Ideas, Creativity and Trailblazers

Such bubbling excitement filled the room as the Heroes came back together after their experience at our Children’s Business Fair. As we sat down around our circle, they shared and celebrated what went well for them (“we made a lot of money!” 🙂 ) and what they plan to do differently for the next fair in the Spring. Some shared new ideas of products they hoped to make, while others shared how they wanted to keep having the courage to talk with people they didn’t know. In any case, they were already EXCITED to do this again!

This week, our Heroes continued to discover and practice sharing things they are grateful for, as we wrapped up this session’s focus on Gratitude and Optimism. As we heard the story of the first Thanksgiving and considered what it would be like to be without food or warm shelter in the first cold winter, or how it would feel to lose our family members to disease, they realized first hand how grateful the Pilgrims would feel for the Native Americans who chose love instead of fear or control. When asked what they wanted to do to celebrate Thanksgiving together, they immediately thought of their favorite foods to bring for our “feast” and couldn’t wait to get started on making their costumes!

This is one powerful way that children transform into trailblazers! As we take the time in the studio for the heroes to generate ideas, try them out, reflect, and make adjustments, they build their sense of identify and courage to live life as an active creator of their experiences – instead of being a passive observer or follower. Making costumes in an open, hero-led way is a beautiful example. One hero (as seen above) tried three different ideas before she landed on her final iteration! She felt so proud!

Another example of the heroes learning to create their experience is seen in our “Move-It!” time each day. Each Hero takes a turn choosing a game, and then decides and communicates the rules. The rest of the Heroes embrace the challenge of 1) following the rules – even if they don’t prefer them – and 2) participating with a good attitude – even if they don’t prefer the game. After a short group discussion where Heroes offer ideas to each other for rules, the lead Hero makes a decision and off we go to play the game! This rich experience allows children to learn to become “game makers” – trying out ideas and learning for themselves the balance between freedom and rules in creating a fun game, as well as building empathy, respect and kindness for those who have different ideas and preferences! Some of the Heroes’ favorites so far have been creating different varieties of soccer, “Sharks and Minnows”, and ball tag!

In a world where people can be tempted to silence internal thoughts and passions in the name of “falling in line” or “checking off the boxes” or just doing what “has to be done”, we are casting a different vision. Think big. Discover deep. Have the courage to acknowledge your passions and step out to use them to change the world. After all, what is the value of a community if each of us are not present and offering our gifts? Offering our genuine presence and journey of growth to each other produces a rich, inspiring community where we are known, loved and growing into our potential. This is the beauty of our tight-knit learner-driven community; our children are absorbing the mindset of their value, and how to offer their authentic selves and their gifts to one another in community. No longer will they grow up to be adults content to be a silent observer. We are nurturing active participants in life – creators, trailblazers – world changers. What powerful little seeds.

Paper airplanes + a powerful family journey

I admire it so much when a family chooses the Acton Journey. The courage, humbleness, long-term vision and openness to growth it takes. Parents who choose a road that is narrow and unpaved, yet leading to breathtaking views. Families who forsake the status quo friendships and achievement-based peer culture for their child and take the plunge for a brand new culture that cultivates empathy, a unique and authentic identity, a strong voice and leadership. Parents who recognize that small seeds in time grow strong, towering trees that offer us shade and protection.

I’m excited to share with you one small seed of a powerful story of one of these families.

During our second session, we focused on exploring entrepreneurship with our young band of heroes in the studio. Their challenge: to create a business of their own and sell their products to real, live customers at our fall Omaha Acton Children’s Business Fair, seeing how much profit they could make and how much they would learn.

The constraint: the parents must step back and allow the children to own and drive their experience. This means the parents assume the role of a guide or coach – and leave the decision-making and effort to the child. Even if the child makes a mistake. Even if the child has a very simple booth with a sign drawn by hand. Even if the parent doesn’t think they will win a trophy.

Parents, are your insides tightening together with anxiety, just thinking about this? Yes, releasing our children to go down their journey – allowing them to learn through their mistakes and failures first hand – is one of the most difficult parts, and yet one of the most powerful learning experiences for them.

Something magical happens when children are allowed to create and then experience their own journeys. Freedom to experiment without external, authoritarian pressure. Freedom to make imperfect progress. Freedom to discover their own level of passion for something, instead of hiding behind a parent’s desires, ideas and passions.

Over time, they come out in the open, confident about where they’ve come from and how they’ve arrived to their current place. Confident about an even clearer vision for their future. All of this takes time. A mindset that celebrates imperfect progress – and embraces their unique journey of growth.

Meet George. He is a bright-eyed boy, eternally optimistic and warm-hearted. He loves his parents and lives life with such excitement – ushering joy into our studio each day! He was getting excited about his business – about which he announced, “We are making birdhouses! My dad and I make them, and I help him. He can make so many things out of wood!”

As excited as he was to do this project with his dad, I had a sense that the birdhouses might require more help from his parents than the mission allows. As we reached out to his parents (as is customary for each participant in our fair), a beautiful conversation ensued.

“What does George love to do?” we asked, when his mom wasn’t sure what another business idea might be. Right away she knew.

“Paper airplanes! He comes home from Acton and LOVES building them!”

“That sounds like a great business idea! What if you let him do that,” we encouraged her. And you know what? They did.

George and his younger brother arrived to the Business Fair with with all of the supplies for their booth – a simple white tri-fold poster with “George and Thatcher’s Paper Airplane Surprises” printed out and pasted on in a randomized, creative way, along with their slogan “You’re going to love it”, the price, and many hand-drawn sketches to decorate. Gingerly they set out their basket full of hand-made paper airplanes, each labeled with a number, and set up a variety of chocolates and candies they had brought. With contagious excitement and big smiles they invited passers-by, “Do you want a paper airplane surprise?!” As the customers drew a paper airplane out of the basket, the number dictated whether they had just won a big candy or a small candy along with the airplane. What a creative idea!

Did George and Thatcher win a trophy? No. Did they make a lot of profit? Not by an adult’s perspective. George’s perspective? It was such a rich and fun experience. After paying back their parents for their supplies, George and Thatcher took home $10 each – to which George joyfully commented, “This is the most money I’ve ever made all by myself!”

This is what it’s all about. Not a perfect business completed mostly by parents. It’s about allowing each experience to be more about the child’s journey of growth than the momentary outcome or achievement. It’s about cultivating the passion that we see bubbling up – and encouraging the confidence that springs up as a small shoot at first. This journey requires vision and support from the whole family. It’s a family journey.

Below you’ll find more pictures from the Omaha Acton Children’s Business Fair! Be sure to sign up at www.childrensbusinessfair.org/omaha to be the first to know when the application process opens up for our Spring fair on March 29, 2019!

Here is a complete list of the winners!

Age 5-8 Most Original Business Idea: Phillips Tile & Crafts; Age 5-8 Highest Business Potential: Omaha Kids Company; Age 5-8 Best Presentation/Creativity: Color World; Age 9-11 Most Original Business Idea: Kawaii Designs; Age 9-11 Highest Business Potential: Awesome Acrylics; Age 9-11 Best Presentation/Creativity: Sew Cute; Age 12-16 Most Original Business Idea: Witch & Wizard Emporium; Age 12-16 Highest Business Potential: KM Relievers; Age 12-16 Best Presentation/Creativity: Unicorn Slimes By Bree.

Congratulations to all of our youth for embracing their journeys of growth at the fair!

Little seedlings of passion

Hero-led game: “Welcome aboard the Iceberg Express!”

Although we are enjoying the beauty of fall, this week I was reminded of the little seedlings that come in springtime – for little seeds of beauty, health and LIFE are sprouting in our studio. Seedlings that are growing a stronger root system, day by day.

As we gathered in the afternoons this week for the Heroes to think about various aspects of their businesses for the Omaha Acton Children’s Business Fair coming up, (just 1 week away!) a buzz of excitement filled the room. The Heroes are quick to share with excitement all about what they are selling! Two heroes are selling “Paper Airplane Surprises”, another “Lego Plants”. 3-D printed objects, original Lego creations, art and soap are among the creations the other Heroes are selling. For some, this is their first fair. Others, this is their third fair. Regardless, each is excited to venture along this journey into the unknown and try something new, bubbling up out of their passions.

Setting our goals with excitement to be ready for the fair next week! 🙂

But it hasn’t always been this way.

Last year, for our very first fair, Ethan and Alaya participated, but were hesitant. We helped Ethan choose a business that he could do, and although he liked it at first, he realized he wasn’t really excited about it. This left a hole and a big question mark for him – “What am I excited about?” – a question which he continued to struggle through the entire past year. At 5 years old, Alaya started a business which was fun for her, but when it came time to interact with the people who came by her booth at the fair, she shrunk back and hid her face.

Over the past year, as another fair opportunity came into view and the Acton Omaha Tribe was formed this fall, a shift happened in Ethan and Alaya, which has been reflected in the rest of our tribe of Heroes as well – a passion to create, to build, to interact with and influence others. Now, I see Ethan and Alaya going door-to-door in our neighborhood, selling anything they think is of value to the neighbors – and not getting bogged down in the “no’s” that they get.

What is this shift?

It’s a little seedling. A seedling of LIFE that is sprouting and growing inside each Hero. In this seedling they are tasting what passion feels like – and the joy that hard work on a passion brings. No, these Heroes aren’t just building businesses for the fair – they are discovering and building themselves. They are learning to live their lives in a forward stance – one that builds, creates and solves problems – instead of a stance that leans backward, complaining about life as a victim.

This is where the unleashing of a joy-filled life happens. I’m so proud of these 7 Heroes and the journey of discovery they are on!

A Hero-Led Halloween

Welcome to our Hero-created “Spooky” Studio! 🙂

“Miss Rachel, Miss Rachel!!” One of our youngest heroes got my attention with excitement.

“Yes?” I responded curiously.

“What are we going to do for our Halloween party?! Can we decorate cookies and wear COSTUMES?!”

“Hmmm… I wonder what we should do for our party?” I mused. “We will have to talk about it at our ending circle today. Let’s make sure we remember to talk about that, ok?!”

Later we found ourselves sitting in a circle, and discussing ideas with excitement. “We should wear costumes!” one child shouted out. “…and decorations! I love decorations!” shared another. “What about that snack with dirt and worms…like with OREOS!!” another ventured, greeted with much agreement from the others. “And what about slimy stuff like eyeballs that you feel with your eyes closed so you don’t know what it is?!” another Hero offered. “I’ve done that before, that was SO FUN!!”

As we sorted through the many ideas and landed on each person’s passionate offering, the heroes went about their day with smiles and hopeful excitement for the party they were planning!

We all felt very “safe” with a SWAT team member, Flash and two Firefighters in the studio! Not to mention two powerful Mermaid Princesses and one very wise Hermione! 🙂

How often do our children’s little glimmers of ideas have the space to grow and come to life? In this adult-focused world, at an adult-focused pace, it can be a rare occurrence. How beautiful it is when a child’s ideas are shared in an environment where there is room for them to dream, to ideate, and to make their idea come to life! Talk about releasing a feeling of purpose and competence – ushering in JOY!

Roar!!! We are eating dirt, worms and EYEBALLS!! SO courageous 😉

Yes, our Hero-led Halloween party was one for the books. They helped decorate and even helped think about the “flow” of how the day should go. The best part for me was seeing how excited they were to see their own ideas come to life. And how much fun they had in the whole process – in the simple things.

It’s in the simple things they experience growth and joy. As an adult, I can sometimes forget that. Such a beautiful lesson they are teaching me!

There is room…to be.

“He’s king of the playground!!”

We are creating a nurturing place where children can discover life; to be awakened to their passions and talents; to taste the joy found in empathy, love and embracing of others different from themselves; and to appreciate the imperfect-yet-beautiful journey of growth each of us are on.

The beautiful thing about children is…they are naturally very empathetic and loving. They are quick to give second chances to disappointed studiomates and quick to believe the best in a difficult situation. What I’ve discovered on this journey – as the guide, I set the tone and influence their thinking with any labels I use. If I am focused on accountability and classifying a child’s actions as “right” or “wrong”, they begin to address each other in a similar manner, losing their grip on choosing love and their natural sense of believing the best. As a reflection I see in a mirror, what a beautiful gift this is to me as a guide. A chance to self-correct. And so I do. As I look deeper in the difficult moment, I see the tender little seedling springing up – and I nurture it. Through my words and love, I invite that forth with great joy – and at the same time allow the room to be.

And guess what? The heroes joyfully follow me there.

Frustration turns to empathy. Anger melts into encouragement. They are quick to cheer on another fellow hero on their journey of fighting the same monsters they’ve all fought before.

Discovering they could make their own “phones” as they prepared their “folding surprise” art!

And so, day by day, a culture of freedom, love, creativity and authentic growth is sprouting. There is room for children to be, to soak in love and slowly unfold to reveal a genuine self at peace. There is room for children to learn to lead. There is room for children to discover the joy encased in offering themselves in real help to others. There is room for children to discover their passions – and even more so – their authentic selves.

A cold, frosty morning made for so many fun discoveries!

This journey is beautiful. I’m so grateful for our band of 7 heroes and their families as we trailblaze the path for many more to come.

“I love it that you don’t give up”

Whether losing a game or a vote, engaging a challenging work, or failing to make it across the monkey bars – our heroes have experiences every day that disappoint them.

And yet – after the tears have run their course and hugs have been received, they inevitably have a choice to make; will I stay sad and give up, or will I choose to be a hero? And then I hear cheering happening (sometimes welcomed and sometimes not – and yet, it is CHEERING!) – “Yay ____ (insert name)!!! And even a chanting of their name, as their studio mates encourage them to keep getting up; to keep trying again.

Slowly, but surely, it is happening. Our heroes are learning to get back up – facing and then living beyond their disappointments.

This week, we had the privilege of celebrating our first birthday in the studio! Instead of our daily “secret question” challenge, we engaged in “secret card-making” :-). Each hero made their own birthday card with a secret message inside of what they love and admire about the birthday hero. Then, as the afternoon ceremony drew closer, we gathered around the seasons mat and celebration sun to admire the miracle of LIFE on planet earth and the miracle of life inside each one of us. As the birthday hero carried the globe on the path around the sun, we went around the circle and shared what we admire about her. Many shared how kind she is, how empathetic to others’ feelings she is, and even mentioning that she is powerful and strong. Another hero (who is also learning how to live beyond disappointment) shared, “I love it that you don’t give up.” Such a beautiful little glimmer of the seeds that are being sown deep into their hearts.

If our children discover a love of learning coupled with a strong growth mindset to receive disappointments as learning opportunities and to GET BACK UP, we will be preparing them to discover their impact in real life. There inlies the gold, and my deepest desire for our heroes.

A stake in the ground – etched in our hearts

Our heroes have embarked on a journey where they are experiencing the excitement that comes with challenges overcome and the struggle that comes from growth and learning. They are learning how to get back up when they fall, choosing hope and power in the face of trial. Day to day, growth can seem insignificant and slow. However, as we stop to reflect and remember where we’ve come from, we see the beautifully imperfect progress we’ve made. This idea came to life in our first ever studio exhibition we hosted for the parents at the end of our first session – a time to draw a line in the sand and choose to commit to what it means to be a part of our Acton Omaha community. Life brings about small moments where we must decide; those small decisions become a stake that is driven down into our hearts, orienting us to who we are choosing to become.

In the days leading up to the exhibition, the heroes came up with their own ideas of what our foundational guardrails meant to them: 1) I promise to keep our studio as a sacred place; 2) I promise to speak with kindness, encouragement and truth; and 3) I promise to never distract myself or others. As they collaborated, brainstormed and worked together to synthesize the ideas into what is most important to them, I witnessed ownership of our culture sprouting up. If a hero saw wrestling in the studio going on, they reminded each other that “no wrestling” was a part of their contract to each other. And they listened. Most of the time :-).

As the heroes arrived to school on the day of our first studio exhibition, much excitement filled the air. Heroes smiled big as they welcomed their parents into their studio, eyeing the different setup of the room and the special snack displayed up front. They couldn’t wait to show them all that they’d been learning on their new Acton adventure.

As heroes and parents found their seats, we stepped into a sacred time – the time we had been preparing for since the beginning; sharing our contract of promises with the community and making our choice to commit to it. Each hero, one by one, was invited to the front of the room. Each shared which promise was most important to them and why, then affirmed their commitment to abide by the contract of promises they helped to create – finally signing their name on each of the three parts of the contract. Each felt the gravity of what they were doing, and each made the choice to commit. As they picked out a rose to present to their parents who signed the parent contract alongside, with beaming faces they shared a precious moment as they began this journey, together as a family.

“I think keeping the studio sacred is most important because, you know – this is a really nice place to come and have school…and I want it to stay nice!” one hero shared. Another shared that since the studio has a TV he wants it to be kept sacred. Even one hero, who has struggled at times to share his thoughts, bravely chose to participate. “Speaking with kindness, encouragement and truth is most important to me because I want to have friends”.

As the heroes went on to share their favorite parts of the studio with their parents, as a guide it was precious to overhear their expressions – sharing about living in their challenge zone, monsters overcome and what they are proud of themselves for. Indeed, this was a special day that has etched a sense of commitment and celebration of growth along the beginning of this journey in each hero!

Living with uncrumpled hearts

As the heroes are beginning to settle into studio life and starting to feel more comfortable with each other, it is inevitable that frustrations begin to surface. It may be a sibling’s uniqueness that annoys another sibling, a disappointment when a hero must wait patiently to use a certain material, or the rubbing of two different passionate viewpoints on the playground.

And yet, what a beautiful opportunity each day for the heroes to press into real life and learn real skills – like how to resolve conflicts and respect each other. This process of learning to navigate relationships is a daily, one-step-at-a-time journey.

The Heroes learned this week that they are a group of real-life Avengers. Each with special powers and gifts that help the group win and are different from each other. What they didn’t realize, though, was that they were under attack. A monster called Conflict was seeking to destroy them. If Conflict was able to keep the Avengers frustrated and unable to work with each other, their powers wouldn’t be strong enough to defeat him – and all would be destroyed. The Heroes had to build up their combined superhero strength – and fast. Only 4 minutes remained until Conflict would be near enough to completely overtake them. The only way to build up strength was through a tool called Conflict Resolution. So we practiced what to do – sharing “I feel ___ when you ___” statements with each other, and responding to each other saying, “I hear you saying that you feel ___ when I ___ – is that true?” We talked about how when we feel hurt or angry, it may feel like our heart is like a crumpled piece of paper; and how important it is to give space for each other’s heart to unwind and become uncrumpled again. So as the heroes shared their feelings, they gave their crumpled hearts to each other. Then, as the receiving hero listened and paraphrased what they heard, they would slowly begin to uncrumple the other hero’s paper heart. What a neat picture of empathy. Through motivated and focused hard work, the heroes were able to build up enough combined superhero power to defeat the enemy! They did 18 conflict resolutions in the 4 minutes! Woo hoo! They saved the world again!

Each day we have been practicing these skills in the ebbs and flows of studio life – seeking to live with uncrumpled hearts. I’ve even seen siblings choose to have a conflict resolution (or “conflict revolution” as my daughter says) instead of continuing to be mad at each other. Other times, they aren’t quite ready yet. However, these moments of courage as they choose to etch a new skill into their moldable hearts are precious. They are powerful seeds that will yield much fruit in their lives as they continue to grow!

Catching Monsters

As our 7 heroes shake hands to greet me each morning and step across the rocky threshold to playground, they magically transform. They step into a special world where they are a hero and bravely fight monsters of all kinds. They call on one another for help and wield their special powers together as a team (most of the time :-)) “Hulk, we need you!!” I hear them say. Or when Hulk starts crying with an “owie”, they acknowledge him and say, “Sorry Hulk!” and off they go with smiles. Yes, I’m pleased to introduce you to Hulk, Batman, Ironman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Super Girl, and Leader (affirmed by this tribe as the leader of them all)! The special world of the playground is like a “hero training ground” where they push themselves and try new things with courage.

And do you know what is beautiful? The heroes are beginning to internalize what it means to be a hero. Heroes fight monsters – and we definitely had some monsters to fight and catch this week in the studio! As the heroes and I sat around our morning circle, I called them by their playground hero identities and whispered to them that I needed their help. There was a monster on the loose that was seeking to destroy each of them. We started to co-create the story of what each hero did to fight the monster and what happened as a result. As each hero tried their power on the monster, it just kept getting bigger and bigger. In fact, at one point the monster swallowed all of the heroes whole. They thought all was lost, until Ironman used his power to split the monster in two from the inside. The heroes were freed! Until they realized that this huge monster had begun to split into thousands of mini monsters, much like worms that are cut in half. They were everywhere. Another hero was able to use her power to make all of the monsters freeze in mid-action, and scientists were able to study them.

Watching the beloved “What it means to be a hero” video clip.

The scientists were able to give us a report of who these monsters were, and what it takes to catch them. Although now hundreds of monsters exist, we discovered there were only three different kinds: Resistance, Victimhood and Distraction. Each was merely a copy of one of these three. We learned that Resistance tries to make heroes get stuck, saying “I’m not going to do it!”. We discovered the key to get free from Resistance is movement. Victimhood tries to make heroes think, “There is nothing I can do about this!” We discovered the key to get free from Victimhood’s grasp is to make a choice – since we always have choices. Distraction? We learned that he’s very sneaky. Distraction at first seems like such a good, fun monster. He offers you everything you want – like cake, a party or a laugh. Except it’s only later you find out that the seemingly good things he offers are actually poisonous. He is not a good monster at all. What’s the key to get free from Distraction? We discovered it is by choosing to focus on something.

As the heroes were introduced to these three monsters, they were invited into the challenge of catching as many as possible. As we spread these monster faces all across the room, each hero was blindfolded and led to a monster by a studio mate, who then acted like the monster they had come upon – and if the blindfolded hero correctly guessed the monster, they caught it!

Acting out “Resistance” while playing the “Catching Monsters” game.

It has been amazing to see our heroes begin to internalize the fact that fighting monsters as a hero is normal – and we celebrate each time a hero overcomes/catches a monster by giving them a little token monster they get to color and keep in their “monster collection”. I’ve seen our heroes encourage each other when they are battling a monster, saying, “You can do it! We need you!!” and even at times begin chanting the hero’s name. These moments are precious. They show the tribal connections that are beginning to form.

One other story from this week…

During Studio Maintenance on Friday, more playing than cleaning was happening. In these moments, I remind the heroes of what is at stake – their extra outside playing time- if they end up using all of this time during studio maintenance. The oldest hero was the only one at that moment doing his job. And he was feeling frustrated about that. “I’m so frustrated that I’m the only one doing my job… and I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE!!”

“Would you like to see who else wants to finish this so they can go outside?” I asked him. Off he went. Soon, he found the other two oldest heroes who also wanted to work hard and go outside. We went and sat together on the gray rug, and began to reflect together (as the younger heroes were still running circles around us :-p). I asked them, “What guardrails are the others not upholding right now?” They reflected. “Are there any promises that should be up there that aren’t?” I asked. “No running in the studio,” one said. “No wrestling,” another other said. As the heroes are currently working on creating their own contract of promises to each other, I invited them to write these ideas up on our list to try. When some of the other younger heroes decided to come join the discussion, we made room for the older heroes to share feedback with the younger ones, and share the ideas of promises they had come up with. We took a vote, and the oldest heroes voted in the new promises to try out before they are added to the contract.

What a beautiful example of how, day by day, the strength of the tribe to own their learning and experience is being formed!

It’s a Donut Day

It was Monday. A Donut day.

On the way to the studio, early in the morning, my car tire went completely flat and my husband was nearby to help. On went the “donut” tire. Although a bit challenging, I just smiled inside, shrugged my shoulders and declared it a “Donut Day”. Ironically, I was already planning a launch to introduce the “Donut Challenge” where we use the metaphor of a donut to describe when we are in our comfort zone, challenge zone, or panic zone, and how we learn the most when we are in our challenge zone, where all the “tasty nutrients” are. As we walked to the park and the heroes saw my funny-looking yellow-rimmed tire, I told them it was a donut day and they were excited to see what would come next! They were excited to find out that they WOULD be eating a tasty donut as part of the activity. 😉

The heroes have grown this week in learning how to work together to complete challenges. They enjoyed un-knotting themselves in the “Human ‘Knot So Fast’ Challenge”, and safely crossing the lava-infested land blindfolded with the help of their peers. The best part of all is seeing how their team work and creativity is expressing itself on the playground. They create different games like “Who’s King on the Playground” and I hear them tweeking it to include lots of Kings and Queens instead of just one. Most recently, they are exploring their superhero powers as each plays the part of a different superhero! They’ve created different ways that they lose their superhero powers and different ways that they gain them back. And of course, whenever they hear the whistle blow of the train, everyone says “TRAIN!” and everything stops for a moment as they run to the fence to watch and listen in awe.

We explored some new activities during our Stations work time this week! Magnet tiles, Marble run, Locks and keys and Legos are still definite favorites. Heroes are also exploring making up their own songs on the piano, as well as creating art through tracing metal shapes, and exploring a few new math montessori works. It has been fun to see how well they are engaged and focused during this time.

The heroes are also making progress in their responsibility to honor the studio by keeping it clean. As they have been learning how to do their job and learning how to stay focused, studio maintenance time for our small space has taken up to 1 hour to complete some days. Whew! However, as they keep practicing, each day has gotten easier for them. In fact, they worked so well together on Friday of this week that it took only 1/2 as much time as normal. We celebrated with extra playtime outside! 🙂

One other fun addition we experienced this week was our first organized “Gym time” led by the staff of Lifestyle Fitness (located inside Thrive Space). The heroes loved feeling like they were training for “American Ninja Warrior” as they jumped, climbed, carried, bounced and ran through the various stations. We are so grateful for their partnership in our Acton mission!

This next week the heroes will continue reflecting on our initial studio guardrails of 1) I promise to keep the studio sacred 2) I promise to speak with kindness, encouragement and truth, and 3) I promise to never distract myself or others. The heroes will begin experimenting with any additional promises they would like to include as a part of their studio contract to each other, as we look ahead to sharing our created contract at our first session exhibition in just under 3 weeks! Will the heroes step up to the plate and choose to finish it in time? Stay tuned to find out! 🙂