A typical day in the Home Space may look like this:
It is Monday morning. One of the facilitator arrives and checks that the site is safe as it would have been used by other groups for the previous 4 days. Use a checklist including a walk around the venue.
Children start to arrive. Those who arrive first, parents, children and staff, set up for the week. This can include putting out tables and materials, setting up computers, opening the storage shed for outdoor play equipment etc., catching up and refamiliarizing ourselves with the space.
This is also the time to take a register. One option for how to do this is to use a self-registration system as used in Sands. Here each child has their own hand-made ‘key’ which they place on the registration board to indicate that they’re ‘in’. If needed, this can also be used for children to indicate when they are engaged in specific activities on the site.
Sitting Down Meeting: This is the start of the week meeting, chaired by a child, which includes a check in, coordinating group plans such as visits, hostings or buzz activities and sharing individual plans (if children have any, they don’t HAVE to share a plan if they don’t). Plans which are shared are noted on a board which is visible and can be updated during the day/week. This is also the space to discuss issues related to the culture of the space. These can include major and minor discussions.
Example of a major discussion: A child suggests that lunchtimes shouldn’t be scheduled and instead that each child should be able to eat when they want to. The reason for this being that sometimes children are busy playing and don’t want to interrupt their play to each lunch. This suggestion would potentially have a major impact on the culture of the group and the space.
Firstly, the group decides if this is a major or minor discussion. The community also agrees on the voting mechanism. E.g. Does this suggestion require consensus, a 2/3 majority, or a simple majority? Can it be vetoed? Does every member of the community need to be present to vote on this? (Possible tool: Gameshifting board)
If it’s a major discussion, someone makes the proposal during a Monday meeting and puts forth the arguments for it. Anyone opposed to the ‘motion’ can put forth arguments against it.
The community has a week to think about this, to discuss it amongst themselves and to imagine the space with this new rule. It is also a time to talk about this at home with parents.
There is a reminder during the end of the week sitting down meeting meeting about the vote on Monday. During this time, anyone with a strong view for or against can share their perspective. However the motion is not discussed here. During the following Monday sitting down meeting, the children discuss the proposal using a tool such as round-speak. (See list of potential tools, these are suggestions – use of tools can be decided at a later late by the community).
The group votes for or against the new rule. The new rule is put up on the Rule Board with the date in which it was agreed and the core reasons for adopting it. Set a date to review the rule.
*Creating a visible wall of rules including the reasons for adopting them and the dates in which they were adopted is a mechanism which is used to make the implicit culture of the space explicit. It allows members of the community to recall the reasons for adopting specific rules and allows a framework for contesting them in the future if things change or if this is for any reason deemed necessary.
10:30 am – 3 pm (with a lunch break)
This is self-directed time with no pre-planned group activities. The following scenarios are examples of possibilities:
A small group of children decide to spend the whole day building a den in the forest. They return to the clubhouse for lunch where they restock with some tools and discuss their project. Their discussions may result in other children joining them or starting their own dens. One child may decide to do an online search for building roof structures or may ask a staff member for support or ideas. Or they may not seek any outside help at all! The construction continues until the end of the day with very limited time spent indoors. The project may continue for the next few days and could lead to other projects. For example, the children may decide that they require additional materials such as wood and scraps. They decide to suggest a Buzz Activity at the next SUP meeting to find a way to collect materials for den building. Or they decide that they require some power tools to make their den stronger and suggest a Hosting Day to invite a DiY expert to help them learn key skills and use tools for their project. Of course, it is equally possible that they build a den with no help, do not lead any other children to build other dens and do not propose any follow on projects!
A child decides to spend the whole day reading a book, or playing lego or any other semi-solitary activity. S/he stops for lunch and continues in the afternoon. In order to facilitate such flow, the indoor space will be divided into a quiet space and a busy space. The facilitators will be at hand if the child needs anything but would not interfere with the flow if the child is clearly busy.
A child is working on a particular skill of interest. This could be a language, a handicraft, a computer skill. S/he raises this during the sitting down meeting and asks for help from the group. Another child with skills offers support and so does the facilitator. A time is set aside to work in a small group and support the learner. This type of scenario could also be ad-hoc and emerge during the day rather than be raised during the meeting. However, in such a case, one-to-one support may depend on other commitments of children and staff and a suitable time could be scheduled if no free time is available at the moment.
The facilitator decides to spend one hour organising the garage space. She announces this during the sitting down meeting. No one seems interested in helping but as the garage space gets opened up and all the materials are laid out on the patio, 2 children show an interest and start to help by sorting, cleaning and organising the materials and equipment with her. (Or this may not happen and the facilitator does it alone!)
A small group or children flit float between activities. They at first play lego, then they join the garage clear-up for a little while until they get bored. They then hear about the dens and get interested in that and start their own dens. However that project gets side-lined with a game of phantasy and role play until the end of the day.
The end of day routine starts with a 10 minute SUP meeting to share the excitement of what we did today and to all be in one place before clean up time so that everyone chips in. Divisions of tasks for clean up time would be previously agreed. Clean up time should take 10-15 minutes after which children can read or play a game until pick up time.
Pick up time. Children remove their keys from the registration board as they are picked up and hand it to the facilitator as a means of checking out and saying good bye for the day.