To say that the past six weeks flew by faster than either Ms. Shah or I could have imagined would be quite an understatement! Ms. Shah started Monday with a continuation of the “Seeds of Potential” launch from a few weeks ago. This time, the learners were asked to reflect on the following questions: What is your own seed of potential? How can we nurture that seed? What do you need from your fellow travelers to grow seeds of potential? We were again blown away with the responses that the young learners gave. First of all, they pinpointed their own strengths as their own seed of potential. Then, they continued on brainstorming how they can nurture their skill. One warrior thought that practice was inevitable to nurture, and another promptly added, “But first we need to learn new things that we don’t know from a teacher before we practice.” Another warrior thought it wasn’t always necessary to have a teacher since they can also learn things from a book or a youtube video. Lastly, they shared what they expect from each other to grow their own seed was honesty, encouragement and true feedback. We are incredibly glad to see the learner driven warriors forming their own culture in the studio!
Additionally, for the last three weeks we spent a lot of time preparing the learners for their Exhibition. It was truly amazing to see how much the learners have grown since the first week: they improved their skills in math, reading and writing; they have learned to be more open to taking risks; and most importantly, they have officially started their own Hero’s Journey here with us. When it came to approaching this stage in our session, our Warriors first came together to figure out what exactly they wanted to show their parents and family members. From an outside perspective, Ms. Shah and I were very proud of how much our learners wanted to talk about the studio and how much they have accomplished — in fact, they even asked Exhibition to be closer to 2 or 3 hours so they could continue being here! Be sure to check out our blog post next week for a recap of how Exhibition went.
As we come to a close for our first session at Tej Acton Academy, we would like to use this time to first reflect on two of the most influential practices that have proved effective for our learner: Sun Salutations and D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read). In one of our previous blog posts, we discussed the importance of teaching our Warriors not only how to meditate but also the importance of this practice, too. Despite this method being successful with our learners, both Ms. Shah and I felt like something was still missing to start our morning routine. Typically we started each of our days with a discussion and launch, however we wanted to add something that can help the learners focus and get into the right mindset for the day. We turned to our Warriors and asked how they would like to start their day, since this is their learning environment. They promptly responded with wanting to do the Sun Salutation, an array of poses that not only activate various muscles in the body but also incorporate mindfulness. Even more interesting was the fact that each of our learners had different reasons for wanting to do this: one mentioned that it was a form of worship to the Sun which she thought was cool because our school’s name reflects the same spirit as the Sun; another believed that we should do the exercise because it would help us learn all the qualities of the Sun while thinking of him in the morning. Following their excitement in this conversation, we then asked them which qualities of the Sun that they wanted to look up to. Our Warriors proceeded to list off the following: regularity, punctuality, warmth, and light. Kudos to the learners and their parents for sowing the right seeds in their mind for them to come up with deeper rituals and want to integrate them into their own lives!
D.E.A.R. Time (Drop Everything And Read)
If you were to walk into our studio in the first or second week of our session during D.E.A.R. time, you would have most likely found our Warriors struggling to choose just one book and not distract their fellow travelers. They understood how reading helps them improve their skills, but they were not always open to doing this activity considering Core Skills and other tasks were more exciting. However, as the weeks progressed, our learners became more and more invested during D.E.A.R. time — so much so that there have been times when they have often even asked Ms. Shah and me if they could do D.E.A.R. time when they have finished tasks early. This activity has been a crucial part of our days here at Tej Acton, and it continues to remind our Warriors about the significance of taking time for oneself and distancing from technology. Considering how beneficial this simple action of taking 30 minutes out of the day to read a book and give one’s brain a break, we encourage you and your learner to do the same!