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Re-enrolment is opening March 31st for current SelfDesign families for the 2016/2017 learning year.

Emails will be sent out as soon as re-enrolment is open, so watch your inbox!

Upcoming Dates

Welcome to our spring newsletter.

Spring Newsletter Welcome
Welcome courtesy of Suzanne Tompkins, mentor in the Gateways program

A message from Karen Leckie, Acting Principal.

As we enter a new season of spring and the cherry blossoms start to bloom, I wanted to take a moment to welcome each and every one of you to confirming your enrolment for next year with SelfDesign.

In these times of change it is important to think of arriving at our chosen future state in a state of grace.  As we work to bring the SelfDesign education program to each of our families, we are co-creating in an inclusive process to weave together our SelfDesign model and way of being with you. This is an important aspect of our growth going forward.

I invite each of you to reflect in this new season and time of change. I invite you to be a pursuer of the possible and welcome you to a wonderful unfoldment on the journey of learning within SelfDesign Learning Community.

Karen Leckie

Cleaning Up Our Oceans

A video by learners Cianan and Callum

“Even if we can’t see it, it’s still there.” That’s the lesson 16 year old SelfDesigners Cianan and Callum have shared with us in their video, “Cleaning Up Our Oceans”. In this mini documentary, they share the cleanup process of a beach with their peers from a local ecological education centre.

They created the video after a family member returned from Australia and shared what she had learned about plastics in the ocean ecosystem. Cianan says, "We found it disturbing just how much damage we as humans, and even us ourselves, were doing to the environment. We decided we had to take action. We got a few of our friends excited about it too, and organized a beach cleanup."

"But simply cleaning up the mess wasn’t enough, we needed to cut it off at the source, which is where the idea for the second part of the project came from," Callum adds.

Over a period of a few weeks, with support from their mentor, Cianan and Callum created "Cleaning Up Our Oceans" with their friends and peers. They say that they now have a better understanding of how their actions affect the world, along with the impact that litter has on nature. They realized that many others want to help with the garbage problem, even though they may not know where to start.

Callum shares, "Cianan and I are currently planning another beach cleanup. In this one we hope to get the whole Saturna community involved, and with more people we’ll be able to cover more beaches. We also want to put garbage bins on the Saturna beaches, so that it’s really easy for anyone walking along them to pick up any garbage that they find, and stick it in the bin."

"If we can get enough excitement around this project then maybe some of the people who join in will organize their own cleanups and inspire new people and so on," adds Cianan.

When asked about their SelfDesign experience, Cianan remarks: "When I used to think of learning, I’d see a text book, full of other people's ideas and discoveries. This had very little interest to me, it was someone else's edventure, someone else’s breakthroughs and discoveries. Now I see learning in everything I do, I learn in a myriad of new ways, from going on a hike to reading a book. Learning can be enjoyable and even fun."

Community Spotlight: Gateways Writing Workshop

Suzanne Tompkins' Featured Project
Gateways Creative Writing Workshop Slideshow
Gateways is the grade 7-9 learning path within SelfDesign, intended to provide all learners with a gentle introduction to the structures and evolutions that come with the grade 10-12 learning experience. The Gateways Writing Workshop featured here is one of many exciting, engaging options offered to learners. You can find out more about Gateways by clicking here.

Community and Contribution on the Farm

The story of one SelfDesigner's learning through the eyes of his mother.
By SelfDesign parent, Christiana St-Pierre
My son experienced the most exhilarating feeling this week. He arrived home from the farm one day, and he was absolutely radiant, singing, and joyful. He was wholly elated to tell me about the experience he had at our co-operative farm, where he was included in work with a team of other folks, kids and adults included, and put to work.

He helped to build a wall in the barn, dividing it into two sections: the chicken coop and the wood shed. He then helped split and stack the firewood that had been harvested on-site. Hearing him describe this work, he and some adults agreed that it is entirely likely that EVERY SINGLE piece of firewood that is currently stacked in the newly-constructed woodshed was touched by his hands at least 1.5 times (yes, that's the term he used: "at least 1.5 times"!)

He loved doing this work. We have often spoken of the philosophy of "meaningful work", work that is aesthetic, satisfying, and makes a valuable contribution. The sort of work that is soul-satisfying. The sort of work that is a joy to complete. He experienced that sensation viscerally. He sang about it and enjoyed reflecting upon it, noting what elements of the project made this into a sort of peak experience for him: the social element (cooperative and collaborative work), the physical labour (moving his body, feeling his strength, building a physical stack), and the aesthetic aspect (fresh air, working outdoors, building with natural materials).

Following this experience,he later approached us to talk about getting a job again. He really loved the job he had last year at another farm where we had a weekly commitment. He had arranged with the agroforestry farmer -- who milled his lumber on-site -- to do a weekly sweep-up of the sawdust he had at the foot of the lumber mill. He had negotiated a tidy weekly salary of $9 for as much sawdust as he could shovel during our weekly visit. He loved that job too, and I think he enjoyed the relationship he had with the old-time farmer too, who could clearly see how eager he was to contribute and perform.

A solution at which we have arrived for now is to test out a weekly salary for a list of daily farm chores which are not currently his responsibility. The idea is that he would eventually become THE animal caregiver for morning rounds. We clearly explained that this would be a standing commitment, and that the pay would be Over and Above his nominal weekly allowance. He is thrilled with this plan, and quite amazed that he can earn a small amount more money for *only* feeding the animals, as he put it. He was eager to ensure that he would still be welcome to help with other farm tasks and projects, including lighting the wood-burning stove each morning (a winter chore) and helping with firewood splitting and construction.

I am amazed by the bright light that is my son. I love these moments, when I can see him come fully alive, proud of his achievements, eager to undertake new projects, and glowing with life.

Spring Webinar Series for Lifelong Learning

Free webinars from the SelfDesign Graduate Institute
Join the SelfDesign Graduate Institute for a series of free, one hour webinars that include engaging information from visionaries in the fields of education, leadership, integral theory and more! Topics include...
  • March 6, 4 PM PST: Evolutionary Aesthetics: Education, Imagination and Social Transformation
  • March 13, 4 PM PDT: The Art and Science of Listening to The Self
  • March 20, 4 PM PDT: Learning to ‘See’
  • April 3, 4 PM PDT: The Image You Use to Describe The Lives of Children and Teens Makes All the Difference
  • April 10, 4 PM PDT:  Chasing the Dream—A Community Play to Celebrate 100 Years of History
  • April 17, 4 PM PDT: Education, Consciousness, Development, and Self Knowledge

Creating a Space

Two educators learn from their learners in a support group for youth.

"This is the most important socialization we get!" Nick, Donny, Jack, and Emma truly enjoy their SupportEd program with SelfDesign, though they have sometimes felt like they were missing a connection to their peers. They decided to approach mentors Shelagh and Wendy to facilitate a space where they could come together on a regular basis for support.

"We open the space for them to speak to us and us to listen to help them blossom," says Shelagh. She helped hold a space, while Wendy created the online community, and together they facilitate the group's regular meetings allowing the youth to take the lead.

It was important, these educators share, to create "a space for these kids to be themselves and accept themselves as they are, without having to change to meet societal goals and pressures. These kids have a place to just be them, and be able to be social in a way that suits them."

"The hardest point is to remember to leave our own agenda and ideas behind. We can include them, but don't push them. No one is pushing, no one is pulling. We're walking side by side," Shelagh shares.

Listening in on one of their calls is reminiscent of an after-school club in your local school. Despite the virtual setting, this youth group has roots. Whether they're talking about technology, gaming, friends, current events, or even world politics, these amazing learners say "this fills the void" of social interaction that can be missing from day to day life in an online school.

Shelagh shares that the most important parts of this process have been "time, patience, humility, and opening on the part of the educator. We're not imparting knowledge, but imparting it equally back and forth. We all have something to gain from each other when we live in community that has equal value."

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