Second semester started February 1, and, we have a couple of new kids in the school.One of them has never been on a computer before, and, he is choosing online school with us! In addition, he lives in a time zone where APS classes begin at 5:45 am. He was awake before his parents, up before the sun, choosing to be online with his new teachers and peers, instead of sleeping soundly in his bed! He is 7 years old.
Each and every one of our kids is amazing, courageous and phenomenal! They are so willing to choose completely out of their comfort zone and to make the demand on themselves that no matter what it takes, they are having this!
None of them is willing to take, “No, you can’t,” as a point of view, and, they are all willing to be as totally different as they are.Actually, they are not just different! They are leaders! They have a sense of themselves to an extent that few kids do.
As Gary Douglas said recently, “If all the kids in the world could function like that, what could be created as the future?”
– Anne Maxwell, Executive Director
APS Blogtalk Radio Show!
Loving Learning – Rediscovering the Joy
Hosted by APS teachers, Christine DiDomenico, Adelle King, Simone Padur
and Sylvia Puentes
Join us every Monday at 12:30 Pacific, to talk about kids, teachers, parents, education, home and so much more. Click here to listen.
March 7 – Dealing With Medically Fragile Kids
March 14 – Giving Up Yourself – How To Include You
March 21 – When Kids Get Bullied
March 28 – When Parents Want to be Involved in the Classroom
What’s Happening in the Access Possibilities School?
In this newsletter, you’ll find…
- Quote of the Month
- Message from a Teacher
- Tips and Tools for School
- A Sneak Peek into the Classroom
- Debunking Myths of Learning
- Extracurricular Classes
- Quick Links
We would love this newsletter to be interactive. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, ideas, wishes, stories, successes, curiosities.
Quote of the Month
“The things that I do are not superpowers. They’re just things that I do.”
~By 7 year old, during Friday Fun Class with Diva Diaz, called Your Superpowers
Message from a Teacher
Trained to Judge
Today, for the first time ever, I am not tired at the end of the day.
Years ago, I asked myself what would it take to change this? Because what I found was that my colleagues and I (the good, the bad and the ugly) were exhausted by the end of the day. It wasn’t until today that I finally got what it was.
After only 5 hours of sleep the night before and working from 6am- 6pm, I am still ready go and I’m writing this article. This would have been unheard of even yesterday. The thing that was sucking the life out of me wasn’t the kids, wasn’t the school, wasn’t the marking, wasn’t the hours of travel or anything like that.
It was the judgment.
As teachers, we are taught to judge. And, I would argue, more than many professions or most people on the planet, getting the right, not-wrong answer is what teaching is all about. And, in order to be on the lookout for the right, not-wrong answer, it requires constant, never –ending judgment of us as teachers and of the kids.
One of the reasons it’s so easy for me to be around little kids and animals is because they don’t judge us.
As teachers, we are taught how to judge our students’ performance, behavior, the way they dress, their grades and their effort. We are also taught to judge how they are doing socially. Are they doing well, are they fitting in, do they have enough friends and are they happy?
Recently we had a student who was pulling back, not showing his face on the Zoom screen, hiding his video and hiding his audio. As teachers, the temptation was to conclude that he didn’t like us, that he wished not to attend the school anymore and that he would be better off elsewhere.
In a conversation amongst ourselves, someone asked the question, “Is he getting his work done?” Yes, he always hands in his schoolwork, and, he is a gifted student.
The next questions were, “Wait a minute. What if we can create the space for him to simply be, happy or not happy? What if we don’t have to fix him? What if we can let him work through whatever it is he’s working through and have no point of view about it? What if we can be grateful for him showing up in the way he’s chosen to show up?”
It changed everything for me and what I was able to create with him. He is showing his face more than he used to. He continues to hand in his work. He’ll talk with me in the chat screen. He’s more confident in his work. He seems easier with himself.
It was stunning to me the ease with which everything shifted, simply from asking a question.
Tips and Tools for School
Acknowledging Your Child
I’ve noticed lately that if you’d like to change something and you asked for it to change and then that change shows up, but you don’t acknowledge it, what occurs is that you start re-creating whatever the situation is that you wanted to change in the first place even though the change has already occurred. I know, it’s a bit of a brain scramble, but stay with me.
Often people talk about gratitude. Specifically that when you’re grateful for what you have, you get more. The thing is, before you can be grateful for something, you have to acknowledge it exists. In this sense, gratitude and acknowledgement go hand-in-hand. The first step is acknowledging something, then being grateful. From there, you can ask for more. More of the same, more that’s greater or something completely different. Whatever you choose.
This is true with our capacities and abilities as people too. If we have a capacity or ability in some area that we acknowledge exists and are able to be grateful for, then we can ask for more or ask to change it. If we don’t acknowledge it, and instead judge it as something bad or wrong about us, or don’t see that it exists at all, and then say we want to change it… What we do is actually start to use those abilities against ourselves.
So, when your child is struggling in school and seems to be working against themselves, you might consider asking a question like, “Does my child have a gift, capacity, or ability here that hasn’t been acknowledged?” Or “What’s right about my child or this situation that I or we are not getting?”
Asking questions like these opens you up to considering a different perspective that can give you a different view of the situation and maybe even change it entirely!! Would you be willing to ask and see what shows up for you and your child?
A Sneak Peek into the Classroom
It was an average potato chip, removed from the crinkly bag by a pair of salty fingers. It was transported from the salty fingers to the salty mouth, and then, is when everything took the darkest of all dark turns. The razor hidden inside the chip slid against the sensitive ridges on the top of her mouth. Explosive pain blew out along every single one of her nerve endings. An obscenity tumbled from her salty lips as an iron-filled liquid traced into her mouth. Maybe this is how it all ends.
The salty fingers shakily replaced the clip on the opening of the bag, pushing the bag as far away as she possibly could. Swallowing hard, the pain began to stop stinging and evaporate. “I’ve been betrayed. Betrayed by an average potato chip. And I will never let that happen to me again.”
The girl thinks definitively. Nine and a half minutes later. The girl doesn’t know how she finished the bag of chips, but she did. And she hasn’t been betrayed again. Yet.
Ella, 12 APS Student
Debunking Myths of Learning
Myth: Children need to focus to get their homework done.
One of the things we often hear teachers and parents saying is, “My/your child has difficulty focusing and therefore he can’t get his work done”. The truth is, focusing is not a space that is comfortable for many children. Just for a moment focus on something in the room you are in. Does that give you a sense of being smaller and contracted or a sense of being larger or more expanded?
For most people it is a sense of contraction. Now, think for a moment of something you love to do and brings you great joy. It could be running, playing, making art, dancing, writing, etc. Are you focusing during these activities or are you so much bigger? Are you so much more expanded? Expansion is the space of creation. It’s the space where getting things done is so much easier and more fun. We are not really focusing during these activities but rather we are more spacious and expanded and that’s what allows the joy and ease.
When you ask a child to focus it can be very difficult and almost painful. It’s like asking them to take their huge being and put it in a little box. They just can’t do it. There is way too much going on in their universe to contract themselves into that little box and shut down everything else they are aware of.
So what do you do to help a child get their work done?
First, acknowledge and have the child acknowledge how much they are aware of. You can even ask the child to notice what they are aware of; the sounds in the street, someone talking in another room, the plane passing by overhead, or they may even be aware of people and things that are much farther away.
As they notice what they are aware of they are expanding out rather than focusing. They are becoming bigger rather than smaller. Then ask the child, “what if you could be aware of all of that and be here too?” They will get it right away and say, “ok, I can do that”. When they are in that expanded place there is more of a sense of lightness in their world. They are more of who they truly are and so much more is possible in their world.
Whatever they need to get accomplished can come with greater ease and more of a sense of peace instead of struggle. How does it get any better than that?
For Kids & Adults
We’ve got a wide variety of extracurricular classes for kids as well as for adults! Some of them take place over several weeks, others over several days, others are one time only!
Ben Cap Talks: Have you heard of the global Benevolent Capitalism Movement? Are you ready to develop, inspire, create and be the change in the world you desire to see? Join us for premiere call with Gary Douglas, Dain Heer, Simone Milasas and Steven and Chutisa Bowman on March 18, 2016. What future would you like to see?(click for more information)
Technology & Design for Middle School Kids: Students will learn new skills in animation, illustration, web design, image manipulation, game design, blogging, video editing and more. A chance for kids to apply and share their knowledge for class projects and their interests outside of school.
Join Simone Padur for 6 sessions starting March 18, 2016. For ages 8-12. (click for more information)
Math Made Easy: Do you find yourself getting lost in the different math methods, techniques, and strategies? We’ll work to help you discover what works for you and when. Join us for our monthly session with Connor Hill, Professional Engineer who excelled in math, physics, and industrial arts, as well as the other sciences throughout his academic life. (click for more information)
Was this information helpful? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at email@example.com
Enthusiastically creating a different future.
Access Possibilities School Team
P.S. If you, or someone you know, would like to make a financial contribution to the school, please contact Anne Maxwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.