Relationships drive SelfDesign learning, allowing learning to thrive
At SelfDesign Learning Community, we support learning through relationships and community by providing opportunities for learners and families to connect with peers both in person and in real-time online throughout the year.
Learners are invited to take part to the degree they are comfortable, but some of our learners have found the opportunities provide foundations for incredible friendships, and they eagerly look forward to taking part every year and in every way that they can.
“When I started going to camps, my whole outlook and personality changed,” recent SelfDesign graduate Erik says. “This change was because I found like-minded people, people I liked, people my age – and through the experience of meeting these people, I was able to discover within myself what it was like to be outgoing and fun.”
Opportunities for connecting with peers in person
In a typical year, SelfDesign offers five themed in-person camps for learners in grades 9 to 12 and two Community Gatherings for learners and families. In addition, our annual commencement ceremony allows learners and their families and educators to gather to celebrate the end of the learners’ SelfDesign journeys. This year, because of government directives regarding COVID-19, these in-person events have been canceled.
“Our camps nurture connection, and support learners to build relationships with their peers and the camp facilitators, creating a community of inclusion,” says Amber Santos, SelfDesign camps lead facilitator. “Camps are jam-packed with fun and are inclusive, hands-on, collaborative, group-based and experiential learning experiences. Learners have the opportunity to connect to nature, experience culture, explore Indigenous ways of knowing and express themselves.”
Our Cultural Connections Daytrippers opportunities, which are arranged with the help of SelfDesign’s Indigenous Education Resource Coordinator Patricia Collins, allow all members of the SelfDesign Learning community to actively strengthen their understanding about history, culture and perspectives with Indigenous Nations throughout B.C. Workshops, gallery and museum visits, guest speakers, and theme-based explorations bring learners, families and educators together in various communities to explore reconciliation through actions.
Families are also encouraged to work with their children and SelfDesign learning consultants to explore social learning opportunities in their local community that support and further each child’s personalized learning plan. Art classes, team sports, swimming lessons, dance classes, youth book clubs, and more, are all possibilities. Some funding may be available to access community programs through SelfDesign’s Learning Resources and Services.
Regular real-time online connection
We also provide learners many opportunities to connect with peers regularly online in real-time.
Genius Hour is made for learners in grades 6 to 9. At these monthly online meetings, learners gather together in a virtual meeting space to showcase what they are doing in their learning lives, ask questions, share ideas and deepen their understanding of the notion of “Genius.” Genius Hour is often filled with laughter, sharing, creativity and exploration.
Learners choose the degree of their own participation. Although we encourage them to bring their ideas, innovations or projects and an encouraging voice, they should also feel free to attend only via audio and to just listen in.
As learners mature and move up the grade levels, more and more opportunities for group learning and socialization develop to help them prepare for SelfDesign grades 10 to 12.
Learners in grades 8 and 9 can participate in Circle workshops. Circle is a committed group of learners who gather in real-time weekly meetings on Zoom (our online video-conferencing application) to expand their study skills, practice group presentations and build learning connections with peers. Topics include community, jobs, active citizenship and much more. There is no cost, and participation is optional.
Learners in grades 8 and 9 are also welcome to take part in Grade 8/9 Workshops – drop-in workshops that consist of curated resources and optional activities, and are intended to inspire and deepen learning. SelfDesign offers the workshops using the same learning platform they will use in grades 10 to 12 for learners to explore at their own pace with educator-facilitated real-time meetings on Zoom. Participation is optional, and learners can join one workshop or attend them all. There is no additional cost for participation.
In grades 10 to 12, courses are grouped and integrated into a theme such as travel and adventure, storytelling, entrepreneurship, or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math). Learners in these grades are encouraged to interact with peers who have chosen the same theme through weekly online meetings where learners can participate in group-building experiences and interact online. Although participation is highly encouraged, learners can participate at whatever level they are comfortable with.
In addition, learners in grades 10 to 12 can also take part in online showcases to present the results of the personal learning projects they have undertaken throughout the year.
We provide your family with opportunities to connect with other SelfDesign families through our Village of Conversations, informally in your local communities, and through face-to-face group learning events.
Village of Conversations is a SelfDesign Learning Community online topics forum and a gathering place for our community to connect with each other. It is open to all kindergarten to grade 12 learners and families. You will have the opportunity to form relationships, ask questions, discuss resources and get help from one another and from B.C. certified educators.
“SelfDesign is a unique opportunity to pursue your interests in a different way,” SelfDesign graduate Erik says. “It’s also a great opportunity to find like-minded people – which could be hard to do otherwise – but SelfDesign provides the perfect opportunities for these connections to be made.”
We encourage you and your child to get involved in the opportunities we offer for connection with peers, learning consultants, and other families. They provide connections that can last a lifetime. At SelfDesign, these connections formed at our in-person events help our learners flourish, learn new things and gain new experiences.