Happy New Year!
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and the rain over the past couple of weeks. My wish is that each of you are feeling recharged and rejuvenated, but, I understand that sometimes taking a break from Rock Tree Sky can be more exhausting for families than the times when RTS is in session. I know from experience that your kids are probably itchy to get back to Rock Tree Sky as soon as possible.
Before we look ahead to the new year, I want to offer a moment to pause and reflect on all the growth that has occured over the course of 2021. It is remarkable to consider the state of our community one year ago (COVID cases through the roof, limited staffing, zone rotations, pod separation, etc.), as compared to the flourishing of today. I hope I am not speaking to soon to say that 2022 is shaping up to be one of our happiest and healthiest years yet for our growing community.
In this letter I will include calendar items for January, some photos and reflections from the month of December, and a link to a podcast episode that will serve as the jumping off point for our January parent discussion group.
As always, be well and stay curious,
With love from the RTS staff
Looking Towards January 2022
Saturday January 8: 10am-12pm Parent Dialogue Group & Potluck
This month, Chrissy will be facilitating a parent and caregiver discussion group on the topic of Deschooling Adulthood. Parents and caregivers are invited to join us at RTS from 10am-12pm for dialogue exploring what it means to be an adult in relation to self-directed children. Following this conversation there will be a potluck lunch for those who wish to stay and chat, please bring a dish to share and bring your own plate and fork. This event will occur outdoors weather permitting. Childcare will be provided.
Monday January 17: RTS is Closed in observance of MLK day
Thursday January 27: 12pm dismissal/ staff in-service
Reflecting on December
During the month of December many of our learners primary focus was on preparations for the Winter Exposition. The art room, as always, was a busy workshop in which learners of all ages poured love and devotion into creating holiday gifts for loved ones as well as crafting projects to display during the Exposition.
From holiday ornaments, to pieces of jewelry, to festive model houses and castles, our learners proved no lack of thoughtful creative expression within the art room.
Outside of the art room, learners spent hours engaged in practicing for live performances. Our aerial silks practitioners honed in on their skills and from what I heard, really dazzled the audience during their Winter Exposition performance piece. Thank you to Lauren, our aerial silks instructor not only for sharing your skills with our learners but for bringing so much joy as well.
Several learners also devoted much of their time to arranging compositions and rehearsing musical performances for the Expo. Once again, I was told that these performances did not disappoint. Big shoutout to Ella Hubley for all of the love you share with our learners and the special way you draw out our young people's love of music.
Of course, our learners also engaged in a range out activities outside of Winter Expo preparations. For example, many of our youngest learners worked to make various types of bird feeders in support of our feathered friends in preparation for the winter season.
Young learners also prepared for the winter season by collecting and packaging hollyhock seeds to give as holiday gifts with the hope that folks throughout the community will plant the seeds during this rainy season and enjoy the beautiful flowers for months to come.
And, several of our teens had the opportunity to practice the skill of plastering in a secondary Cob Building field trip in downtown Ojai.
Our Rock Tree Sky mushroom growers worked tirelessly to troubleshoot some challenges that arose surrounding the Rock Tree Sky mushroom house. Witnessing the devotion that these teens have to this project and their innovative problem solving minds at work is truly an inspiration.
Other highlights from December include an outdoor cooking class, lively soccer games on the blacktop, fun in the mud, mastering Gnomes at Night (a super fun collaborative board game), making and sipping on a winter solstice warming elixir, puppet shows, dress up, creek walks, and challenging sewing projects.
I am eager to see what's to come in January 2022.
Parent Education: Parent Dialogue Saturday January 8th 10am-12pm
On Saturday January 8th, Chrissy will be facilitating a parent and caregiver discussion group on the topic of Deschooling Adulthood. Deschooling is defined as an educational philosophy and movement away from the traditional modalities of schooling in favor of self-direction and freedom. In this discussion group, Chrissy wants to take the focus off of the kids and instead dive deep into reflection about what it means to be an adult in relation to self-directed children. We all arrived at Rock Tree Sky from different places and for different reasons. In this discussion group we will be asked to reflect on our experiences and name some of the challenges and revelations that have emerged as a result of parenting self-directed children.
The following is a link to a Fare of the Free Child podcast episode hosted by guest host, Tony Galloway. In this episode Tony poses a number of questions that will frame the parent dialogue. Whether or not you plan to attend the parent dialogue on Saturday, this and any other Fare of the Free Child podcast episode are worth a listen.
I hope to see you on Saturday the 8th!