Abundant Community

Scouts_readingThe following is the third post in a series by Kate Foran about exploring an alternative kindergarten education for her daughter Sylvie.

This picture was taken last November at a harvest gathering (note the bowls of squash soup) that I participated in with other children and parents. At the time, I was still wrestling with whether to enroll Sylvie in school or not, and the moment captured in the picture stands out for the way it tipped the balance toward “DIYing” her education instead. It was in some ways a typical preschool group story time (I think we were reading Curious George), but in other ways it was remarkable, because it was not a moment I organized. Instead, a child handed me the book and asked me to read it. And soon the other children crowded around, piling onto my lap and leaning on my shoulders. I was aware at the time of the great privilege of having the trust of these children, and it occurred to me that the spontaneous connection and even the physical closeness was not something that could easily occur in an institutional setting.   Sylvie was a bit ruffled at having to share her mom, but she was satisfied when I explained to her that I got to be a teacher to these other kids the way that their parents got to be a teacher to her. Continue reading “Abundant Community”

Wilderness School

TwoCoyotes2By Kate Foran. A second installment on her series on alternative education of her daughter Sylvie.

“When I show most people a rock I found, they say, ‘oh, nice.’ But when I show my teachers at Wilderness School, they say ‘Wow! It’s so beautiful! I love it!!” Sylvie, age 5.

The enthusiasm with which nature mentors and children regard rocks is a key piece in this patchwork quilt of my daughter’s education. On Mondays Sylvie spends the day at Two Coyotes Wilderness School, which meets in the woods surrounding Holcomb Farm in Granby, CT. She starts the morning with a gratitude circle, songs and games, and then it’s onto the woods for the day’s agenda (which might be building a fire with a bow drill or gathering wild edibles for October’s Ancestor Feast, or building a shelter out of sticks and branches.) Continue reading “Wilderness School”

An Alternative Kindergarten Education

IMG_0865Kate Foran, Hartford, CT, begins a series on education throughout her daughter’s “kindergarten year.”

The Hundred Languages

No way. The hundred is there.

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
Continue reading “An Alternative Kindergarten Education”

Detroit Spirit and Roots Reflection

Photo taken by Andrea Ferich. Created by participants bringing with them their ancestors to this place.
Photo taken by Andrea Ferich. Created by participants bringing with them their ancestors to this place.

Kate Foran reflects on Detroit Spirit and Roots, a project of Word and World and local organizers in Detroit.

An ancestor chose to survive because they saw this—you, us—coming. – A Detroit Spirit and Roots Participant, to the young people of color at the table

Some 11 years ago: my husband Steve and I are interns for Word and World, living in Greensboro, NC and working under one of the founding W&W board members Nelson Johnson. Word and World is struggling (as one way or another most organizations do) with white supremacy culture. We have a diverse board and we have rigorous goals for anti-racism and anti-oppression at our week-long schools. Everyone is making a good faith effort to unpack internalized privilege and internalized oppression, to “do our own work.” Still, as can be expected when you’re organizing so many moving parts, tensions run high and everyone brings their own default cultural assumptions to the table. At the time (and still) Nelson is involved in many organizations nation-wide. Steve and I ask him if he has ever been part of a truly multi-racial organization. He thinks long and hard for a minute and says no. He says the closest he’d ever come was with the Communist Workers Party, where ideology was so strong it trumped other dynamics. He says Word and World is different because at least folks are willing to have some honest conversation about race. But, he said, his experience as an African-American organizer is that white people either take over or they leave. Continue reading “Detroit Spirit and Roots Reflection”

Yield

kate foranWritten by Kate Foran. Kate Foran appreciates her three season CSA share and thinks it’s worth noting how the liturgical calendar builds in a lean time during the last weeks of winter and first weeks of spring.

That Wilderness should turn a mart”
quoted in  Changes in the Land by William Cronon

In this troubled area of the world known as
my shoulders, my roving fingers dig for what
must be buried there—gold doubloons
or taut and humming harpsichord strings
and I wonder about all that stored energy,
the tension I’m saving, always vigilant
for some fight or flight that never comes, Continue reading “Yield”

Words to Our Children…Part 2

leah burgessKate_Foran

 

 

 

 

 

Leah and I have had a rich correspondence as we have both tried to grapple from our different social locations with the power of racism in our lives. The grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown left us both feeling outraged and hamstrung, with the question, what do we do now? And what do we tell our children? Leah has a daughter, Dance (10 years) and two boys, Michael and Gabriel (3 years). I have a daughter, Sylvie (4 years). I asked Leah what she would tell my child, and Leah asked me what I would tell hers.

Kate Foran, November 2014.

Tuesday we posted Leah‘s letter. Today we post Kate’s. Continue reading “Words to Our Children…Part 2”

Words to Our Children…Part 1

leah burgessKate_Foran

Leah and I have had a rich correspondence as we have both tried to grapple from our different social locations with the power of racism in our lives. The grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown left us both feeling outraged and hamstrung, with the question, what do we do now? And what do we tell our children? Leah has a daughter, Dance (10 years) and two boys, Michael and Gabriel (3 years). I have a daughter, Sylvie (4 years). I asked Leah what she would tell my child, and Leah asked me what I would tell hers.

Kate Foran, November 2014.

 

Today, we post Leah’s letter and tomorrow we will post Kate‘s. Continue reading “Words to Our Children…Part 1”