Framework for Development

                                                                                                   [download the PDF]

The Framework reads from bottom to top.

The borrowed term, Nature’s Mandates is attributable to Joseph Chilton Pearce, a singularly important figure in aiding the ripening of my own thinking as both a parent and an educator. The term speaks to an innate, genetically derived, evolutionary impulse that potentially governs human development. If left unimpeded, evolutionary forces appear to favor both the emergence of increasingly diverse life forms that display “higher” awareness and consciousness, and adaptive intelligence. It should be noted that Pearce made an important distinction between intellect and intelligence: Whereas intellect, a human trait, strives for novelty and possibility; intelligence, found in all life forms, strives for well-being, continuity, and sustainability.

From these mandates, or imperatives, flow what I think of as Pedagogic Principles, the undergirding elements that, when made active, lead to predictable Emergent Properties of increasingly more complex, powerful, adaptive and creative forms of human intelligence.

The point is that human development and potential is inextricably tied to human advancement and destiny. If we are to survive —and thrive as well—the growing number of challenges and myriad socio-cultural-environmental threats to our planetary wellbeing then we do well to recall Albert Einstein’s aptly stated admonition that, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

The good news is that the intelligence required to both ensure our survival and facilitate thrival aren’t new at all; they’ve been there all along. Innate. Hidden. Waiting for the right environment and the models available to trigger them.* Our forbearers, much moreso than we moderns, seem to have appreciated and recognized this:

                                                             Educo, Latin, to draw forth

My work is derived from this framework. What I bring to school personnel, parents, business and organizational leaders, care-providers, therapists, and students is a grounded theoretical perspective backed by compelling research, with — and this is the most important element for practical people working in the real world — practices and activities that can be used right away, in any setting.


* It’s worth noting that of the educational systems that score at the top of international testing in reading, math, and science (such as PISA, 2009, (, Finland is a shining example of what happens when a society “gets it right” in terms of following Nature’s Mandates. Check out, for example, the article written about Finnish beliefs and practices in early childhood education in Smithsonian (