Chatting With: Magdalena Matulewicz & Witold Matulewicz, Founders Of Natural Born Leaders

Hi Magdalena & Witold, thank you for doing this interview. Could you describe your journey as educators? What inspired you to start Natural Born Leaders and how this journey has been so far?

Our journey started over 20 years ago as teachers of English as a Foreign Language. Since then we’ve come through all levels of educational career – from teachers, teacher trainers, university lecturers, and nursery managers, to assessors and evaluators in Children’s Care, Learning, Development and Play.

We’ve always believed that the role of an educator is to empower every child, celebrate them for their gifts and uniqueness, help them discover their talents, and offer them the most enabling environments to learn to their full potential. However, we were raised in Eastern Europe where discipline, labels and outdated teaching approaches were our reality, and this left its mark on our life and self-image. Our natural talents were considered as a “burden” and we grew up believing we were doomed to fail. This is the very reason we promised ourselves to make a real change in the way education, especially early childhood education and care, is offered to all children around the world. 

When we started our teaching career we knew we were able to work completely differently than 98% of other teachers – because we could see the world through the eyes of the child. At that time we had already been working along the principles of Personalised and Experiential Learning, but we constantly met people telling us that it was not possible to achieve any results without structured teaching, without rigid frameworks, discipline, testing and the same uniform goals for all children. But we knew it wasn’t true!

One September night we made a bold decision that changed our life forever. We left our country and decided to learn from the best. To cut the story short, we owned and managed one of the most challenging businesses – our own multi-lingual early childhood education and care provision. And we did this in one of the most effective and at the same time one of the most demanding countries in the world – the United Kingdom – where a mistake can cost you losing your business, and where an unexpected inspection may appear at your setting at any time. 

After a short period of gaining a direct professional experience in this sector, our skills and insights into Personalised and Experiential Learning were recognised and we were invited to work with prestigious educational institutions to deliver training to other early childhood education and care providers. We also started inspecting preschool settings to make sure they met the requirements of the British National Standards (the Early Years Foundation Stage). We worked as assessors and evaluators in a few governmental projects such as the Early Years Professional Status (EYPS), National Vocational Qualifications in Children’s Care Learning and Development (CCLD), and National Vocational Qualifications in School Playwork. 

We were even featured in “the Guardian” as those who can potentially introduce major changes in Education in the UK!

Ever since we have inspected and assessed over 100 Early Childhood Education and Care provisions. Many of them represented the highest standards in education, whereas many were still far from it. 

In the meantime we have travelled across and lived in 30 different countries where we’ve made friends with locals, lived their lifestyle, participated in their local customs, events and gatherings. We’ve visited local playgrounds, museums, children-dedicated places, nurseries, and schools. We’ve talked to teachers, parents, children, and visionaries.  We’ve experienced, tested, observed and evaluated hundreds of local public spaces for families and children. We’ve seen the best and not so great. After all these years of living in the world education holds no secrets for us. 

And on top of that, we’ve been world schooling our son for 14 years non-stop. He’s never been to school but he’s been learning from the world all his life – with a great success!

So we have a deep understanding of Formal Education, Home Schooling, and Personalised Active Learning. We’ve experienced how children can flourish on both pathways and what it takes to “get it right” for them.

And this how Natural Born Leaders was born.

Could you explain a little bit more about Natural Born Leaders? What are your organisational goals and how do you think they can help empower parents and early childhood educators?

At Natural Born Leaders we believe that every child is a natural born leader and when supported they will discover and share their natural gifts with the world.

Our vision is to redefine the way we understand and deliver education at early years and early primary levels. We help nurseries and preschools around the world become World Class Early Childhood Education and Care Providers where all children are valued for their natural gifts and talents, and adequately nurtured to grow to their fullest potential through the most powerful educational approaches: Child-Led Play, Enabling Environments, Self-Directed Learning, Outdoor Education, Personalised Active Learning, and Positive Pedagogy. Currently only 2% of worlds’s best educators can effectively implement these approaches into their daily practice. Our goal is to make this number much bigger.

At the same time we support parents in understanding their role as the Educators of the Future, their children’s primary educators, and how they can support Future-Oriented Holistic Learning at home easily, effortlessly and joyfully as part of their everyday life and without trying to become a teacher.

So we work with early childhood educator and parents worldwide to help them implement Active Experiential Child-Centred Learning and Pedagogies. We do this though our online training programs which are truly interactive hands-on transformative learning experiences that help educators and parents apply the most effective strategies, approaches, tools and frameworks from day one.

For parents or preschool teachers and administrators in Malaysia who are keen to explore what Natural Born Leaders has to offer, where can they sign up, what these programmes intend to offer, and do they support long-distance learning?

We share our experience in our Home Education Accelerator training program for parents and carers. Parents can sign up for a FREE Training Module which will help them offer the highest quality Future-Oriented Education at home. All without moving school to home or planning structured learning sessions.

Home Education Accelerator focuses on Life Long Future-Oriented Learning that all parents and carers can easily offer now and in the future. It’s one-of-its-kind online program for those who want to boost their positive parenting skills and learn how to support their children’s learning at home – not only during these challenging times, but also during after school and out-of-school times when everything is back to (new) normal.

So when you sign up for the FREE Module, you’ll learn:

1. What is Future-Oriented Education and how to best support it in a home learning environment

2. How home learning offers best opportunities for Personalised Education

3. How to nurture children’s natural Leadership Mindset and their unique talents

4. What are the biggest misconceptions about Home Learning

5. Strategies to support Holistic Active Learning at home

6. The most effective educational approaches to support Life Long Learning – examples of best practice.

Here’s a link to our Home Education Accelerator™ by Natural Born Leaders program webpage with full information on the content and instant access to FREE Module with free video training material for all parents and carers.

For teachers specifically, we’ve developed MASTER TEACHER – the ultimate Preschool Transformation Training Solution for Early Childhood Education and Care providers. Based on our 20+ years of training and evaluation experience, it’s a carefully designed on-the-job and fully hands-on online group training program, and a set of offline ready-to-use tools and strategies that teachers can apply in the setting from day one of their training.

To let all teachers experience the quality we offer, here’s a link to the program webpage with full information how the transformation works and instant access to FREE video training material to use right away – Master Teacher – Preschool Transformation Training Solution For Early Childhood Education And Care Providers.

Also, this month we just published another online course for teachers – Active Learning Booster by Natural Born Leaders. Unlike the Master Teacher transformation program which is a group training experience, Active Learning Booster is a self-paced professional development course for early childhood and primary teachers who are ready to offer their students Future-Oriented Education based on the most effective approaches that work for every child and for every educator.

Here’s a link to the course webpage with full information on the content and instant access to FREE Module with free video training materials: Active Learning Booster by Natural Born Leaders.

With the current crisis many people started questioning the quality of education and worry that what has been offered so far may not help children get ready for the future. How can parents support future-oriented learning, regardless whether they choose to follow traditional school education or support children’s learning at home?

First of all, to succeed in the long term and to really be able to prepare our children for the future, we need to understand what Future-Oriented education is about. What kind of skills, mindsets and knowledge our children are going to need in the future? We are not able to predict what kind of technology and jobs will be available in the future, and with the current crisis we don’t know what kind of events we are going to face in the not-so-distant future. There is only one thing we can foresee – the kind of skills and mindsets our children are going to need.

Future-Oriented Education is about nurturing LIFE SKILLS – the current crisis shows us what our children will need in the future to succeed.

Creativity, collaboration, reasoning, bodily awareness, positive self-image, self-confidence, leadership, problem solving, relationship building, the ability to adjust, adapt, co-create and reinvent.

These core life skills are all nurtured in children’s early years – not through course books and worksheets, but through real-life experiences. The only way our children are going to learn these skills is through developing an authentic connection with reality as active participants in the world around. And the only educational approach that always works to achieve this is Active Experiential Learning.

There is one more thing we can predict now – the post-Covid19 era will be all about Active Experiential Learning. Whether we can see it or not yet, the world has been guiding us towards the most holistic and most natural way of learning and educating our children. Sitting at desks and staring at screens passively to receive information is not natural, and it’s not holistic at all.

If you think about it, we can no longer safely put our children in classrooms due to the new safety concerns. And we cannot expect them to spend hours in front of the screen – it’s not safe either. It’s time to notice how Nature invites us to offer the education that will create the new “holistic normal”.

Active Experiential Learning, whether outdoors or indoors, offers much more flexibility, it’s safer and more holistic for our children, and accelerates their learning tremendously. This means that both parents and teachers need to learn how to effortlessly support Active Holistic Learning.

This is the new normal – we need to remember how to learn holistically and how to help children learn the same way. So, the best way to support Future-Oriented Learning is to offer experiences that will help children stay active, interact with the real world, and do things in reality rather that on paper or screen. These, depending on children’s age and stage of development, can be simple everyday tasks, project-based learning, everyday-life problem-solving activities, engaging children in decision making, collaboration and planning their learning experiences, offering access to the outdoors, and lots of free self-directed play.

This should be part of the bigger framework that you can create at home with your children. In our Home Education Accelerator program we share loads of examples of best practice, tools and strategies so that you can activate effective home learning for your children immediately.

Here’s a link to our Home Education Accelerator™ by Natural Born Leaders program webpage with full information on the content and instant access to FREE Module with free video training material for all parents and carers.

Parents are already starting to feel overwhelmed with the current situation – they have to work from home, keep the family safe, and at the same time deal with their children’s education on their own. And all this may feel like a serious burden for them. Many parents don’t know where to start, and how to sustain the new reality. So they start asking about how to transition from formal schooling to home learning. Do they need to move school to home? Do they have to teach their children? How to go about it and still maintain a healthy balance? What strategies can you share with parents?

There are many misconceptions about Home Education and supporting children’s learning at home. One of the most popular is that a parent needs to become a teacher. This misconception is the single most popular reason why so many parents give up on supporting their children’s learning at home, and on home education in general.

Trying to be a teacher when you are not, and perhaps even don’t really want to be, leads to frustration, overwhelm, and discipline problems. It can negatively impact your intimate relationship with your children, not to mention the learning outcomes that you’re trying to achieve.

Maintaining a structure similar to a school environment requires a tremendous effort and is sustained by many people at the same time. Not something that you can do at home. Home is different – it’s a place to relax, unwind, hug each other, be yourself, and learn naturally and joyfully.

So here’s fantastic news for all – parents don’t need to become teachers and try to move school to home to effectively support their children’s home learning!

The current situation creates unprecedented opportunities to discover that there are ways to learn beyond structured lessons, beyond academic sessions, worksheets and course books, beyond teaching, and even beyond school.

Supporting learning at home allows you to switch your focus from academic-oriented learning to Hands-on Experiential Whole-Person Learning. Home learning offers perfect learning environments for children to learn this way and build skills for life. It opens up wonderful opportunities for the entire family to discover that learning is a process, a partnership, mutual understanding, and collaboration. It’s about facilitating, not teaching.

And this is exactly what you’ll learn in our Home Education Accelerator™ by Natural Born Leaders – one of the most powerful hands-on online programs for parents and carers who what to learn how to support their children’s learning at home.

Now since most of us had to switch to online learning, many parents worry that there may be too much technology and screen time involved in their children’s daily learning. Since you promote Active Learning, how would you suggest to maintain the balance between technology-based and hands-on experiential learning?

Everyone’s eyes are now on online learning as THE ultimate solution to provide continuity of education. But if you have children, you know that it takes much more than access to technology to keep them busy and healthy. They need continuous and immediate access to hands-on learning experiences and contexts.

But of course this doesn’t mean that technology is bad. On the contrary, you can easily use technology to your advantage as one of the many tools to support your children’s Holistic Development and offer continuity of  learning without too much planning.

Technology can help:

– inspire your children to experiment and create in the real world

– raise your children’s interest in a certain topic or theme

– explore beyond the tangible

– provoke your children to master certain skills and pursue their natural talents

Technology is not only about Edtech, there’s so much more to it – microscopes, scooters, 3D pens, 3D printers, drawing pads, etc. Whatever technology you use, think about how it can inspire your children to explore the real world – to build, draw, create, read, cook, use their body, design, rearrange, role play, do research. The sky’s the limit!

For example, a simple mobile app about a construction play can inspire your children to build castles, bridges or houses in the real world – keeping them busy for hours and at the same time helping them learn a lot. And this is exactly what you need right now!

We can learn how to support Holistic Active Learning at home in the FREE Module of our Home Education Accelerator™ by Natural Born Leaders.

What are the most important Future-Oriented skills that educators need to learn now to make sure they are ready to support children in the new emerging reality and to stay attractive on the market?

Mastering online tools is not enough to offer the next level education. What we are seriously missing out on is Holistic Experiential Learning that still can and should take place – whether in the classroom, outdoors or via online platforms. 

Most educators don’t know how to offer hands-on experiential learning, and how to switch from teaching to facilitating their children. And this is what we are required to focus on right now. 

With everyone focusing on online learning, preschool and early primary teachers’ top priority should always be HOLISTIC HANDS-ON LEARNING. It has been, is, and will be the single most important skillset regardless of times, circumstances, and delivery modes. And it’s even more important now than ever before! As we mentioned earlier, the post-Covid19 era will be all about Active Experiential Learning – because it’s the only way children can develop Core Life Skills.

When you know how to facilitate Holistic Active Learning, you’ll not only be ready for crises like this one, but more importantly you’ll be able to offer your children truly Future-Oriented Education at all times. And this is what we at Natural Born Leaders help teachers and parents achieve with our programs and courses.

5 important parenting books every parent and teacher should read and why. Feel free to suggest more than 5.

We’d like to recommend only 3, but they are the absolute must for anyone seriously interested in making a real difference for their students or their own children. They helped us on our own journey and have profoundly affected our professional work and our parenting:

  1. Son Rise by Barry Neil Kaufmann.
  2. The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle.
  3. Summerhill School: The New View on Childhood by A S Neill.

Connect with Natural Born Leaders via Linkedin: Witold Matulewicz & Magdalena Matulewicz

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Editorial Team
We take our responsibilities seriously as a provider of free parenting resources. Our published articles are therefore written based on evidence-based information parents can rely on. Parenthood is hard. But it’s also the most rewarding. Our first goal is thus to make sure our content is concise, accurate and accessible.
Skip to toolbar