Discovering Independence in Discovery Studio

And we’re off! We’ve thrown ourselves into this new school year in Discovery Studio. 

We started the year off with the biggest Discovery Studio yet. With more learners and more space, learner independence isn’t a choice – it’s a necessity. 

Being learner-led leads to so many incredible moments. Seeing young people learn, reflect, interact, and problem-solve through any obstacles is inspiring. In a world where so many adults can’t work together, watching young people work together the way they do here gives me a lot of hope for the future.

However, when a group of highly independent 6-11 year olds are first thrown together for the first time, it’s unsurprising that there are some challenges. That’s why our year starts with introductions to a lot of different systems. 

Systems are the backbone to our learner-driven community. Systems let learners decide their rules, hold each other accountable, share joys and failures, and celebrate each other. Systems let learners handle things themselves.

This group has proven that they’re eager for more independence. They’ve flown ahead in independent projects, like collaborating on an illustrated book about climate change in just one optional Friday. They’ve started thoughtfully making their contract and having constructive conversations about what they want their studio to be.

So, a bit earlier than usual, they were introduced to the system of Town Hall this week. Town Hall is a time when learners can share with their community, whether it’s solving a problem, getting feedback, or celebrating a success. They had an opportunity to write their first Town Halls of the year.

They made this meeting so much more than just an introduction. Learners brought up real issues in the studio. Even with issues I found a bit uncomfortable, they proved their maturity by having meaningful, productive conversations. They came up with their own solutions, debated their pros and cons, and voted to enact the things they felt their community needs. They celebrated each other’s progress and offered kind and helpful feedback. This group of young learners showed how much responsibility they already have for their community and their learning, and that they have the skills to work together for the greater good.

A learner driven environment can be messy at times but the ability to come together, discuss, compromise, and solve problems shows that this group is off to an incredible start.

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