Held by nature, the SI’s location within the Lynedoch EcoVillage creates space for contextual learning. A village, made up of the simple everyday life of infants, school children, university students and a working community, form the textured patterns in which the flows of learning are held. Sixty-million-year-old mountains set the backdrop to our indigenous gardens, giant Ficus trees, organic vegetable garden.
Possibilities happen through the openness of individuals to what’s different – to ‘the other’. This is supported and encouraged through seeing ourselves as co-inhabitants of the world, questioning deeply what it means to be human and seeking solutions through wonder, mystery, intuition and solid knowledge. Active involvement means that learners move from passive recipients of knowledge to deeply engaging with intellectual, spiritual, physical and social possibilities to find answers to complex solutions.
Embedded in nature
Nature-based learning is learning from within nature, where we are nature. Connections with all that is other-than-human creates opportunities for poetry, metaphor, ways of being and knowing that are beyond words. Ecological intelligence is a gift. Like foresight intelligence, our ability to be in the moment and learn from all life with humility and humour offers a connectedness that is both clear and enriching.
In our post-colonial and post-apartheid explorations means questioning continuously the traps of modern consumerism, isolation, dis-connect and destructive competition. We ‘reach for what is reaching for us’ in the quest for change in ourselves and the worlds we create. Becoming indigenous in the 21st century is honouring and acknowledging fully our African heritages with all their complexities, and interrogating without fear the possibilities of different and more just futures.
Of mind, body and soul
In a world of senses, cellular memories and connections form a strand in learning that is often overlooked. All courses at the SI start with morning breathing, reading and a circle that reminds us we are whole. Working in the garden, cooking and cleaning are ways of making real the sustainability pathways being explored. Connecting head, heart and hands is a familiar pattern that integrates rather than separates.
Radical upheavals (from the Latin ‘radix’ meaning ‘roots’) are not always comfortable, nor comforting. Co-creating a learning path, forging futures that engage the present and past often means deep listening, re-learning, opening vulnerability and being guided by ways of knowing that are not always explicit, nor obvious. Embedded in a community of people that live, work and learn in Lynedoch, students are held by a collective that is transforming the way we think about and engage with the world.