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Writer to speak on ‘Golden Keys’ for early childhood

September 5, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. — Helle Heckmann, an internationally known early childhood speaker, will come to Florence to share her Five Golden Keys at the 2018 Early Childhood Champions Summit.

Heckmann, who is a native of Denmark, has been teaching kindergarten for nearly 33 years at Waldorf School in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she has developed the Five Golden Keys, or five things essential to each child’s growth. The Five Golden Keys are movement, sleep, rhythm, nutrition and love.

Heckmann said she created the Five Golden Keys as a way to give parents simple ways to improve their children’s lives.

“I think there are so many concerned parents who really wish to provide something different for their children than what they are capable of in the traditional system,” Heckmann said.

Heckmann said Five Golden Keys is not a new idea; it is just common sense.

“I don’t invent new things,” Heckmann said. “I am the grandmother who can help you with wise advice. That is how I see its functioning. It has been so helpful worldwide.”

Within the classroom, Heckmann incorporates the ideas of the Five Golden Keys. Children can start as young as a year old. Heckmann also said she wants her classroom to be a familial setting so that children can feel safe and secure while learning.

She said she places an emphasis on incorporating outdoor life into her classroom and was the first to do so.

“I think my initiative here in Denmark is very special,” Heckmann said.

Heckmann has written six books, including “Slow Parenting: Caring for Children with Intention – An Inspiring Approach” and “Childhood’s Garden: Shaping Everyday Life Around the Needs of Young Children.” Four of these books have been published in multiple languages.

Heckmann said her novels and ideas on childhood are what has attracted international attention.

“It has been very serious for me to make the world aware of how important childhood is,” Heckmann said. “Because with our adult life, where we are so fast and so stressful, we lose the perspective of a child. It is something really, really special, and they need a lot of time and they need a lot of bonding and safety to fulfill their potential.”

In 2014, Heckmann started a nonprofit organization called Slow Parenting. Through the nonprofit, Heckman travels nine months out of the year and leads workshops and conferences throughout the world.

Heckmann said as she travels, she tries to make sure that all people have access to her teaching.

To Heckmann, the most important work is to provide a good childhood for all children.

“Childhood is for life,” Heckmann said. “If you have a good childhood, you can manage a lot of things later in life. If you have had problems in your childhood, you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome those problems.”

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