Loving Hands Child Care Teaches Peace

Children’s playroom area.

Tanya Dennis, a longtime educator and journalist is starting a values-based family childcare center in East Oakland – Loving Hands Child Care. The center opens on March 31. Dennis is enrolling infants to school age children and envisions her students as future peace builders and nation-builders. “Children must start learning values and virtues by age two,” she said. “By six years of age their personalities are formed – that’s why I’m opening a pre-school.   I will teach reading, math, art and 12 core values.” “Children with values are aware of the motivations for their behavior; they are able to assign worth or importance to aspects of life, which, in turn, influences how they approach life. “Today people are largely influenced and defined by material values such as social position, monetary worth, external appearance or personal possessions.  These misrepresentations of self-worth creates cultures of accumulation, possessiveness, selfishness, and greed and are the root cause of conflict, exploitation, poverty and tension in the world.” Many years of experience and training have led Dennis to take the step of opening the childcare center. In 1999, she assisted “Late Night Basketball” Coach and Director of Athletes United for Peace Doug Harris in taking nine of the Bay Area’s finest high school athletes to The Hague Appeal for Peace Conference  in Hague Amsterdam. The Hague Appeal for Peace is an international network of organizations and individuals dedicated to the abolition of war and making peace a human right.  It was here that Dennis was introduced to living values. Living Values, an Educational Program (LVEP), is a comprehensive program, pre-school to young adults.  There is also a component for children affected by war. A sophisticated character education program, Living Values teaches that human dignity is the external expression of an internal state of self-worth not assigned by external sources, but rather, comes from a source that is universal and eternal. Dennis’ enthusiasm for the curriculum resulted in an invitation from the LVEP organization to attend the group’s conference in Oxford, England and become a certified trainer. After certification, Dennis returned to the U.S. and for the next 10 years knocked on school district doors appealing to administrators to add values – character education –to their curriculum.  Unfortunately, lack of money and time tied administrators’ hands. Now, she is retiring from the Oakland School District to open Loving Hands. “It is my responsibility as a teacher to create a place in which children can learn compassionate living, compassionate listening, expecting respect, empathetic communication, unconditional love, and non-judgmental justice, where you don’t participate in negativity,” Dennis said. For information regarding enrollment call 510-388-5908 or 510-878-7121. For information on living values go to www.livingvalues.net
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