Week 2 at Tsula Adohi – Autumn Semester 2022
This week was amazing in so many ways. We went on daily woods walks which gave us a lot of opportunities to observe and interact with nature, including identifying many different plants and animals. We focused some this week on leaf patterns and shapes. Many of those walks were to a site we call “Strider Creek”, where we have been working on nature skills, including fire-starting with a ferro rod, bush-crafting, building dams and bridges, and catching and releasing small creek critters. We also participated in adult-led math and writing times ( Amy guided us through a wonderful poetry exercise), archery practice, and a kid-led cooking class, all requested by the kids. We joined together in planning and sense-making discussions about the starting of fires, and the physics and chemistry of fire. We also spent time studying patterns, meta-patterns, and power in our group and in society. There was also lots of glorious and regenerative downtime for kids to interact with each other, and for adults to talk with kids one-on-one.
What remains most strongly on my mind as I reflect on the week is the continuing evolution of our culture of self and mutual and planetary care. As I mentioned last week, we start every day with a check-in. We each have the opportunity to talk about how we are feeling, something we are grateful for, any requests we have of each other, and any requests we have of the universe. Sharing our feelings, wants, and needs starts our day by establishing a feeling of both self and mutual care. Then Amy and I strive, through our words and actions, to support all of us in taking care of ourselves and each other in a balanced way throughout each day. Words may be cheap on their own. Accompanied by action, they paint our world.
Again, I am struck by the importance of pacing. Back in the day, I had a lot of experiences in public schools as a student, teacher (also a long time ago), staff developer, science coordinator, and supervisor of student teachers. While most of my public school experience was a long time ago, it seems to me that despite the best efforts of teachers, our educational institutions have, by and large, only become more factory-like over time. Everything is a race to high test scores, while putting a premium on minimizing “down time”, which leaves little room for regeneration and spontaneous interactions. At our school, we learn gently and playfully as we explore the forest and as we explore ideas, feelings, skills, and concepts. All with a feeling of wandering and wondering instead of cramming and rushing!