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Une éxpédition d'apprentissage pour l'apprentissage

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Disembodied education

I became aware of how alienated I was from myself, others and the world. It is like I am a being stuck inside an intricate body that I have just discovered has a vast intelligence and awareness. Living at Earthdance and experimenting with body awareness practices (contact improvisation, meditation, contemplative dance practice, ecstatic dance, journey dance and somatics) made me realize the extent to which I knew little about my body. I have rediscovered an entire new language. It has opened my eyes to the disembodied reality of my education experience at school and in dance class.

Disembodied education

In the day to day education curriculum, with the exception of recess and gym class, the body is eliminated and suppressed. Students are coerced to be passive and remain relatively motionless. This creates an environment where the body is irrelevant and even dangerous, leading to a loss in the ability to move the body, especially in an expressive way.

This focus on rational mind and reason omits a valuable potential for learning. The emphasis on the written word rather than all other possible language (verbal, visual, aural, auditory, physical and bodily) abolishes an incredible source of knowledge.

 

Embodied education

An embodied education is one where both the inner and outer movement is brought to attention. It means getting in touch with all the intelligence the human body posses:  thoughts, feelings, ingrained experience and raw emotions, helping us understand our bodies and ourselves as whole human beings.

 

It is important to respect the body as valuable source of knowledge and acceptable way of learning.

 

Reference: Movement and Dance in Young Children’s Lives: Crossing the Divide by Adrienne N. Sanson

The Inner Artist

The few months that I spent at Earthdance went deep into me, emerging with parts of me that had somewhat been forgotten. I rediscovered my artistic self that loves to create performances,  paint visual pieces and reenact imaginary stories.  I rediscovered my inner child whom requires unconditional love, touch and affection. I rediscovered my authentic vulnerable self that has needs it wants to express through movement and words.

Earthdance is an artist-run workshop, residency, and retreat center located in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts.  We provide a dynamic mix of dance, somatic, and interdisciplinary arts training, with a focus on sustainable living, social justice, and community.  Earthdance strengthens connections between people, communities, and the earth by creating a center for experiential learning, creative exchange, and Contact Improvisation.

When Humans Fly

Forest school has been an amazing opportunity to witness how brilliant, creative and critical children are. Because of the environment but also because they are encouraged to express themselves we get to see the children flourish and learn to take risks. Here are four beautiful moments that amazed me:

When Humans Fly

  • Child:”Did you know that we are flying?”
  • Adult: ”Oh ya. What do you mean?”
  • Child: ”Well we never really touch the ground. It’s only an illusion because the bubbles that our feet are made up of are continuously repelling the bubbles that the ground is up made of.”

Power of the Mind

  • Child: ”My hands were cold, so I sent heat to my hands with my mind and now my hands actually feel warm.”

Safety Man

  • Adult: ”To me this hill you are climbing looks dangerous. How can we made it safer?”
  • Child (With a clipboard like object in hand): ”Don’t worry I’m the safety man on a mission to make sure everyone is safe. We have agreed to use one path for coming up and one path for sliding down and I am making sure we only slide one at a time.”

Perspective

  • Child 1: ”Did you know that chipmunks see in slow motion?”
  • Child 2: ”Maybe the chipmunks are seeing at normal speed and we are seeing in fast motion.”

Bird Sacrifice

  • Child A (Upon discovering a dead bird): ”LET THE BIRD BE SACRIFICED!”
  • Child B: ”Let’s bury it and have a funeral.”
  • Child A (At the funeral): ”Thank you bird for sacrificing yourself for the good of all others and putting the life of others before you. Your death has allowed the birth of another. You led an honourable life and we shall remember you.”

A day in the life…

No day is a typical day when you are at forest school because each day depends on its student’s interest and energy levels as well as the environment and its weather conditions. This is to give you an idea of what a day might look like.

8:00- Head out into the forest.

8:30- Arrive at Forest school, set up.

9:00- Children begin to trickle in.

9:30- A wolf howl is called and the group gathers under the tarp. A meeting is held to determine where we should hike to today and what we should do at the chosen location. Once three or so options are heard a vote is held to determine the destination for the day.

10:00- The circle scatters and everyone heads to the cabin to get their backpacks and go to the washroom.

10:30- Everyone is back at the circle and the group heads out for the hike.

11:30- Arrival at destination, the back packs are put down and the children scatter in the bushes nearby. Things are built, adventures are held and explorations are abundant.

12:30- A howl is heard and the group reconvenes. It is time for what is called sit spots. Children lift their veils of silence and are asked to find a spot in the forest alone where they can listen to the messages of the forest.

12:40- A howl is heard and the group gathers to share the messages they received from the forest. Each individual is listened to as they explain what they heard, saw, smelt, did or invented while they were sitting.

13:00- Backpacks are gathered and the pack heads back to the cabin.

13:30- Children are to finish their lunches if they have not already done so and a story is read for all to hear. Children are also free to write or draw in their journals.

14:00- Sometimes the stories inspires an activity (plan a tree house, play with clay, find specific plants mentioned in the story, create your own creation story, build a tool). Activities are suggested and play is reactivated.

14:30- A howl is called and the group gathers to recapitulate the adventures that happened that day and each individual shares their favourite part of the day.

15:00- Children begin to leave.

15:30- I head back through the forest, happy about another fun filled adventure in the forest.

 

 

 

Vipassana Children

Apprendre la technique d’Anapana (la technique que les jeunes apprennent lors de leur séjour d’une journée au centre de méditation Vipassana), permet aux jeunes d’observer leur respiration naturel. Cela sème la graine du bonheur à un jeune age qui ne peut que fleurir avec le temps.

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