It is my daughters final year of senior education. To say I’m incredibly proud of her would be an understatement, but it’s never been her position to prove anything to me. She is already all-encompassing of everything she has ever needed to be. Her final year has been a heavy weight to endure. It has left me as a parent, quite disillusioned and a somewhat perplexed as to why we are deeming it necessary to place such astronomical amounts of pressure upon these young adults shoulders. Even the most well-balanced adult would have difficulty sustaining the weight of such pressures. Nevertheless she has held her own, in a system that holds very little room for flexibility and individual sentiments. She knows that she has given it her all, and most of all she knows she did it for herself. And that is all that is ever really necessary. For her final media piece she produced a short film focusing on concerning issues still facing women today on a global scale. She chose to use her voice, she chose to be brave and innately powerful in her message. Whats important is she is willing. Willing to be seen, be heard, and is already comfortable in the knowing that what she has to say matters. We can spend our entire lives coming to this realisation, the realisation of our own worth and how much of a role it plays in everything we choose to undertake. If this is the only message that our children take with them as they embark on their journeys, then as parents we will have done enough.
This is what i intrinsically believe learning to be for him. Thinking requires immense bodily movement. Walking, talking, bare feet and tippy toes. Thought forms are spoken out loud with tremendous enthusiasm and with repetition to anyone who is readily available to listen. He will do this until it makes picture perfect sense, to him. And sometimes it is absolutely necessary for him to move to higher spaces, where the air is somewhat clearer. Floor play is the preferred play way where chairs and tables are rarely sat in for extended periods of time and if they are he prefers not to sit down in the traditional sense. He moves to the freedom of how he is feeling and there are no forced days he is required to fit into. He is moving completely at will, and to the flow of himself. Everything requires a curious explanation with the discussion beginning first thing in the morning and continuing the entire day. There aren’t really any schedules or rules to follow, except eat when you are hungry, rest when you are tired, bathe when you’ve changed colour and if you can make it yourself, then you should. This is what free learning for him means and as he embarks on his learning adventure, he won’t be constricted to rooms, spaces, furniture or shoes. His body will remain as free to move with him as his mind is. He can think out loud, as loud as required without disturbing anyone. He can speak his thoughts as they arise without needing to pause and wait until appropriate discussion periods are allocated. This point is particularly important to note as often his thoughts and ideas that arise during conversation require additional verbalization for it to make sense to him and necessary if you are wanting him to retain the information for further learning at another stage. Often if waiting is required even for short moments, the ideas and the words chosen for the communication are unfortunately, usually lost. His contribution to his learning is on going, and most importantly moves to his unique flow. He is learning to collaborate with people, not of just the same age and or development but from the many ages he is surrounded by. And like adults he choses who to engage with not by age but by the more natural laws that attract people to each other. He is fortunate in not being confined to only the experience of five year old minds. He partakes in the wild and expansive imaginations of his younger and older siblings, in a kind of play based learning that if acknowledged and rightly valued, should continue way past pre school years and will undoubtably continue to serve them all for the entirety of their lives. Materials that are usually phased out during the primary school years will most likely remain in our learning experience. We won’t be out growing our home corner, by the age of 6. Home Economics will grow and expand as he does. He will be able to learn math and operate the washing machine. We will learn about anything and everything that he arises interest in and we will learn it in a way that we have advanced to. There are few rules and no time limits allocated to any one subject. Everything can be interwoven and overlapped and expanded if there is freedom in learning. I know, there are schools like this that exist. Learning environments that are willing to take the alternative way towards educating our children, one that nurtures individuality and inspires curiosity and most of all values children’s innate ability to know what it is they are wanting to learn and know about at any given stage. And even though there are a few, it’s not many. And we are needing many. We are requiring this approach of educating to no longer be the alternative approach and in retrospect only available to a handful of children but rather how unprecedented would it be to integrate this alternative way into the whole. And allow our children to truly lead the way in their learning abilities.