May 18, 2016

The Majesty Of The Moonlight And The Magnitude Of The Universe

At one point today if you were off the coast of Tioman Island in Malaysia, you would have seen a group of eleven year olds learning to overcome their fears as they navigated small sailing boats under the plump clouds and and circling Sea Eagles. A little further you might have noticed another group of kids yelping and cheering as they rode small waves into shore on their kayaks. You might have also noticed, if you were looking closely yet another group of kids snorkelling over a shallow reef. You would have felt the wind on your face and the spray of the ocean on your face. If you were lucky you too would be in a kayak with your feet dangling in the water and the sun on your back as you paddled between the sail boats making sure everyone was comfortably manoeuvring their vessels.

Later on in the day, they would be learning about the miracles we call sea turtles. You might do your part in enhancing the true wonder of these ancient creatures. Highlighting the magic of their 100 million year old migration to and from their birth beach. Later you might notice these same kids talk about their understanding of the sustainability compass. You might overhear a few of these kids talk about how development is not the best indicator of happiness and how wealth accumulation is not always an accurate barometer of success. You would see their earnest faces wondering how to make the world a better place. You might try and encourage this way of thinking or just let the come to their own conclusions.

If you are the sensitive hopeful type you might be inspired by the future and the state of the planet, because hopefully through the work you are doing you are creating the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, marine biologist and maybe CEOs who will rethink how they manage the resources of our finite planet.

Still later you will coach these kids on how to accomplish one of the most important and ancient human acts- starting a fire. You will watch them in the darkness as they blow on the embers and test their fear and poke sticks into the flames.

Minutes later you will lay on the beach in silence with this group of kids watching the moon surrounded by a prism of clouds. Another teacher will be singing a song about living in the sprawl and the need for darkness and empty spaces. You might actually feel the hearts of these kids opening up to the possibility of alternative life styles. You yourself might lose yourself in the majesty of the moonlight and the magnitude of the universe.

After a day like this you might go to sleep hopeful and full of life. You might actually enjoy this sensation enough to carry the joy of it around with you for a few days, weeks, maybe even the rest of your life- passing it around to another group of kids, just like it was passed down to you. This is what learning looks like and this is where you find it.

Kids needs to be outdoors. Kids needs to lay in the sand and look at the moon and listen to songs. They need to sail boats and start fires. They need free time with their friends. They need to learn from their mistakes and take risks. They need to negotiate their own social hierarchies. Kids needs to be allowed to be human beings. And any school that values kids, needs to give them as many opportunities as possible to have these experiences.

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