Kids (teens) are the agents of chaos. Anyone who spends time with children of all ages will understand this statement - profoundly.
Fun fact: all that chaotic energy is where curiosity and the natural desire to learn reside - where the rubber meets the road - and where a genuine understanding of universal concepts is nailed.
Because: kids (all of us) should have the opportunity to explore the world through full-on, no-holds-barred experimentation. Life and the learning process are literally never-ending science projects. (See how Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains this concept here.)
However, when you intentionally remove all the wonder, awe, and sources of curiosity and exploration to replace them with a sterile, uninteresting, and dull facility filled with predictable, pre-planned rote activities - where a well-intentioned adult directs and controls everything (even the play and creativity) to actively avoid chaos, it becomes the antithesis of a learning environment. (This is why classroom management is an "essential" skill every young student teacher is taught.)
But what do exploration and discovery look like in real-time - in authentic self-directed learning environments?
As facilitators, we take a step back and observe. (Or, more precisely, as I have said before, we get "to hell" out of the way of all the real learning). We also provide all those resources and materials and all the unconditional support - a requested hug, insight on a challenge, deep conversation about endless topics, or we are that safe person to sit in silence with. Our primary agenda is to be flexible and adapt to the needs of every kiddo, and our only concern is their overall well-being. Because, honestly, the learning will always happen - naturally.
At the end of every day, each young person understands they can rely on us to be their champion in any situation. When you actively work to build that level of mutual trust and respect - everyone feels safe in their authentic state (and varying levels) of chaos.
(This article from Dr. Peter Gray helps define the difference between Progressive And Self-Directed Education.)
Weekly Creative Meditation
This week's DRC True Story comes from an unusual viewpoint - mine, an adult facilitator. This quote came after not one but a few unnamed incidents that still have me wondering. I mean, seriously - it is a freaking miracle that I somehow squished the desire to yell, "what the hell," a few times in one day. Thank goodness DRC Canton is on Spring break this coming week. I need some downtime to rest up so I can keep up with my DRC Canton Peeps' latest free range explorations and nonstop energy!
Two special notes of thanks this week -
Thank you to the Colton family for donating the duck eggs and the incubator! Hopefully, we will be successful in hatching out 10 baby ducks.
And a shout out to former DRC Board member - Steve Hamilton for donating a couch to DRC-East and for bringing DRC-Canton lots of split rail fencing. Stay tuned for the fence building project!
We hope all of our DRC-East Peeps had an awesome Spring Break, and wish all of the DRC-Canton Peeps a fun filled week of adventure during their Spring Break.
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