Listening Session Paintings

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Deep Wisdom from Orcas Listening Session

Orcas Island Participants Samara (our host!), Willow, Stephanie, Sebastian, Liam and Iris
In mid-March, Stella and I conducted a Listening Session on Orcas Island, WA and I want to share the stories found in the paintings done by Stephanie, Iris, Sebastian, Willow and Liam.  Though the group was smaller than usual, we had fun together and in the end, what emerged was beautiful.

This painting was done by Willow and Iris with Samara's help.  Their vision, which we call Waterfall, was as follows:

The whole picture is the school.  The waterfall is the stream of learning and all students are in it.  The rainbow signifies the school's connection to the community - with lots of diversity flowing both ways.

The soil at the bottom is the family.  The quote says Nurtured by the soil of my parents I blossom and grow.  Bee says, "My assistance is valued." as it means that contributions to the community are valued (Bee Pollinating!).

The grey rocks on the right and the tree on the left stand for mentors and teachers as solid, framing and holding the education (the waterfall).  The salmon are swimming upstream which represents being challenged in their learning and the fish (students of all colors) are returning to their natural habitats, using their natural instincts.

The flowers, blossoms in the tree, and the fish all represent the different way every student is and how differently they learn.  

The next painting was done by Sebastian, Liam and Stephanie and we call it Glass Dome:

There are many qualities to our school:

There are evaluations and no grades
There are applied knowledge skills so that we know how to use what we learn when we leave the school
It encourages courage
Children know they have a voice
They learn by doing
Mandatory yoga
Supportive teachers
More freedom/more choice
Quiet room
Infinite Snacks!

The school is self-sustaining as evidenced by the solar panels on top of the glass dome and the compost pile in the lower left side of the painting where a long pipe runs to the glass dome carrying the heat from the compost pile into the dome which is made of glass. 

All is built on a Foundation of Love

There is a lot of education in nature

The community in the school is strong and the community outside the school is supportive and safe

A portfolio is required for graduation, not specific exams, etc.

We also have our own garden and our own observatory.

It is such a gift to be able to be present with these young people as they create from within their hearts.  Given a chance in a trusting, caring environment - without constraints as to what their vision can be about - you can see that their wisdom emerges in beautiful ways.  We are excited about the opportunities that are emerging on Orcas and thank each one of these beautiful young people for their contributions to Imagine Learning!

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