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Welcome to the new learning year! Whether you’re a SelfDesign family this year or are learning elsewhere, we hope your year ahead is filled with adventure and discovery.

SelfDesign enrolment for the 2016/17 learning year remains open, however our SupportEd program is at capacity and we are currently placing learners with either Low Incidence or High Incidence needs on our waitlist.

Upcoming Dates

  • Grades 10-12 Open House - Oct 6 @ 7pm
  • Gateways Virtual Camp - Starts Oct 4
  • Gateways Fall Workshop - Starts Oct 10
  • K-9 Manning Park Weekend Getaway - Oct 28
  • Grades 10-12 Manning Park Fall Camp - Starts Oct 11

Welcome to our Fall newsletter.

In this edition, you'll hear from some of the learners and families that make up our community about their experience with SelfDesign. From the story of a 'Gateways' learner who learned to love writing, to tips and inspiration for selfdesigning at home and in your community, our hope is that this newsletter will serve as a resource for you and your family.

Welcome to the 2016/2017 learning year, and thank you for reading.

A message from Kathleen Forsythe, our Principal.

Welcome to SelfDesign for the learning year 2016-17.  This is the 15th year that we have supported learners and families on their learning journey. Whether you are new to SelfDesign and maybe just beginning with your five year old or whether you are supporting your son or daughter to complete their education journey, we are delighted to be of service.

There will be some changes for SelfDesign families this year. As an independent school, SelfDesign is required to implement the new BCED Plan curriculum at grades K-9 this year.  We will also be exploring the BCED plan changes at SelfDesign in grades 10-12. We are happy about the new provincial BC education plan as many of its features are close to what we at SelfDesign have believed in and upheld for many years. We know learning takes place wherever the learner is and that the role of family and community provide fundamental learning environments. We agree that education is about developing happy and whole people who will be ready and competent for adult life.  

This year, our focus as an education program will be on improving the integration of SelfDesign ideas as a K-12 program and on focusing how these ideas can be inclusive for all the learners we serve, meeting the needs and goals of each learner and their family.

I want to wish you all well as we begin our learning journey together.


Experience "selfdesigning" . . .

Can you see the learning happening around you every day?

In traditional school environments, verbal (linguistic) and logical (mathematical) learning styles are traditionally the ones we nurture, measure, and grow using worksheets and lectures. Selfdesigning opens us to a new world of learning styles, allowing learners to truly personalize and experience their learning.

You can see this in the joy of a visual (spatial) learner passionately painting the subject of their interest, or the imaginative play and role playing (interpersonal) of a young social learner taking on the persona of a parent or community leader.

The infographic below shows several of the different learning styles as envisioned by SelfDesign founder Brent Cameron.

Watch how you and your children interact with the world, and simply observe the learning already taking place. When you open your mind to the different ways we learn, how many new learning experiences do you see?


"SelfDesign is great and everyone should do it!"

Meet Shane, a SelfDesign learner for the past 7 years. With interests from snowmobiling, dirt biking and mountain biking to mechanics and equipment operation, Shane dedicates a lot of time to his passions and interests.

Prior to joining the SelfDesign Learning Community, Shane was with another distributed learning program in BC. For many years he had struggled with reading and writing. “These areas were just not my strengths,” he says.

Through SelfDesign Gateways, designed to support the desire for greater independence and peer connection for grade 8 and 9 learners as they transition to high school, Shane found the Gateways Writing workshop. With games and group activities over the course of 5 weeks, he started to explore reading and writing more. By the end of the workshop, things had completely changed.

“Before I started doing this [workshop] I didn’t really have any interest in writing or reading or doing anything like that but NOW because of YOU GUYS (Gateways Workshop Facilitators) I am motivated and inspired to do what I thought was impossible. And I have to thank all you guys for that."

Shane says, “I am better at reading and writing now. [SelfDesign] is great and everyone should do it!”

Tips and inspiration for personalized learning with SelfDesign

SelfDesign families spend a lot of time in a process called “Observing for Learning.” This is the process of observing everyday child-led activities and noticing the natural learning taking place as the children follow their passions.

We asked families to share some examples of recent observations they’ve made that surprised them. Here are just a few:
  • Learning to navigate and understand directions at the library, to find a book;
  • Reading, writing, math, and geography in a game of Monopoly;
  • Saving up money for a trip across the country, we talked about math and fractions;
  • At martial arts class, we learned about jobs and contributions in our community;
  • Learning to control the movement of their bodies and make it look beautiful as they dove off the dock at the lake over and over again this summer;
  • Patiently experimenting and doing family taste-tests to determine alternatives when swapping wheat flour out of family-favourite recipes;
  • Blogging about our learning adventures has helped our family play with literacy.
  • YouTube tutorials have massively influenced learners in a positive way, giving them autonomy over their own learning.
  • Deepening personal autonomy and resourcefulness as well as listening and empathy through dialogue in a peaceful conflict resolution process.

Which of these observations of learning surprise you?

Did you know that the SelfDesign Learning Community hosts in-person gatherings?

From workshops and camps to weekend getaways and graduation ceremonies, our in-person events are opportunities for learners and families from across BC to come together and get to know each other in person.

Watch for details on Facebook, the SelfDesign blog, or here in the SelfDesign seasonal newsletter!

Join the SelfDesign Learning Community!

Are you ready to feel inspired by a supportive community dedicated to personalized learning? Apply to enrol now!

Please share this newsletter with your friends and family and help us share SelfDesign with the world!


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