Cooperative Childcare Research: Learning from Local Art and Community Education Initiatives in Minas Gerais

Connective Practices: Εμψύχωση or “What might a radical childcare politics look like?” The 4th Ixodos Artist Residency, between Cyprus and Brasil, @Campo Redondo, Itamonte MG, 2024

Chrystalleni Loizidou researches and supports cooperative structures that focus on culture- and nature-based learning and care. She works as university lecturer, early years caregiver in the Steiner and Forest School movements, and is part of the free (freedom-respecting) software movement. As part of the 4th Ixodos Artist Residency, a collaboration between the Ponto de Cultura VAV (Brasil) and the Eimaste Cooperative (Cyprus) funded by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Cyprus, Chrystalleni and her 6 year old child are based in Campo Redondo (Itamonte Minas Gerais) for July and August 2024, learning from local art and community education initiatives. Her research here follows the question: “What does radical childcare look like?” and learns from traditional, cooperative community-connection and facilitation practices related to the Greek concept of εμψύχωση [soul-sharing]. /

Chrystalleni is invited to contribute to the curatorial, artistic and educational program of Ponto de Cultura VAV, and to support, document and creatively respond to the work of local cooperatives. Loizidou is supported in deepening her work in “εμψύχωση” (facilitation), learning from local practices of organisation and celebration. The residency aims to create skill and knowledge exchange around the underlying progressive as well as traditional and indigenous, social, ritual-artistic, economic or other “connective practices”, that create and hold communities together. In terms of its methodology, the work applies a gentle approach and vocabulary in response to contemporary eco-feminist theory and practice. It employs an occupational therapeutic method for collective art-making for all ages, and the passing down of traditional crafts. Finally it takes a radical pedagogical perspective for holding space for community.

The program is intended to include:

(1) a presentation of Loizidou’s work and the Ixodos platform and at University of Federal Fluminense as part of their Arts program

(2) The εμψύχωσης / facilitation of a mixed ages Connective Practice workshop leading into

(3) an exhibition.

(4) The production of a publication with documentation and translations in Greek, English and Portuguese.

Previous Ixodos Artistic Exchanges:

2023 – Ixodos 3: Kύπρος, Αγλαντζιά: Liberating the Imaginary

2020 – Online residency / publication on MESA online arts journal: “Keep the Children in the Room” On the Biopolitics of Single Mothering in the Time of Covid”

2019 – Ixodos 2: Βραζιλία, Rio de Janeiro: Aphrodite Mana mou @A Casa Lar+Tropical Burn & “On the knowledge we receive through our vaginas” @TerraUNA

2018 – Ixodos 1: Kύπρος

What is Ixodos

EN Ixodos is an international platform for transversal-translocal art exchanges, facilitating and accompanying residencies, projects, exhibitions, the sharing of knowledge, and the building of our common soul and greater selves. These art exchanges are not just between artists and art institutions but also between social, political and ecological projects and movements around the world, starting from Cyprus and Brazil. Ixodos was ritually initiated by Carolina Cortes, Chrystalleni Loizidou, Evanthia Tselika, and Livia Moura in Greece and Cyprus, initially in connection with Hippocrates’Garden, in the island of Cos, in June-August 2018. It generated its second residency programme at A Casa Lar, Rio de Janeiro, in June-August 2019.

POR Ixodos é uma platforma de intercâmbios, trocas, facilitando e acompanhando residências, projetos, exposições, o compartilhamento de conhecimento, e a construção e expansão de uma alma comum e de nossas existências. Esta troca artística não é apenas entre artistas e instituições artísticas, mas também de projetos e movimentos sociais, políticos e ecológicos (ambientais) no mundo, começando com Chipre e Brasil.  

Images from the Campo Redondo Elementary School Festa Junina (17/7/2024) and related activities with Ponto de Cultura VAV

Images of inspiration from the work of M. Kkashiallos

Ιούνιος / June, 2024

Wednesdays/Τετάρτες @Eimaste
10:00 – Ιερός Χορός / Sacred Belly Dance with Sylvia Serena ή Reiki με την Κωνσταντίνα
11:00 – Κύκλος / Support circle
12:00 – Συλλογική κουζίνα / Collective cooking
13:30 – Μεσημεριανό / Lunch
15:00 – Παιχνίδι και δραστηριότητες με παιδιά / Free play and activities with children
17:00 – Συλλογικό συγύρισμα και αποχαιρετισμός / Clean-up and farewell

Also see Yoga with Elena Buscarini

Welcoming Erika!

For the month of May we have with us our dear teacher in Early Years Pedagogy, Erika Wieser. Our plan while Erika is here is to spend our time together sweetly and simply, connecting and being of service where needed. Get in touch if you’d like to join us or to speak with her about anything.

Erika Wieser

I am a Kindergarten Teacher since 1978. Two years working in the Linz Tobacco Factory Kindergarten in Upper Austria showed me that I didn’t know anything about “difficult children” and that I had to continue my education. I went to Vienna for the next two years to complete the school for children with disabilities and then worked for the next 3 years in Christoph Lesigang’s outpatient department for children with multiple disabilities. Professor Lesigang was an excellent anthroposophic doctor for children and I was lucky to learn a lot from his behavior with children and parents. I worked with the children and gave advice to the parents. After the wonderful years in Vienna I came by accident to Greece where I fell in love with my husband Dimitris Papaioannou, a painter of Byzantine icons. When we came back to Austria, I worked for the next 10 years with children with severe disabilities in a dedicated kindergarten. In 1994 my daughter Myriam came to this world and changed my life. In 1996 I started studying Waldorf Education in Vienna which lasted 3 years, completing my final thesis on the subject of the tactile sense. For 5 years I was special assistant in the two Waldorf Kindergartens in Linz for children with additional needs, and finally, 13 years before my retirement, I started and led a natural Kindergarten on a farm focusing on Waldorf Education. Beside my work I taught for 10 years Basal Stimulation for Kindergarten teachers for children with additional needs. For three years I was working with adolescents with very difficult childhoods and trauma from the war in Bosnia. I am a trainer of health gymnastics since 1985. I am a beekeeper since 2005. Now I am in pension and I am lucky to do what I like most: to share my experiences.

Sylvia Serena: Healing with Touch

About Sylvia Serena
Sylvia Serena is a dancer and teacher in the way of the goddess, who has been cultivating her healing touch, her ability to offer relief and her “good hand” (καλό χέρι) for as long as she can remember. She has studied Shiatsu and general massage with Neophytos Ginis in Athens, reflexology with Kitty Simita, and additionally in reflexology as well as Ayurvedic, Chinese and Alchemical medical and philosophical systems with Petros Evdokas in Cyprus. She feels a calling to share and deepen her training and findings around the healing power of touch.

Experience-sharing weekend: Love Building

Saturday-Sunday 10-11 February 2024 @Eimaste Mother House, Karava 11, Platy, Nicosia

“There can’t be peace on Earth as long as there’s war in love. Humanity has wrongly organized love, locked it into narrow cages of possession and fear, which is why it so often turns into anger and hatred. The global epidemics of violence ravaging this planet result from a culture that has inhibited love. The healing of love isn’t a private, but a political issue of the highest priority. We must find a new concept for love if we want decent survival on Earth.”
Sabine Lichtenfels, co-founder of Tamera


Saturday, 10 February
How to achieve Peace through Freeing Love and Sexuality from Fear
16:00 Doors open
16:30 Gaianna: A paradigm of love, relationships and sexuality, free from fear
17:00 Screening followed by Discussion: The Village of Lovers, Tamera 2023
Film information:

Sunday, 11 February
Community Building + A Cry From the Future, Global Online Summit
9:00 Breakfast
11:00 Gaianna: Community-building Tools (CLIPS, Community building by Scott Peck, Heart Circle, Forum, Sociocracy)
The rest of the programme will be co-created on the spot.

Throughout the weekend we will be connecting with the Online Global Summit: A Cry From the Future, inspired by The Village of Lovers.

This is a free event, donations are highly appreciated.
Please bring food & drink to share.
There are possibilities for staying the night. Let us know if you’re interested in a spot. Children are welcome.

Contact: +35799586369

About Gaianna
I have found myself in a lot of different roles in my life. Today I identify more with being a community builder, traveller, facilitator, artist, and a researcher of the human experience. I’m passionate about deep ecology, self-development, spirituality, shamanism, tantra, relationships, somatic healing modalities, dance, music, handicraft and art, among other things. I cocreate projects in different organisations that promote sustainability, holistic lifestyle and community-based paradigms.
I’ve visited a number of ecocommunities around Europe since 2019 and have lived long term in two. Through these experiences I have become a firm believer that this is a lifestyle best suited for me. For this I have been collecting community-building tools and self-development modalities, which make coming back to a communal and holistic lifestyle possible. I am passionate about sharing these practises through events, courses and workshops, such as EDE (Ecovillage Design Education) in Gaia Academy and other educational and research projects in many community focused organisations.

In the autumn of 2023 my path led me to live, work, and train in the Tamera Healing Biotope ecocommunity in Portugal, an international training and experimental site for development of peace research villages. A big focus in this community is on freeing eros from fear. They believe that there will be no peace as long there is war in love, thus they are tackling the sources of war within the way that we love. I will share openly and honestly my experience with living in that community and the practise of love and sexuality free from fear- how it looks like practically, how it impacts the emotional life, how it challenges prevalent narratives around relationships, love and sexuality, why this is such an important topic for this community, and more.

Workshop- Connective Artistic Practices: the art of learning through nature and co-presence for all ages.

Ελληνικά πιο κάτω

workshop with Chrystalleni Loizidou & Hülya Dede
at Phytorio, Visual Artists Association
4 November, 18 November, 2 December | 10:30am- 12:30pm

In the beginning there is flow. There is being in the rhythms of nature, a sense of belonging, with uninterrupted and unobserved experimentation and creativity. There is the feeling of the elements and the seasons, the observing and the doing. There is running and climbing and picking fruit and making shelter. And getting dirt between your toes. There is the joy of life and gratitude for the gifts of nature. Until the care-work that allows being in the rhythms of nature becomes imprisoned by practices of imposed education and productivity that disconnect us from flow and from our natural rhythms. Being, feeling and doing are turned into work and people into things. Thus the world is crazy and revolts are practices of rediscovering connection and rhythm. For this, we wish to share, remember, and develop with you customs of mindful presence and connection and belonging, by bringing together elements from Waldorf Steiner education which focuses on artistic rituals of skill development and transmission, from the Forest School movement and its emphasis on free learning in the forest, along with rescued traditions of premodern Cypriot upbringing.

This series of workshops is a collaboration between Είμαστε and Eğitim Sanatı Derneği / Association for the Art of Education, and have been previously hosted by the Connective Artistic Practices Symposium 2022 (Fontys University, Tilburg Netherlands) and the Deep Commons Conference (Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Ireland in association with Le Terre Institute for Community and Ecology, Mississippi, USA. The latest piece authored by the group is entitled “Connective practices towards a radical politics of community-integrated learning and care across the divisions of Cyprus: Some learning points around making kin, cooperative pedagogy, and freedom-respecting technologies” part of the forthcoming SUNI Press publication “Deep Commons: Cultivating ecologies of solidarity and care beyond capitalism, patriarchy, racism, and the state”.

Participation: 60€ (20€ x 3)
This workshop is addressed to parents and children, educators and individuals who share an interest in education as the cultivation of ways of being and working in harmonious co-presence with children and other adults in a spirit of play and creativity. It includes elements of speculative experimentation, handicraft, play through movement, song, and the co-creation of environments for free-play. Facilitation languages: Greek, Turkish, English.

For more information: 99586369

εργαστήρι με Χρυσταλλένη Λοϊζίδου & Hülya Dede
Oίκημα Φυτωρίου Εικαστικής Δημιουργείας
4 Νοεμβρίου, 18 Νοεμβρίου, 2 Δεκεμβρίου | 10:30 π.μ. – 12:30 μ.μ.

Στην αρχή υπάρχει ροή. Η ύπαρξη στους ρυθμούς της φύσης, η αίσθηση του ανήκειν, με αδιάκοπο απαρατήρητο πειραματισμό και δημιουργικότητα, η εμπειρία των στοιχείων και των εποχών, η παρατήρηση και η πράξη. Το τρέξιμο, το σκαρφάλωμα, το μάζεμα φρούτων, η κατασκευή καταφυγίων και η άμμος ανάμεσα στα δάχτυλα των ποδιών μας. Η συνύπαρξη μέσα στη χαρά ζωής και την ευγνωμοσύνη για τα δώρα της φύσης.

Μέχρι που η φροντίδα-εργασία που επιτρέπει την ύπαρξη σε φυσικούς ρυθμούς φυλακίζεται από πρακτικες επιβεβλημενης εκπαίδευσης και παραγωγικότητας που μας αποσπούν από τη ροή και από τους φυσικούς μας ρυθμούς. Η ύπαρξη, η αίσθηση και η πράξη μετατρέπονται σε δουλειά και οι άνθρωποι σε πράγματα. Για αυτό, η επανάσταση ενάντια στην αποξένωση είναι η φροντίδα και η μετάδοση πρακτικών ανάκτησης σύνδεσης και ρυθμού. Επιθυμούμε να μοιραστούμε έθιμα συνειδητής παρουσίας, σύνδεσης και ενίσχυσης της αίσθησης του ανήκειν, ανακαλώντας μια διευρυμένη έννοια της ευγνωμοσύνης-συγκομιδής και των τραγουδιών, χορών, παραμυθιών, και τελετουργιών της.
Προηγούμενες μορφές αυτής της εργασίας-φροντίδας υποστηρίχθηκαν από το Συμπόσιο Artistic Connective Practices (Fontys University, Tilburg Netherlands 2022) και το Deep Commons Conference (Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Ireland σε συνεργασία με το Le Terre Institute for Community and Ecology, Mississippi, USA). Η ομάδα ( συμμετέχει με το κεφάλαιο “Connective practices towards a radical politics of community-integrated learning and care across the divisions of Cyprus: Some learning points around making kin, cooperative pedagogy, and freedom-respecting technologies” στο επερχόμενο βιβλίο του SUNI Press “Deep Commons: Cultivating ecologies of solidarity and care beyond capitalism, patriarchy, racism, and the state”.

Συμμετοχή: 60€  (20€ x 3εργαστήρια)
Το εργαστήρι, δομημένο σε τρεις δύωρες συναντήσεις, απευθύνεται σε γονείς, εκπαιδευτικούς ή άτομα που ενδιαφέρονται για την εκπαίδευση ως καλλιέργεια συντροφικότητας στην μαθησιακή πορεία των άλλων, αρμονικής συνύπαρξης και συνεργασίας με παιδιά και άλλους ενήλικες, μέσω παιχνιδιού και δημιουργικότητας προς μια ανθρώπινη μελλοντική κοινωνία. Συμπεριλαμβάνει εργασία με πηλό, τραγούδι, ελεύθερο παιχνίδι, προετοιμασία απλού γευματος, συνειδητή συνδημιουργία περιβάλλοντος για ελεύθερο παιχνίδι, ζωγραφική και χειροτεχνία. Γλώσσες εμψύχωσης: Ελληνικά, Τούρκικα, Αγγλικά

Πληροφορίες: 99586369

Excerpt from our forthcoming book chapter: Connective practices towards a radical politics of community-integrated learning and care across the divisions of Cyprus: Some learning points around making kin, cooperative pedagogy, and freedom-respecting technologies

Written for “Deep Commons: Cultivating ecologies of solidarity and care beyond capitalism, patriarchy, racism, and the state” [forthcoming, SUNI Press, 2024]

by Chrystalleni Loizidou in community with Hülya Dede, Sylvia Hadjigeorgiou, Konstantina Kasina, Livia Moura, Christina Tsene, George Biskos, and the Eimaste Parents Cooperative

A spell: from practice to theory

In the beginning there is flow. There is the “being in the rhythms of nature”, the “being in social connection”, with uninterrupted experimentation and creativity, the feeling of the elements and the seasons, the observing and the doing, the running and climbing and picking fruit and making shelter. And getting dirt between your toes. There is the joy and gratitude of harvest. But then the care-work that reproduces “being in the rhythms of nature” is imprisoned by top-down notions of education and productivity. These impositions dominate the doing and life, so they separate us from flow and from our rhythms. Being and doing are turned into work and people into things. Thus the world is crazy, and revolts are practices of rediscovering connection and rhythm.  [Excerpt from the Eimaste Connective Practices Toolkit for Community Flow Between Families in Transition; inspired by Massimo de Angelis’ editorial intro for the Commoner, 2012]

Let this piece of writing be a call to life, a call to de-projectify and radically de-institutionalise. A call to heed the advice of Brazilian indigenous leader Ailton Alves Lacerda Krenak “not to take the children out of the room” so that we stay connected to their and our needs and hold their abilities and their interests (their mess, their energy, and their openness to possibility) in our heart as we choose to occupy a present and build a future together with them. Let this be a call to start living out solutions to this systemic crisis of childhood and so, inevitably it seems, to allow ourselves to become academic “matter out of place”. Let us unapologetically allow tears and laughter to disturb conferences, exhibitions, seminars and political decision-making gatherings. Let us face and undo the fear of the mess and freedom of childhood and the alienation that has taken hold through this rampant capitalist, patriarchal and deeply discriminatory and unnatural phenomenon of institutional infantophobia. Let us undo the disconnection from our need to care that has been allowed by the exclusion of children, of the elderly and of the disabled, from most settings of supposed productivity. Let this be a call to give ourselves to the hard work of harmonious cooperative flow, embodied lived experience and care that puts the child (and the child within us) in the centre and builds life around that. A call to see childcare as commoning, to laboriously, patiently and forgivingly build local connections and circular exchange economies that may, eventually, allow us “not to park our children while we go to work.”

This piece presents the conversations and the vision of a group of people who have been coordinating closely and harmoniously to pool resources and raise children together in a spirit of freedom and creativity. We’ve only been able to bring this vision into inhabited reality as a series of exceptions, for two or three days at a time, at the end of which we eventually return to our habitual reliance on less connected arrangements and services. This chapter picks up key learning points from our stints of practising childcare commoning. Here we take elements from those days of being together in flow and invest in them, articulating our ideas for extending and normalising them. 

We wish to understand and transform the conditions that are trapping our families in cities, in increasingly expensive and difficult to maintain childcare and learning arrangements, that are depriving us of a robust and stimulating social context, that are keeping us on the bus or in the car for too long every day, or too long in front of screens, or eating too many take-aways, or despairing when we face illness or injury or depression, or the realisation that there’s no one around to help us reinforce important boundaries with our children. Our aim is to share what we have learnt so far: things we hold to be useful and hopeful practices as a way out of this mess. A way out of this global, isolating, infantophobic matrix that is feeding into what can be called the edu-war-health industrial complex, now happily aligned with an exploitative tech and media industry. A situation that has globally turned parenthood and childcare —or bonds of care-giving more generally— into predicaments.

Eimaste 2023 Cycle: a community-integrated childcare and early learning program

With great joy we invite families to join the new cycle of the “Eimaste” Parents Cooperative, for 2023. Our plan is to offer tailored childcare and learning resources responding to shared needs, building on the experience we’ve gathered since 2019. Our goal is to create a childcare environment and rhythm based on beautiful community and a sense of emotional security and belonging, where our children are safely able to learn and explore, embedded in a broader, reliable support-system of like-minded families. “Eimaste” serves as the foundation and primary infrastructure made up by pedagogues, spaces, materials, accummulated knowledge and best practices with elements from the Waldorf-Steiner, Forest School, “parenting by connection” and worldschooling movements.

We are able to support two mixed age cooperative pods one for the morning and one for the afternoon, made up of 4-8 families each. Contact Chrystalleni, our coordinator, at 99586369 to learn more and sign up for our Open Day on January 21st.