3rd season, Spring 2012 update

November, 09 2011

3rd season, Spring 2012 update

I am happy to report that we are currently conducting 4 classes a week in 8 week blocks at 3 locations( see Fall schedule).

the Menlo Park Group ranges from ages 6-12 and has been practicing archery to increase the power of concentration and also to have fun.we are working on archery basics.We started our 3rd block with a group of 8 boys who are now iron age forging and whittling, carving walking staffs.

in San Mateo we have 2 groups of children, the younger children are working with clay for one hour. The exercises of Hella Loewe for grades 1-3. focus on harmonizing the feeling life of the students and awakening of the hand.Here fingers of the hands, which are not much used in everyday life, like the little, ring and middle fingers,  as well as other parts of the hand are engaged alongside our index/ thumb activities which are usually dominant in the development of fine motor skills. Simple metamorphic exercises lead into a new perception of form, help to harmonize the breathing of the students and a lead to an overall feeling of well being.

The older students are working in a more sculptural way and are now into the second block of carving. We are working with simple human forms at this point.

Pine Mountain Arts / Last Chance Rd.-Wednesday Group
 We are starting a new block with emphasis on iron age forging and beekeeping. The "Mushroom season has pretty much come to an end for us, but the ancient " Laguna de trancas" in the front meadows is teeming with life and attrackting many predators, which are feasting on frogs, snakes and gophers. At the "Mill Site" we meet regularily for archery and to take care of the bee hives which are now going into full spring mode.Queens are laying thousands of eggs daily and we observe the activities deep inside the colony as well as the foraging of the bees in our environment.We also felled some small trees and in combination with dead branches laid the foundations for another primitive observation shelter in the adjacent woods. Since neighbors were milling downed trees, the children of both groups were able to observe a milling operation and the lumber turn into a small barn/ workshop for the saw operator as well as boards being prepared for the restoration of the old barn which serves us often as rain shelter and lunch spot.

The Thursday Group is now in it's third block and while a lot of the activities are similar, the aproach is gentler and geared towards a group of younger children. We alternated whittling and clay modeling as one aspect of the classes, laid the foundations for the council process, where the students learn to express themselves free of fear and use it also for conflict resolution and consensus decision making. This group as well, will be introduced to forging now.. Laguna del Trancas offers us many chances to be close to such wildlife as falcons, hawks, herons, lizards, snakes and more recently we watched an old coyote roam around for food. Recent rains gave us the opportunity to learn how to make fires under adverse conditions to dry our cloth and stay warm. Work with saws, hatchets and machetes continues, as we prepare new shelters and clear the invasive french broom from an area which will serve us in the near future as an overnight camp site and base for explorations deeper into the forest.Our environmental studies included several trips to the Salmon trap and research station of the department of fisheries and Cal Poly on Swanton road. Bee keeping also features strongly for this group.