magical Child, the Optimum Learning Relationship by Michael Mendizza with Joseph Chilton Pearce. An electronic edition of this publication is included in the class. Other recommended readings include Biology of Transcendence, Evolution’s End and/or Magical Child by Pearce, Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn, Flow by Mihaly Cskszentmihalyi, Endangered Minds by Jane Healy and Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander.

Course Mechanics
All twelve lessons will be available to all class participants. We recommend that you print each lesson, review it off-line, make notes regarding each assignment, then return online to log in assignments and participate in discussions. This will reduce time spent at the screen and allow the greatest feasibility in personal scheduling.

Lessons may include assignments (outlined in red boxes) to help make abstract concepts more concrete and practical. Assignments are designed primarily for personal enrichment and to provide source materials for group discussions. You have the sole responsibility for evaluating your performance on each assignment. There will be no exams or grades.