International Mud Day

A Day for Kids to PLAY IN MUD? Is this just too KOOKY?

I promise after listening to Tim Vidler speak on ABC Radio – You’ll … “Get It”

6a00e0097e4e68883301a511d5b9d7970c-320wiBold Park Community School (BPCS), founder of the inaugural International Mud Day, were excited to join other schools and organisations to partner in an initiative to link with schools around the globe in enjoying the benefits and pleasure of playing in mud!
The intention of this event is to provide children with a symbolic opportunity to join with others around the world in connecting through the catalyst of mud.
This year BPCS “amped it up” with a dirty-big mud obstacle course (the Mudsticle Course); where children from ages 3 to 18 (and adults) interconnect with like-spirited children around the world by playing in mud together on Friday the 27th June, 2014.
Grown from its inception in 2009 with the connection of 80 Nepalese orphans and the children of Bold Park Community School, with the support of the Nature Action Collaborative for Children (NACC), this inspirational initiative has flourished into a multi-continental annual celebration.
As the participants of Bold Park Community School Mud Day since 2009 have discovered, there are children like our friends in Nepal who are prevented from enjoying nature-based play because they only have one set of clothes. One of the aims of International Mud Day is to raise global awareness of this sad reality and provide funds to meet this need to enable children to delight in the joys of mud play, and in the mean time, encouraging our own children (and parents) to overcome our fear of getting dirty!
Mud gratifies one of our first and basic instincts. We will be playing in and connecting in the same earth. “Mud – It’s universal”.
For more information, visit the World Forum Mud Day site at:

 

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Secret Mums on “POSITIVE” Business … OR … Engaging Our Parents in the Learning Partnership

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I hope you don’t mind my indulgence. It has been a fantastic few weeks at our little school. We have been running an intimate and innovative program for our Middle School girls (aged between 11 and 14).

These are confronting years for our young ladies and we have identified the need to focus on our girls in this age range. Families are needing support to cope as their girls deal with the new pressures of adolescence; confidence issues, body image and representations of beauty, healthy attitudes to food and exercise, complicated relationships (parents, “other girls”, and attraction/s to others) as well as the stresses of school, building success and coping with the technological presence of social and electronic media. It is no surprise that anxiety and stress are a growing community issue.

If our young people don’t have the tools to deal with these issues, they are simply not in a position to be able to learn.

The Middle School team consulted and researched widely to target a program that would offer the girl’s the confidence to address these issues within the school environment. Staff worked to collate a library of POSITIVE centred readings, video clips, podcasts, songs, feature articles and short stories centred around the themes we had identified and addressed POSITIVE solutions to HELP Girls… Kaz Cooke, Maggie Dent (our patron), the “Dove” media packages offered some great provocations;  as well as best practice readings from Relationships Australia and other professional support organisations.

resourcesThese “readings” have been broken into five weekly reading packages which will be delivered as a “girls only” group in a fully integrated English program. We have secretly employed the mums who also completed the reading program, complete with homework for Mum AND daughter.

Mother and daughter study, discuss, read and reflect on the weekly readings TOGETHER before they come to school to share their thoughts with their “Reading Circles” group.  The package integrates perfectly with English, Health, Electives, Zentangles and our Girls group and is informed by the pastoral care focus we have throughout the school.

The series culminated today (Friday the 6th June) with a special surprise event! The girl’s arrived to find all their mothers AT SCHOOL accompanied by our special guest; Kate Wilson – our amazing “spoken Word Poet” – a passionate young lady who has much to say about the issues we are addressing. You can view a sample of her work at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK46nILY-rw – she was truly MAGICAL!

Most significantly – each mother shared about a moment from their own childhood where they had to face a challenge lead to a POSITIVE; something that was special to all of the girls – they were invited to present their snapshot through a medium of their choice; a dance, a song, a poem, a story but REAL and from the heart.

They also gave their daughter a handwritten letter in which they communicated and celebrated the BEAUTY they see in their daughter.

We are sold on the belief that schools must work with parents in partnership toward developing our young people – not JUST in an academic program but multi-elementally. We are excited that our school has been in an intimate position to RESPOND to the needs of our children in partnership with our wonderful community.

What’s Eating You? … A Case for Intrinsic Motivation

We’ve all been on awesome PDs,  Camps, Incursion where we have left feeling reignited about our teaching (or other aspect of our lives). After a while it seems to ‘wear off’ and for those of us who are over thirty (OK! forty!)  it would be easy to surrender to the cynic inside saying, “Motivation is just hype and it doesn’t last very long.”

The truth is, our inner-cynic is RIGHT – that’s why we need motivation ALL the time.

I don’t know how far you are into the year when you are reading this but as I write we are about to commence Week 5 of Term 1. The honeymoon is over, some students have had a cry in your classes, the staff are getting niggly again, you have a wad of marking, programs are due in, you are reminded again that the administrators really HAVE spent too much time out of the lower-school classroom and your family are back to being your part-time interest… Clearly, my inner-cynic is alive and well!   

I know I need to seek out the inspiration needed to keep me firing from day-to-day and to gauge when I’m heading for the rocks and reignite my lighthouse! Many of you would have tremendous sources for inspiration and I would love to hear them. I’m certain they aren’t all web-based but they are the easiest to share.

My recent bank of mental turkish delights has come from TED but I have only recently stumbled up STUMBLE UPON (couldn’t help myself), EDTALKS and a ripper TOP 100 MOTIVATIONAL stories site.  What are your sources of inspiration right now? What gets you through the rough days?

For many, the reality of our motivations can based in pay, fear, looking ‘solid’, performing ‘crack-free’, work conditions or competition. I sincerely believe that teachers, more than any other occupation, need to be on the front line of being intrinsically motivated; of being positive, energetic and committed individuals,  because our actions and attitudes duplicate in the students we teach.

Now to go into my week like I really believe that.

 

Contextualising Media

I happened to stumble upon a re-run of one of the ABC’s “Big Ideas” programs last weekend. Similar to the range of materials available via TED (look it up if you haven’t heard of it and you’ll be addicted too!) I love many of the ideas, philosophies and challenges that are presented.

I have tried to locate a copy of the talk I heard last week but to no avail! As it was a re-run, I didn’t catch the original broadcast date and I was not clever enough to write down the speaker’s name – if it helps he is an American ‘HE’ and his first name is ‘Dr.’ ! You get the picture?

Anyway, his argument was that media (print and non-print) are failing to contextualise media coverage; instead of presenting the ‘big picture’ they tended to offer only the latest ‘update’. I couldn’t agree more! It becomes very obvious, when you discuss with older students any of the Social Sciences, that there is a distinct lack of connection with cause/effect and a limited knowledge of history, political construction and geographical historical contexts that are essential to our ‘reading’ of news.

  • What has just happened in Egypt? Why did it happen? What ’caused it’?
  • What is a ‘hung’ parliament? How does OUR political system actually work? What are the implications?
  • What is the GEC (Global Economic Crisis)? What caused it? What are the implications for us?
  • Asylum Seekers?

I read/view widely so these areas do not produce ‘gaps and silences’ for me personally (though of course none of us know the things we DON’T know that we don’t know… hope you followed that – it is profound) but don’t the media have a responsibility to pause and remind us of how the ‘daily update’ fits into the wider context? I would love to see a 30 minute documentary that summarised our political system and its origins or a brief 60 second overview of the history of an event before we hear the latest.

Are we connecting our younger ‘news’ readers with the contexts we know so intimately? Our current 14 year olds were 4 years old on September 11, 2001! Don’t they have the right to ask… “Why are we in Afghanistan?”. If I gave them a blank map of the world, would they even know where Afghanistan was? Come on News professionals – help us all out here.

“Dr. He” definately thinks we’d all benefit!