Friday, December 5, 2014

Mind Mapping with

Mind mapping is a way of really becoming clear on what it is we want from life. It can be as simple as scribbling everything down that comes to mind and then deciding where is the most important place to start or more complicated by honing in on each thread to extend an idea to all it's possibilities.

For our wider groups first experience of mind mapping together it we can bring as many ideas as possible to start.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Big Changes, Expanded Horizons

As things do in life people have different ideas of how they want to be in community. For myself it is about creating more consistent physical connection and to ultimately create a "learning co-op" type scenario or more of a regular larger group gathering which brings more knowledge, expertise, passion and interests to share.

Free-Range Learners is in the closest town to us New Plymouth and we have been meeting twice a week with a lively and enthusiastic group who are open to possibilities of creating something with depth for ourselves and our children to be a part of......a community of Learners!

I have been speaking with them about the amazing tools and processes that is SelfDesign! They Love it, so now how to connect up all the dots to bring this community of people onto the same page. To be honest I believe we already are on the same page, definitely like minded in the way of wanting togetherness and connection/relationship for our children. At the same time I think it is important for us to have something in place in the form of Vision Statement, Mission and Intentions so everyone is quite clear where we are heading and more importantly if others join they can see where the roots of this group are grounded.

The understanding that each of us is a unique being who can bring our gift to share with each other, the understanding that we can work collaboratively in synergy from a win/win place. My perception, this is already happening as we all are open and honest about wants and needs for each of us and our families, we are open to listening, hearing different ideas and bringing understanding from our different perspectives.

This is the process of creating community and so now these blog posts will be related to this. On Monday we are going to begin mind mapping ideas on what we are all wanting from this experience. As I delve into SelfDesign more each day I am starting to feel the integration of life and how everything is intertwined and part of the web rather than feeling like life is a series of separate experiences. I love how as we (my immediate family) grow into BEING WITH free-range Learners (current name for larger group in town) we are having this parallel experience at home of new life and rapid growth with our new wee chicken chicks. Along with a nest of blackbirds off our deck that we monitor everyday.

I have to admit when this morning the nest was destroyed and their was one bird on the ground dead I had a panic about how the girls (3 and 6) would feel. Jason took them out there and surmised with them about what might have happened, the other chicks possibly flew away as they were now big enough to fly! As I noticed how happy the girls were with the understanding this was all part of the circle of life, the dead one was a normal part of this too.  I reflected on how things do die, doors shut, change occurs and this is no longer a "bad" thing. It is what it is!! Part of growth, expansion and change, LIFE :) xx

Snow white is a Silky Hen Chick

Blackbird nest we could see from our deck

Friday, July 18, 2014

Art Club

During the school holidays there is a art programme run each day with two sessions where the children have the opportunity to learn skills and use materials to craft , draw, paint, glue, creating something from a chosen topic. We have joined in this class a few times with the girls not only enjoying the company of each other also the experience of having an art mentor and special space specifically to create.

I notice both Kalea and Zoe horse pictures were posted on the Facebook page!

Drawing Horses and Ponies came up as a session and Leigh and I knew this would be of high interest especially Kalea and Grace who seemed to be more focused on learning how to ride and be around horses.  The class was a huge success both Leigh and I spoke of Kalea and Grace coming home and showing us the technique they had learnt to draw a horse so we could also draw our own horse with ease.

Grace went on to make a booklet of instructions to draw the horse and then wanted me to use the book by following the instructions. She asked Jason too and he enjoyed taking part in this activity with her. She as ingested to learn by using the same technique of seeing an animal as a series of shapes we can draw other creatures, we gave this a go looking at a picture of a Pukeko.

 We are now looking at asking Angela to do classes specifically for our home learning group and give the children an opportunity to delve more into specific art and craft techniques!

Yoga and The Beginning of Time

We start early for Yoga which is a novelty for us to be up and organised out the door and over to Leigh's house, we may have skipped breakfast :) yoga started off for the older three it seemed the two younger ones were not interested today. The girls lasted the whole session with Grace and Zoe partaking in the meditation at the end, to see them both slow down this much was surprising and although Grace said it was " hard to stop wiggling around" she still managed a few minutes :)

Mel and Nu arrived which meant we had 7 children present one of each age 2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Along with three Mums made for a fun day. We started our time together with circle to establish the needs of the group for this day. Trampoline came up and being one of the first sunny days in a long time this was a possibility. Horse riding for Kalea (which is booked in for next week) Sunae wanted to play trains with Luke and Zoe wanted to see what the Montessori First Great Lesson was all about so I had agreed to do this with anyone whom was interested. Zoe was highly motivated had I had quite a list of things to prepare of which she did in a very short amount of time! Trampoline games came first and after jumping and experiencing some interesting dynamics all calmed down so we could sit and listen to the story. Upon reflection Leigh noticed Zoe found this type of experience quite calming and commented how she really needs a balance of physical and intellectual stimulation to be in a calm and satisfied place. This particular aspect of development also fits in with current brain research where children around 7 or 8 are no longer so much in their bodies are starting to really exercise the brain. Makes us ponder the thought of children from 5 being expected to sit and do book work much of the day when possibly their learning is more on a physical level, we feel grateful to be able to cater to the individual learning needs of our children! :)

The other reason it was decided to tell the Montessori Great Lesson is that all the children are continually fascinated by how we came to be. Our Universe and all that is in it is covered in this story and it was wonderful to be able to listen to prior knowledge and how the children understood this concept.

I began reading the story of the beginning of time from what some scientists believe happened ( there is evidence of other stories so that's something we can bring to them another time). All the children had input at one time or the other answering questions or offering their previous knowledge so it made for a dynamic experience. Of course they all loved the mini experiments that came up too and around half way through the younger ones started becoming louder with their play and the older ones were starting to look topped out with all the new knowledge so we agreed to continue another day, doing the volcano experiment then :)

After lunch the two youngest came home with me, Mel and Nu went home and Leigh did some rafting with the three older girls completing little birdies of which Grace has helped Sunae complete her own at home.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Puke Ariki - Library and Museum

We are so lucky to have this amazing resource in New Plymouth. The displays are changed regularly and there are often interactive experiences for the children. After our run making paper planes it was comical to see the display was making paper planes with three techniques showing pictorial instructions on how to make these flying creations. As you can see this was very popular with everyone that passed through :)

 The library has a great selection of books, CD's, DVD's and all kinds of resources!

Mind Maps and Learning Plan

These are some of our individual mind maps created within the last 6 months. This activity is an ongoing one, as we feel like revisiting and revising what we would like to be achieving as individuals. The ideas are fluid some stay some go some come and go a bit. From these mind maps we create shared group learning which are things we would like to do together. As we become more familiar with this process I imagine it will become a twice yearly event to crate individual then group mind maps to turn into a learning plan.

 This is our group mind map which shows the areas of heart, mind, body and spirit. We write down in given areas things that come up for us and then bring them to our learning plan as questions, physical activities or discussions/ideas we would like to follow up.

The Learning Plan is mostly pictures so as children are inspired and reminded of the things that we are working towards together. This is again still in working progress so will be added to as we work on refining our learning topics and ideas.

Excitement at Fever Pitch!

Grace and Sunae making pancakes to share with our learning group today :)

We had circle time where we were able to share one or two things we would like to achieve today with the group. This led to embarking into some pictures for our min map and learning plan.

Looking up the answer to a question about forces and gravity on the ipad and smaller people playing with blocks, and hammers.

Inspired to make paper planes, this always instigates much conversation about aero dynamics as well as the origami aspect of paper planes :)

This led to watching a show called "Space Racers" which is all about space, solar system and universe!

Some imaginary play using the doll house and people.

This is where 'fever pitch' was reached! Zoe's enthusiasm for making parachute people was very infectious and we had lots of laughter, screaming and excitement with throwing their parachutes off the top of the stairs to watch them sail to the bottom. Again discussion around aero dynamics, weight of blue tac that was attached to bottom of wool. Stability of wool and how to create the balance.....

.....and getting the perfect shot of the parachutes floating down the stairwell! :)