THIS WEEK AT THE LIFE FORCE CANADA
EDUCATION THINK TANK MEETING
February 3, 2022
We were happy to welcome many new attendees to this week’s meeting. How exciting that we are attracting attendees from Life Force members from as far away as Colorado Springs, USA!
This week we were joined by Stephanie Alvarez, co-founder of Roots & Wings Holistic Community Schools, an alternative for parents looking for education outside of the traditional public school system. Roots & Wings is concerned with the development of a person’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative and spiritual potentials. They aim to create “whole” individuals who are well balanced in their outlook on life and their personal understanding of themselves in relation to the world.
They recognized that the current school system has its focus on academics and that it instills this fear in parents that their child may be falling behind or not reaching milestone goals. This mindset creates pressure on both the parents and their children and fosters an environment of competition. The Roots & Wings approach looks at each child’s readiness and takes into account how the (creative) right side brain develops before the (logical) left side brain. Rushing a child into the logical thinking, before the right side brain has had an opportunity to sufficiently grow can actually hinder or stunt the development of the creative left side of their brain.
Roots and Wings formats their day a bit differently and refers to it as the “flow of the day”. They avoid the stop and go and rigid schedules that you find in a typical school setting. They like to start their day by connecting in morning circle where they share, do breath work, some mirroring activities to promote connection to each other, set their intentions and goals for the day then head outside for their nature walk. They have specific nature programs and their educators are trained in how to incorporate and weave the theme of the month’s learning into their time in nature so that it sparks the children’s desire to explore.
Each pod hosts between 6 – 12 kids with a 6-1 kid to educator ratio. They are structured in multi-age groups and have kids usually ranging within a four grade span dependant on the community needs. The teacher uses scaffolding to reach each learner and teaches to the theme and to the interest of the children as opposed to depending on an outside source telling them what to teach and how. This way, teaching becomes more centered and intuitive and responds to the needs of each child, meeting them where they are at and responding to their natural curiosity. This teaching to a child’s curiosity and interests is proving to produce kids that are learning and mastering at a much faster rate because it is self-directed learning on a focus subject.
Roots and Wings currently has 35 micro schools located within Ontario and Quebec, but they are open to having centers anywhere in the country. So long as they have a coordinator in place, they will provide all the training, support and resources required to start pods in your area. If you’d like to hear more of our wonderful conversation with Stephanie you can find the recording on our YouTube Channel – please subscribe while you’re there!
If you’d like to learn more about the opportunity to open a Roots & Wings Holistic Center in your area you can contact Stephanie through their website.
Thank you to Stephanie for joining us this week and to all who attended. It is always such a pleasure for me each week to meet the new people joining us for the first time and to see all those that make time each week to come back and take part in our Education Think Tank. You are all truly blessings to me.
Til’ we meet again,
Norma Jean Maxwell
Life Force Canada
Education Think Tank Facilitator