Monday, December 5, 2011

Enrique Feldman: Connecting & Growing

Connecting, Trusting, Risking and Growing
Early Childhood Educator, Film Composer and Author

Head Start Classroom, Tucson, Arizona

I live in Tucson, Arizona with my fantastic and witty son Nicky (13, 5’9”, size 12 shoe and he still asks us if we can cuddle on most nights), my artistic and energetic daughter Sam (17, young composer, author and future choral conductor) and the absolute love of my life, Marie.

Marie is a fabulous concert pianist. We met when I hired her on a tour and kept on hiring her until it became permanent! She has taught me so much and her Cuban influence of salsa dancing has impacted by own practice as an Artist and Educator.

With a name like Enrique Feldman, many wonder “where does my family come from?” When you add my middle name Cañez, (my mom’s last name), it really becomes a mouthful! My dad was born in Mexico City and mom in the Sonoran Mexican town Imuris (the origin of the name Cañez). My grandfather on my dad's side was born in Odessa, Russia (yep, that's the Feldman) with my grandma from Madrid, Spain. Add my wife's family, who's from Cuba, a dash
of salt, half a chipotle pepper and a tablespoon of apricot jam and you get this appetizing mix of Latino, Caribbean, European and oh yes, just a bit of Yaqui Indian on my mom’s side. The above photo is me as a 4 year old with my mom Vicky and my dad Enrique.

I have the great honor and the daily pleasure of guiding professional development for teachers and parents, and playing with children (what some call “working”) all over the U.S. and in Latin America. My background is in music education and music performance. I’m a former Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Arizona. In 2000, I founded and now direct what is known as the F.A.M.E. Foundation ( which stands for Fostering Arts-Mind Education. As a non-profit organization we help preschools and elementary schools use our artistic facilitating techniques known as Life Learning Techniques. These ways of playing with purpose, breathing, relaxation, movement and music have impacted the lives of over 40,000 children and families over the past decade. We are also very excited about being recognized as successful by the National Endowment for the Arts.

My passions in life include:
My passions in education include:
  • Engaging adult learners to live with the energy, unconditional love and wonder of children.
  • Helping teachers and parents use questions with children to engage critical thinking.
  • Guiding teachers and parents in the use of improvisation based on children’s ideas to foster creativity.
  • Recognizing the importance of having authentic dialogue with children verbally and non-verbally.
  • Empowering adult learners with an understanding of the connection between affirmation, trust, risk and growth.
Below is 7 year old Imogene Chiasson being interviewed after her choir performed at the Catalina Foothills Theatre as part of the Tucson Girls Chorus Concert.  I have had the great pleasure of teaching her piano and I have seen the power of music impact her confidence.  Imogene connect to life through her Art, or as Dr. Gardner might say, through her musical intelligence.  This connection has built an on-going cycle of affirmation, which in turn has given Imogene a sense of deep trust in herself and life.  With this trust comes the willingness to risk.  Enjoy her attitude, humility and effortless ability to communicate....she's also cute as a button!

                                                                                                                                                                              Below you see Head Start children breathing with brain games. As I continue to make my journey in finding more ways to connect with children, I know it has made me better at everything I do. I joyfully thank Mimi Chenfeld and Dr. Carroll Rinehart for their friendship and guidance over the years in this area. Also, thank you Debbie Clement for this marvelous play area! I am so excited and honored to be joining all of the amazing individuals in this group. I look forward to learning from you and invite you to join my newest group "Living Like a Child" online at Facebook for a weekly dosage of information and inspiration, (

I also encourage you to take a peek at my book “Living Like a Child” which has recently been released by Redleaf Press 


To the left you see children playing brain games related to the synchronization of left and right hemispheres, patterning and having a lot of fun!!! Joy is a critical part of creating life long learners. 

To the right you see an example of children combining a yoga brain game with breathing.  This also is a great work out for the upper legs.

Finally, below is a short video of children of children engaged in brain games and kinesthetic literacy. Becoming what they learn is something they love to do.  Let us remember to live with the energy, sense of wonder and joy that children bring with them so often.



  1. What awesome work, Enrique! I love your concept of "living like a child" and your passion in education for "engaging adult learners to live with the energy, unconditional love and wonder of children." I requested to join your Facebook group! :) Deb @

  2. Hi Deb! Thanks for your lovely comments! I look forward to getting to know and you feel free to post videos and comments on my "Living Like a Child" Facebook Page. It's a meeting place for teachers from around the world. Stay warm and have a beautiful holiday season!

  3. So very happy that Marie sent this link to me. What an amazing talent and inspiration you are to so many! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks Linda!! Very kind words. Please share this link with anyone interested in continued growth at any age.


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