This tale is about a sad and lonely ping-pong ball, a blow dryer, a large cardboard tube, a few assorted boxes and baskets, as well as a bored and perpetually curious twelve year old boy who adores games.
On Monday morning, after math class, “T”, the twelve year old discovered a ping-pong ball in the dice container. “T” bounced it off the walls for a few minutes, then asked if he could paint it. He received the usual response, “of course,” and proceeded to paint it red and blue. He then blew the paint dry with the hair dryer and discovered that the force of the hot air held the ball up. “T” played with that for a while and then grabbed a long cardboard tube, placed it against the hairdryer, dropped the ping pong ball into the tube and turned the dryer on.
Whoosh – the ball flew out of the tube! Whoa - Game Changer, right there! Now, he had a device that had the ability to shoot a small ball across a room. (Those of you who know or have known a boy from the age of 3 - on up, will completely understand the amount of delight this phenomenon engendered.)
His cohorts (the seven year old and two - ten year olds) quickly responded to his excitement; they proceeded to invent a pin ball game together by setting up various boxes and baskets on the floor assigned with different scores. They took turns operating the blow dryer, helping each other to hold the tube up and drop the ball in. Another kid kept score with a marker on a hastily set up chart. They experimented by holding the tube at different angles and distances. Eventually, they tired of the whole game and set it aside to move on to the next creative pursuit.
Later that day I asked “T” what he learned, and he said, “I learned that a ping pong ball can be held up with the air of a blow dryer.”
In my estimation, he probably discovered a multitude of truths that he is not able to articulate just yet. He realized that being bored is okay and that by following your curiosity you can create something awesome. Yes, he observed some real physical science in action. He determined that playing is a valid way to explore and experiment. He gained self-esteem as the acknowledged inventor of this new game. He found that making mistakes and problem solving is part of any creative process. He recognized, most of all, that he is an integral part of the Deep Root Center community because of his talents, his inherent physical and creative energy, and his intuitively kind and nurturing nature.
These spontaneous experiences are so powerful because they open the flood gates to learning that go far beyond our extremely limited definition of education. If I had set up a formal physics class with those very same components, the majority of the above mentioned lessons would have been lost.
The basic philosophy behind self-directed learning is that the intrinsic and innate curiosity of each student (child) will lead to similarly profound learning experiences. At DRC, we are fostering (allowing) free exploration of that inquisitiveness by following instead of leading, providing space and time, as well as a large assortment of tools (toys), resources and materials, and by responding, “of course”, to almost every request.
Posi-bot Installation – Tuesday January 12th - 11:30am
Join us at the Canton free Library for the ribbon cutting ceremony to formally welcome Posi-bot to his new home.
If you have been following this story, you know that "J" created Posi-bot this fall as his Social Studies project. Posi-bot contains posi-notes, affirmative messages, that people can take out when they are having a bad day. Others can leave posi-notes if they are feeling generous. In looking for a permanent home for Posi-bot, "J" presented his idea to a Canton Village Trustee who suggested an inside venue, such as CFL. "J" then asked Emily, Krista, and Valerie, if the library would host Posi-bot. They enthusiastically agreed.
After-School Enrichment Program M-Th 2:30 – 4:30
Open to any youth in the community. Contact Maria to register.
Mid Winter Break Workshops
DRC will once again offer workshops during the public school break Feb 15 – 19. We are in the process of scheduling themes for each day, so stay tuned. If you would like to register your child, please contact us today. Space is limited.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our Annual Funding Appeal. Fundraising at DRC is a year round endeavor, because we are not federally or state funded. We rely on philanthropic giving to provide these facilities and programs to youth who are imagining a different kind of education.
Please consider becoming a sustaining donor by using the PayPal button on the DRC website. You can choose to automatically contribute each month.
We also have an envelope and donation jar at Bessette's Bottle Redemption on Rte 11. When you return your bottles and cans, you can add your slip to our envelope. We will also accept your bottle and cans and return them for you.
DRC (Whole Learners) continues to receive a percentage of each sale through your online purchases at iGive and Amazon Smile. We have already earned 65.00 from iGive!
Canton Winter Fest
The DRC kids will be building a snow sculpture in the village park.
The Center will be hosting a Fun Day Open House on Saturday February 13th. Join us for games, arts and crafts, as well as other fun activities.