Celebrating Earth Roll
For years, the community of children, parents and teachers at Nova Montessori School in Christchurch, New Zealand, gather before dawn on the morning of the Winter Solstice (June 21). They are waiting to view the sun on the ocean horizon. As a prelude, there is quiet repose and everyone lays out their blankets and makes their way down to lay entirely on their front in preparation for experiencing Earth roll; that is, feeling one’s body attached to the Earth as it rolls towards the sun.
As a teacher-educator responsible for sparking awe and wonder in adult learners so that they too will spark awe and wonder in their students, I turned my attention to exploring the function of what I suspect is a game-changing element in adult education. What I found is that to be in a state of awe is a key to transcendence, and it is woven into the story of the universe as part of the fabric of our evolutionary spirit.
Mindful Somatic Practice
Movement is helpful for physical health, but movement for the sake of creating awareness is beneficial for physical, mental, and emotional health. This is not to say that mindful meditation practice is not helpful or valuable, but, instead, that mindful somatic practice integrates the entire being – body, mind, and spirit – into the process of knowing and understanding the inner world through both stillness and motion. For me, mindful somatic practices lend themselves to the experience of a more full and rich internal landscape, from which I can then begin to relate to my outer world.
Spirituality . . . a response to relationship
Our spirit is the lens through which we process and internalize the world around us. When we connect at a spiritual level through wonder, curiosity, and imagination, our personal narrative is woven into the narrative of others and the environments we interact with. When we seek to educate ourselves about these relationships, our spirit is activated, and we discover a deep sense of belonging.
It’s easy to read and theorize about allowing the natural development of a child to unfold before us, but can we actually show that restraint and patience necessary when the moment is before us? Can we defend childhood and adolescence against the myriad pressures and outside influences we all feel? That, to me, is the most radical aspect of Montessori education, but it must be found in a radical transformation of ourselves and our conditioning.
The Power of Love for Life in the Garden
“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth” (Walt Whitman).
The “making of best persons” was actively at work one spring day when I took my kindergartners to our garden plot to weed, to harvest the scallions that they had planted, and to plant iris bulbs. Each student has a small plot in our raised bed—roughly two square feet per child with a chrysanthemum and scallions for each, and lavender plants in between their squares.
Announcing: The Holistic Education Review
The Holistic Education Review is a newly emerging Open Access Journal whose Mission is to enhance and broaden the scholarship of holistic education, lift up diverse and emerging voices of holistic education practice and connect the holistic education community. In this endeavor TIES joins other supporting partners including Antioch University, The Transformative Learning Foundation and The Center for Holistic Education at Southern Oregon University, who will be the journal’s host.
Biophilia Combats Stress
Edward O. Wilson, who named the biophilia hypothesis, says that humans “have an urge to affiliate with other forms of life.” Philip Snow Gang calls it love: “Love as biophilia is a sensitivity and respect for life in all its manifestations” (Educating for Right-Action and Love, p.187).
I fear that sometimes we take that love for granted, almost forgetting that it’s there. I think of my friends who motivate themselves to go for a run by sticking in ear buds and listening to someone tell them a story. I think of those who can’t be without recorded music. Often when we’re in nature, our collective ears seem to be stuffed with that that is not nature.
Modeling a Healthy Use of Technology for Ourselves and Our Children
It has been a year since the world took a turn that no one was expecting nor for which anyone was prepared. In that year, as educators, we have scrambled to stay true to who we are while still meeting our students’ and schools’ needs. Throughout this upheaval, this global chaos, I have reflected a good deal on the exceptional works I read during my time in TIES. I have thought about chaos theory, quantum physics, neurophenomenology, and a lot about the prepared environment. As educators, we were constantly reacting to factors and decisions beyond our control. Our prepared environment altered to an almost unrecognizable state as we continually looked for the end of the chaos.
Exploring Learning Possibilities and the Integrative Structure of Life through Mindfulness and Montessori Education
I have found that observing the present moment with clear, non-judging attention gives the space to explore the mind’s natural balance and discernment which have been there waiting to unfold. In life, where learning cannot be separated from the environment, connecting all life experiences with curiosity could transform this curiosity into insightful creative learning experiences, in which one might find something unique to contribute to the world.
Paul Freedman on The Unique Qualities of TIES
||| TIES has offered me a privileged window through which to witness some of the most personally integrated expressions of study, practice and reflection I have witnessed in education. What is it about TIES that nurtures such authenticity, vulnerability and full...
Enid Larsen on The Merits of TIES
Experimentation and innovation are the essence of the TIES tradition, as they have steadfastly manifested their vision much in the manner that New England poet Mary Oliver describes as ‘lifting the hoof of an idea’. Phil Gang and Marsha Snow had a vision, seeded by passion, and they, idea by idea, step by step, built it into a viable, innovative, transformative pathway for adult learners who don’t find their fit or passion in traditional higher education programming.
9th Anniversary of Christchurch Earthquake
On this 9th anniversary of the February 22 Christchurch earthquake, our hearts remain connected with our Montessori family at Nova and all our Kiwi mates.Dylan and Jordan Moliken outside of Nova's earthquake tweaked greeting gate.
Delila Olsson On Graduating in Challenging Times
Mixed Feelings February 28th had been imprinted in my mind for months, in anticipation of submitting my TIES Culminating Project. Little did I know, that date would also mark the first case of COVID-19 diagnosed here in Oregon. In the flurry of activity surrounding...
Reflection on Adolescent Symposium
For two weeks in late November, a “Symposium” – a gathering of learned scholars, assembled around the relatively contemporary phenomenon of adolescence. Skillfully and heartfully guided by TIES faculty Steven Arnold and Julie Haagenson, two hundred registered...
Adolescents and The Natural World
(A post by TIES alumna Kasey Errico) I recently returned from a fall overnight experience with 17 adolescent learners. On our way from our campsite to the morning harvest, with the students in front of me, descending the hill toward the garden house of the Community...
Empathy, Compassion and Healing Our Planet
Empathy, Compassion and Healing Our Planet As a teacher for 23 years, I have learned that one's capacity for empathy and compassion provides a platform for love, life and making a difference in our fragile world. When guiding students to fall in love with the Earth, I...
Join us fireside for upcoming adolescent symposium
What is a TIES symposium? I was recently asked, "What is a TIES symposium?" Being on the inside, I think it’s easy for me to forget that our online gatherings are unique in their simplicity, and yet profound in their outcomes. A newcomer could easily pass, thinking...
Montessori’s Cosmic Vision
If we look at Montessori’s cosmic vision through the planes of development, we see that each plane can be summarized in a phrase. The first plane is cosmic wonder and exploration. The second plane is cosmic stories and imagination. And the third plane is cosmic action...
Listening to Adolescents
We approach adolescents in a different way, for our benefit and theirs. It is not that we, the adults, should invite adolescents to the table, and share our plan of the future with them. It is that we should hang out in their space, and hope to be invited to watch...
Education 2000: A Holistic Perspective
To Educate Eco-sapiens
Through story, Philip Snow Gang relates the personal to the universal, with cosmic stories that pull viewers in, calling on our shared experience of being human in a very large universe.To Educate Eco-Sapiens engages the deep questions that follow us through life and...