THE LOST VILLAGE
On the 24th of August 2017, Allan Alach featured a thought provoking article in “Leading and Leaning,1. ” by Carol Black which she wrote in 2016. She makes the following point….
“In many rural land-based societies, learning is not coerced; children are expected to voluntarily observe, absorb, practice, and master the knowledge and skills they will need as adults –– and they do. In these societies –– which exist on every inhabited continent –– even very young children are free to choose their own actions, to play, to explore, to participate, to take on meaningful responsibility. “Learning” is not conceived as a special activity at all, but as a natural by-product of being alive in the world.” 2. And this got me thinking about the inception of “The Lost Village” at Matahui School.
We have a bush block which I affectionately refer to as Middle Earth. This is the area where students can go to construct huts. It is a space that encourages feats of engineering that result in creative architecture that rival what you find on Grand Designs. It is a space that the students at Matahui have claimed as their own and over the term, have transformed into the “Lost Village.” Venture over on any given day and you will hear and see the village folk collecting materials, designing and creating products and modifying huts.
The village itself is a hive of industry as it is made up of huts that double as “market stalls” trading in natural materials needed to enhance and develop all the dwellings that have cropped up throughout the bush block. The materials range from finely shredded bark strips that equate to rope or string, dead twigs, sticks, leaves and clay – all of which have defined and specific purposes.
The currency for trading is the Mahoe leaf which the village folk refer to as “skeleton leaves.” They are used to purchase the goods needed to create a variety of artifacts that can be sold in a market stall. There is a bank where a barter system operates. A skeleton leaf can be acquired if you have something “good” to trade like a solid, thick stick or a roll of exquisitely bound bark string.
I want to share with you aspects of a discussion I had with some of the villagers…..
“ Anyone can set up a market stall, but to be good at selling you need good stuff to sell.”
“ The clay mines are where you find two types of clay. The best is the white clay because it is special. It mixes with the other clay to make a good putty that you can use to make things to sell. Emma –Poppy is making a fox. Clare is making a white clay dolphin sceptre and Isabel is making a flower.”
The Lost Village is a world created by children. There is nothing fictitious about it – it is real, and a great study in economic development and growth. It is refreshing to know that our students “are free to choose their own actions, to play, to explore, to participate, to take on meaningful responsibility. “Learning” is not conceived as a special activity at all, but as a natural by-product of being alive in the world.”3.
- “Leading and Learning” Allan Alach (http://leading-learning.blogspot.com/)
- & 3.On the Wildness of Children: The Revolution Will Not Take Place in the Classroom Carol Black April 2016 “Leading and Learning” Allan Alach (http://leading-learning.blogspot.com/)