Upon entering Deep Root Center many people, who are unfamiliar with our basic philosophy, would probably equate the seemingly chaotic environment of our facility to a three ring circus. And on many days, to be completely honest, I do feel like the grand ringmaster under the big top. Not because I direct or control the various activities, but instead, because I facilitate the available resources to support the multitude of ideas and possibilities that flow feverishly through the space daily.
On any given day you will find between ten - fourteen students, spanning in age from six - sixteen, engaged in a wide variety of self-directed activities that excite, inform, enlighten, engross, absorb, captivate, motivate, influence, encourage, empower, and inspire their intrinsic desire to learn more about their individual interests and passions.
These range from quietly reading or crocheting on the couch, playing Wii U - Just Dance, building a stable and barn out of cardboard, creating a theater under a table and watching horse rescue You-Tube videos, researching the history of football on the internet, drawing cartoon characters, constructing a robot out of an old computer that will hold positive messages, creating an imaginary world filled with outlandish characters and acting it out with friends, building with Legos, wooden blocks, and K'nex, playing with plastic animals, designing bridges and other inventions, playing video games, watching You-Tube tutorials, sewing a pillow or quilt, and designing promotional materials, to taking an algebra, French, photography, or social studies class, writing a story, creating a power point about indigenous people, designing a web page to teach others about Greek Mythology, making a clay cup, creating music, painting a picture, watching documentaries about influential people and events, designing a science experiment, observing the fish in the aquarium and determining if the mama is pregnant, again, and putting together the breeder box for the decidedly expectant mama fish, or facilitating a community meeting or math class.
Where else can you find a thirteen year old instructing six other students on how to collect data and make a bar graph, while the teacher leaves the room?
Where else will you find a ten year old teaching a fourteen year old how to use a sewing machine and then how to make a patchwork pillow?
Where else will you find a fifteen year old playing horse rehab farm as the resident trainer with the plastic farm animals and three younger kids?
Where else will you find a seven year old and a sixteen year old creating and acting out a world filled with evil characters being vanquished by the good?
Where else is a young student encouraged to destroy a pop-up book (one we own, not from the library), so he can figure out how to make his own?
Where else are exploration and play celebrated and advocated as the means of learning how to solve problems, be inventive, and to cooperate within a diverse group?
Where else does the daily routine include walking up the street with several bags filled with books to the public library?
Where else is a teen, who has been in and out of “trouble” her whole academic life, told that she has amazing ideas and that she is trusted to work towards her personal goals?
Where else will you find an adult listening to a student's idea and brainstorming with him ways to make his vision reality?
Where else are students in charge of their own schedules, deciding when to eat, when to use the bathroom, when to rest, when to socialize, and when to be completely focused and engaged in projects and classes?
Where else can a teen get frustrated, vent, and walk away from a project he has spent hours on?
Where else do you hear the adult say, “of course,” in response to most requests?
Where else are kids encouraged to be true to themselves --- their interests, their personalities, and their emotions?
The ingenuity, artistry, freedom, and brilliance that reside within the pandemonium at Deep Root Center are easy to find when you sit back and let the positive energy that surges freely through the space inspire and engender the curiosity that lives deeply inside you.
* We welcome all visitors who would like to experience this phenomenon themselves. Give us a call to ensure that we will be in the space when you visit.
Our population explosion has us a bit short on seating options. If you have a chair (any kind: folding, kitchen, student, office, etc..) to donate, please contact the Center.
We are also looking for book shelves and storage furniture such as dressers, old school lockers, or wooden cubbies.
The DRC crew is taking to the road and crossing the border this Thursday with a field trip to Ottawa. We are so very excited to visit Compass Centre for Teens, another learning center in the Liberated Learners Network, to meet other kids doing “this” thing. We will also have the opportunity to tour the Canadian Museum of Nature.
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