Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who wants CreaTIve BreAD RoLls

Sitting breathing

Making paper mâché paste

Using paper mâché paste idea to create new concoctions

Paper mâché on balloons

Painting spheres for making a solar system

Discussion of how solar system can look and all the planets, which involved choosing planet

Making bread rolls in creative fashion

Eating pumpkin soup and bread rolls

Imaginary games around horses and running

Hide and seek


Self Designing Together

I will add photos, I notice that I need to write about the day on the day so as not to forget all the beautiful learning experiences that we had as a group.

We had three dedicated SelfDesigning families all from within walking distance, with us today, so that brought with it the depth of understanding of what we all want to create for these experiences.

We understand learning as a process, we understand learning happens everywhere and anywhere and that it is about fun, connection, relationships and for us sharing this experience together :)

And....this is what we did:

Made some 3d geometric shapes which involved adults and children, created some yummy quiche and salad together along with cake, custard, coffee and mint tea, jumped on the trampoline playing made up games, swinging tricks on the swing, checking the chicken coop for eggs (collected 7 ), sandpit with cars, spades and buckets, Barbie doll imaginary play, dominoes, long staged movies of happenings with the camera, discussions on SelfDesigning our experience, discussion around a meditation circle attended the night before, sitting circle with children to show them a new breathing technique, questions around favorite foods, questions around everyone's choice of activity, dry felting lesson that turned into wanting to chop up the sponge, music on a music mat, imaginary car games, iPods with music and headphones, iPads with "Leo's Pad" and "Fruit Ninja", cool luring mandalas and eventually it was time to say goodbye.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Garden walks, food creation, outdoor games

Our next day was the Thursday, we have decided this would be more appropriate day, along with the Wednesday, given there are lots of other goings on for Home Learners on the Friday, in the form of North Taranaki Home Educators organised activity and play days.

On this day we had a intention to have circle time, create a Quiche together to eat and make paper mâché spheres in the hopes we could create a hanging solar system since the children had expressed interest in this idea. It turned out we ran out of time for the paper mache to it will keep until next gathering :)

Firstly we had a walk around the garden discussing the idea of creating our own wee patch of garden with plants that were individually chosen. We went around to the carrot patch where Leigh had planted multicoloured carrots and we all had the chance to try these, yum!


Our circle time was an opportunity to ask everyone what they wanted to do at some point this day. Given we had two children who had not previously joined us this was also an opportunity to see what activities they would enjoy doing with us. Drawing, trampoline games, outdoor running games, making food, trains.......came up as possibilities and all of these were achieved during the course of the day so I would say it was a successful one.

For the two children who were new to join we created mind maps and put them on the wall to continue our mission of finding common ground for activities.

We started with trampoline games and Kabish Kaboo a game learnt at 'Nature Tracks' which brought in different native animals and what they eat, all the children LOVE this game from age 2-10 and we played for over half and hour, running the length of the yard, really fun!

After was the opportunity to come together for a circle and sharing time, it seems we are starting to enjoy the opportunity to share and some are still a little reluctant.....this will evolve.

Making quiche involved a few different items so most children joined in with some part of this process and we ALL very much enjoyed eating together at the big indoor table.

After some of us created some 3d shapes using coloured card, some knitting and for the younger ones playdough creations.

Clean up and all went home happy :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Imagination, Lego and more

I may add photos for this post......

Location was changed to Penny's house due to energy levels and convenience for making the soup and bread.

The 9 children all came along and we started with three on imaginary ancient horses game, three using the cardboard huts and three helping in the kitchen.

Between sandpit, trampoline, Lego and piano, as well as the 2 iPads being used mostly with "Leo's Pad" and "Mister Maker" apps plenty of inspiring each other with activity and fun. Plenty of interesting conversation going on and plenty of activity......all self directed and self motivated of course :)

Then we rearranged the room to make space for rolling our bread rolls. Quick example of how it could look to roll dough into a snake shape then curl into a knot shape to form the bun, then each was left to create in their own way. Someone had the idea to make a small letter from dough to put on top so we didn't forget who's was who's. Sunae made flat rolls some had long tails and some were high mountains, all individual.

Us adults discussed being so grateful for the beautiful food to eat when some expressed their dislike of the end with all the "yummy this is soooo good" any that had their reservations tucked in as we sat around the table together.

This was our chance to have a group meeting and talk about other foods we enjoy and would like to share together. A few choices were picked we still could work more on a meal plan, I am wondering if having the children draw what they like to eat might help to determine preferences?

After we had a game of Wild craft going and colouring mandala's along with making 3d geometric shapes for the decorative touch we will add to Our learning space when it is finished.

I sat with Grace, Zoe and Kalea towards the end of the session as they were interested in writing stories. We made A4 paper into booklets to write and Zoe came up with a wonderful tale about three Mermaids. She proudly shared this with Felix's Mum upon her arrival!

Another successful experience learning, creating and most importantly sharing fun space together :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We love trampoline creative games!

It was decided, after talking with our Learning Consultants on line that we needed to have more physical time for those that needed that kind of activity.

This is how we started our day, trampoline! So fun and very energising :)

Trampoline Games become a quite the experience.

Over the course of the day we called "tramp" a few times and there was at one point everyone joining in. The creativity and imagination for games was really 'exercised' here. We will make a list of all our new made up tramp games to pull out at another time.
* Eggs to Birds - starting as eggs, 'being cracked' by one jumper and flying away as a local bird, local bird knowledge was voiced.
* Pogo sticks - jumping high as if on a pogo stick
* name a few

Our circle was a little disjointed today, with the few children that were present we discussed the different parts of the brain and how it works.

Pasta making was a big hit, each child was able to roll the pasta through the machine and enjoyed with some delicious sauce.

Trains were also a on the agenda with elaborate train games going on, the track set up and trains given out with lots of chatter of how the story was unfolding with each of them :)

Creative communication during train play.

The day was very windy so the plan for beginning our paper mache solar system had to be delayed and the rest of the afternoon we made playdough for the inside big table. Everyone again wanted to join and it was interesting to see how each child chose to create, some being inspired by others, some creating in their own world. More pics to come

How our day of learning in freedom and joy can look.

We made a loose outline for the time. Knowing that we needed to create space to allow the session to unfold.

Our flexible plan for the session

We started with Circle time which was immediately interrupted by a spirited 3 year old who wanted to hold the floor. Once this dissipated we had a quiet time with each person speaking using a talking stick.

Talking stick for each of us to be heard.

Most children are happy to talk, open to discussion and sharing their thoughts. We all know each other quite well, which has created a level of trust, so even a breathing exercise was understood and practiced. We had a star jar to use for recognising how our mind can sometimes seem frazzled, by giving it time and consciously breathing the stars settle as our mind can, if we allow.

Watch the stars settle, breathing to allow the mind to settle

Over the course of the time we discussed how agreements can look and noted some that were important for us all to create harmony. We pinned up our mind maps on the wall, created a group mind map and worked on all the topics that have been coming up for us that we could create experiences around.

Kite making and flying was a couple of hours of fun, with a few sticks of bamboo gathered from near by, a plastic bag, tape string and scissors the three older girls were running up and down the yard flying :)

Making pizza together and then sharing was an opportunity for much discussion around food, toppings, gooey messes (Rayce) and yummy smells.

It was truely an inspirational experience, the freedom with which learning flowed for everyone, connections made, questions asked, creation and sharing was beautiful.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Beginning

We as home learners who are Self Designing at the base of Mount Taranaki in New Zealand, decided we would consciously come together to collaborate with the learning experiences for/with our children. The ages range from 2-7 years and we have 9 children involved.

It will be on a Wednesday and Friday of each week 9:30 until 2pm-ish in the home of one of the families which is a large open space with large yard containing a trampoline, sand pit, vege garden and paddock next door with cows and chickens. There is even a view of the sea from the yard so a beautiful location for us to start.

We have already cruised through the first week, 15th and 17th of January 2014, and YES it is everything and more than we imagined. The children are REALLY excited about being together, two Mums involved (on the ground) are REALLY excited to be doing this and now it is down to us adults using our SelfDesign tools to foster and facilitate the fun in the direction of the tangible projects the children come up with......of which there are so many to choose :)

The Kite Flies!

Fishing, Creating Yummy Food together, Kite making and flying, Solar System understanding, Writing stories, Trains, Creating trampoline games together, Collecting chicken eggs (chickens lay freely so it is a little like a treasure hunt), Lego, Shops. The possibilities when allowing a child-led approach is truly inspiring to be a part of.

Sharing pizza and stories.

For lunch we all help to make a shared feast and have a space to sit together for eating.

We look forward to sharing our journey with you for how it can look to learn together without the constraints of a prescribed system. Creating, imagining, sharing, laughing, empathising, acknowledging, accepting, playing, encouraging, inspiring.........

Thursday, January 16, 2014


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