Growing Participation is a long journey. We know it can be overwhelming to get started and sometimes challenging to stay motivated during the journey. These guides provide a roadmap of activities for each phase of your growth. There are also some words about what to expect in each phase, the challenges you’ll face, and resources for your times with your nurturers.

Tips for Success

  • Understand how this program and our entire approach is different from traditional language learning. Read below to understand some key concepts. Explore this website and get help face-to-face, if possible.

  • Use the phase guides. Understand how to do each activity and why it’s important. Read the guide before getting started and then, in the early phases, review the plan before each meeting with your nurturer.

  • Make recordings that serve your growth. Watch this video and notice that they make two recordings. The first recording doesn’t include the correct response and growing participators will be challenged to recall new words as they listen and relive the session. The second recording does link pictures with the right response, but it’s only used as needed.

About Participation Through the Phases

In each of the six phases there are two ways we participate in the host world:

  • lifestyle growing Participation

or interaction with host people in everyday life

  • special-growth participation

or activities with a nurturer which place our participation and growth front and center.

There is connection between the two kinds of participation. In fact, they are two versions of the same thing. In Phase 1 Connecting, we grow mainly through special-growth participation activities. In Phases 2 through 5, special growth participation continues on a large scale, but becomes less and less play-like, and more and more in the nature of serious relational interaction. Lifestyle participation during Phase 2-5 increases steadily and becomes increasingly natural. In Phase 6 Ever Growing, growing participators grow mainly through lifestyle participation.

About Growth Through the Phases

Your abilities will change drastically as you move through the phases. The things that are challenging or impossible during your first week of growing participation will become easy, or even boring, within just a few days. It does get harder to see changes in later phases, but the most appropriate activities for one phase will not be as fruitful when you move to the next phase.

The activities for times of special growth participation with your nurturers are designed to be in your Growth Zone. When you are interacting in your Growth Zone, you will be challenged but with help from your nurturer you should be able to complete the activity. If you can’t do the activity even with help, it’s too difficult and earlier activities will be more fruitful and help you grow more. If you can do the activities without any help, then you are ready for more challenging activities. Think of a tachometer — there needs to be enough challenge to keep you from stalling, but not so much use your energy inefficiently.


It also is important to monitor how difficult you find any activity. Notice if you are getting frustrated because it feels impossible and completely beyond your ability. Notice if you are losing interest and feeling restless, if you are able to answer without any effort. Make changes to get the activity back into your Growth Zone.