I am incredibly fortunate and extremely honored to spend my days with a group of young people who are engaged, motivated, and intelligent; who embrace empathetic and compassionate respect for others. Which is why, I am often left speechless at the blatant hypocrisy of our society. Our culture is rooted in Pavlovian-like training with sticks and carrots, external control, consumerism, as well as competition, but, yet, we judge (degrade) youth for laziness, doing the minimum required, short attention spans, lack of motivation, and, above all, their inconsiderate and disrespectful behavior.
It is, however, as with most things, so much easier to indict rather than recognize (look squarely into the mirror of societal pressures), or, even try to understand the underlying causes of anxiety, as well as unproductive and detrimental behaviors.
In the traditional school setting, children quickly learn that someone (something) else is in control of their education (and lives). They are made aware that knowledge is finite (everything you need to know is taught to you in formal classes). They understand that doing the bare minimum will get them the gold star and pat on the head, and, that the test at the end is what proves whether you are smart, or, not.
In contrast, a non-coercive, non-compulsory, self-directed learning environment encourages and supports independent thought. Students are invited to explore a world of knowledge that is endless. They promptly comprehend that investigation, experimentation, playing, and making messes, as well as mistakes lead to a profound understanding of any subject or theme.
This philosophy (method) is the wave of the future, in fact, it is already here. Most of us have taken a class, seminar, webinar, or researched subjects on-line, which directly relates to our particular interests or needs. Any of the information we desire or require is, quite literally, at the end of our fingertips. We all internalize important details when we are interested in the subject, and, when we are in charge of acquiring it.
Kids are no different; they will contentedly work hard on a task that means something to them. Quite simply, kids are not lackadaisical, unmotivated, or ungracious, when they are provided the opportunity to participate in an educational environment that is emotionally safe, respectful, positive, energetic, and completely supportive. They will learn math skills, when they can apply them to real life. They will relate historical incidents and data to current events, when they are engaged in conversation that matters to them. They will be open to new ideas, because they understand their opinions will be heard, too. They will write stories, essays, and poems, produce business plans, create art and science projects, and play music, because they are free to do so.
In this new world, where knowledge and information are accessible to anyone, we should be embracing a system, which fosters independence, sharing, questioning skills, and truth seeking; where kind and compassionate thinkers and leaders are born, encouraged, and championed.
B 99.3 Community Connections Interview
Listen to B 99.3 Tuesday morning at 8:45 to hear three of us discuss DRC with Community Connections host Jody Tosti.
Feel the Heat – Thursday, Feb. 16th
Reservations are starting to roll in- please don’t miss this tasty and fun opportunity to support Deep Root Center. Ticket sales go through February 9th.
BBQ Sauce Fundraiser
We have 5oz bottles of Richard’s Vermont made BBQ Sauce for sale for $5.00 each. Contact Maria if you would like to purchase a bottle or two. Yummy recipes are included.
New class schedule
Here are a few of the classes we have included in our schedule, which as always, reflect the current interests of our students. This ten weeks we are excited to continue DRC Band practice and music class. We also have a SLU crew coming in to lead outdoor adventures. Our photojournalism class have been taking photos to compile into individual photo essays based on a particular theme that emerges as they continue to take pictures. In one class, we will be investigating and discussing a plan, originated by one of our students, to refurbish the Buck Street playground. During art, we will be creating mosaics using broken glass and ceramics.
The fundamental principles within the Deep Root Center philosophy advocate freedom, justice, equity, and respect for all beings. We, as keepers of this credo, are obligated to peacefully resist the ideas and values that denigrate basic human rights and devalue human life. We exhibit our opposition to any agenda (local, national, or world-wide) that promotes messages of: hate, injustice, racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and ignorance, as well as any propaganda directed at discrediting scientific and artistic integrity, by continuing to:
support each other in our independent searches for information and knowledge
play, learn, grow, question, and explore together
create innovative and fabulous art
build our learning community around respect and kindness
make and share music
model compassion and empathy in our personal relationships and in all of our communications
collaborate with those who share a vision for a strong and united local community
champion other organizations dedicated to doing “good work”
This has been our mission since the beginning, but, somehow, it all feels more important, now, than ever.
... is when the real person, behind the facade, allows themselves to rip off the carefully constructed mask and climb out of the, oh so confining, neatly labeled, socially acceptable box, to permit their genuine desires, yearnings, and passion to shine through for all to see.
I discovered that in removing my disguise, and labels, I exposed someone who finds absolute delight in: conjuring, imagining, designing, dreaming, aspiring, and, making stuff (sh*t) up. Time, quite literally, has no definition when I am in the midst of a creative project.
This personal trait is most likely why I am able to make profound connections with the youth who join Deep Root Center. They too are looking for a safe place to reveal their true selves (whether they are conscious of that end goal or not), to follow their interests, and to imagine a new way of being in the world. Many of them share that primal desire to generate, produce, and create – art, stories, music, a business, sculpture, murals, friendships, furniture, floor plans, movies, photo essays … the list is endless.
AT DRC, we celebrate and honor all of those ideas, plans, and creations, whether completed or left unfinished, to be, perhaps, picked up another day, because they are equally valid and unique ways of learning and growing.
Feel the Heat – A Caribbean inspired fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction.
We are looking forward to sharing a tasty, fun evening with friends and supporters of DRC. Through an exclusive engagement, Exec. Chef, Deborah Burchell from Simply Caribbean/Trini Soul of NYC is catering the event. Find the menu and silent auction items, and purchase your tickets online: www.deeprootcenter.org
Seedlings If you are looking for a program for your primary age child, that offers children the gift of time to: learn grow, experiment, work, play, explore independent thoughts and interests, and, to question the world around them all within a dynamic learning community that allows each child the opportunity to be themselves, the Deep Root Center Seedlings Program currently has openings. Contact us today.
Media Deep Root Center students are going to be on B99.3. They will be interviewed for Community Connections with Jody Tosti, Tuesday January 17th. We will let you know when it will be aired on the Deep Root Center FB page.
... provide additional and tangible proof, besides breathing and the whole heart beat thing, that you are still alive. Screwing up every once in a while, simply means that you are open to new ideas and that you are not afraid to try new things, explore unfamiliar concepts and schemes, experiment, go out on a limb, jump in and get messy, work hard, and, above all learn.
I will repeat LOUD and CLEAR, it is okay to mess up, as long as you are willing to accept responsibility for the error and move on to the next plan of action. Satisfaction, gratitude, and pride can only come from attaining achievement with struggle and effort, along with that little touch of fear and humility.
At Deep Root Center, this concept is central to our philosophy. We encourage discovery through exploration. We support experimentation, observation, and investigation. We advocate imaginative play, the production of messes, and industrious effort. All of which come with the understanding that failure and occasional goof-ups are acceptable outcomes, because life without mess-ups (yes, even the colossal ones) provides no opportunities for real learning and growth.
Stagnation is, simply, not an option when you are engaged, motivated, and inspired by the process and by the people around you.
This particular post was, of course, inspired by a mistake. In my enthusiasm for providing information about Self-Directed Learning, I sent out the Daily Connection to the folks who subscribe to the DRC Blog through Mail Chimp, without completely thinking through the ramifications of increasing their inbox totals everyday instead of once or twice a week. After receiving some valuable feedback, I will not send the daily communication to the Mail Chimp subscribers. If you are interested in learning more about Self-Directed Learning, Your Daily Connection can be found on the DRC website as well as on the DRC Facebook page. My apologies and thank you to those who offered comments.