THREE SPRINGS Creating a Satisfying Lifestyle

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1 THREE SPRINGS Creating a Satisfying Lifestyle A village of rural renewal that will inherently have meaning and purpose, and will provide children with a safe, stimulating, beautiful environment in which to live and learn. 1

2 Three Springs is a design concept for a living community. Essentially it is a village, containing all the ecological, biological, and sociological elements needed to promote a sustainable, holistic, and quality lifestyle. It is proposed as an inspiring model for the wider community. The nucleus of the village will be a school. The school will provide a genuine heart, where emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, and beauty are prized. It will infuse enthusiasm and purpose into the entire project. The workshops, homes, farms, and businesses; craftspeople, artists, families and individuals will have a direct, practical link to the educational provision. School as Heart 'In an age of secularism I hope with all my heart that, in the new millennium, we will begin to rediscover a sense of the sacred in all that surrounds us, whether in the way we grow our crops or raise our livestock on the land that God has given us, whether in the way we create places for people to live in the countryside we have inherited, whether in the way we treat disease in our fellow human beings or whether in the way we educate or motivate our young people. Prince Charles 2000 The School Within the pattern of homes and buildings, paths and gardens, fields and flowers - at the heart of the community, stands the school. It will focus and inspire the entire Three Springs endeavour. The school will provide for twelve classes and three kindergartens of approximately fifteen children each. It will be a unique educational environment that responds to an ever-present need for an alternative education that will encourage a committed, gradually changing group of parents and other family members into the locality. Learning/Life Interface The wonderful result of designing an ecologically and socially sustainable community is that it is also an excellent context for educational life. Those factors that make the community self- supporting and self-regulating will become living, learning situations for the students. The school will have buildings and beautiful grounds that may be used for community activities such as seasonal festivals and cultural events. It will provide a meeting place for the local and wider community. The elderly will be given their rightful place within the social fabric of the community, both they and the children benefiting from the interchange of wisdom and energy. The school will be a healthy focus for the community as it involves those most precious to us, and also gives the villagers a worthwhile creative task that is constantly evolving. 2

3 Living In And Around The Village People who are attracted towards the village will be fully autonomous. They may choose to buy privately in the surrounding area as properties are offered for sale, or to purchase land from Three Springs. In the latter case, covenants will protect land use and building design so that the ecological and educational ideals are enhanced. No further limitations will be placed on residents. The children will have the opportunity to go to the school, which will involve a walk through orchards and gardens, animals and plants, all thriving in a varied and sustainable environment. Work The adults will have satisfying employment options if they want to work within the village structure. A variety of avenues will be available. The adults will further the wider purpose of the community by welcoming the children from the school into their daily work environments. The curriculum will ensure that this is well managed. Commonality of Purpose In the Village the educational provision will give commonality of purpose to three central aspects of human activity, Commercial, Cultural, and Residential. The Educational Provision: An Early Childhood Centre and Primary School, Years 1 to 7, and secondary school, years 8 to 12 will be the heart of the Village. The purpose, curriculum, architecture and landscape are founded on holistic educational insights that recognise and reflect the unique culture that is childhood. When this culture is respected, children are affirmed. How? Simple observation can identify three major stages within this culture of childhood. The path from birth to adulthood begins with the development of physical competency. This is followed by a period of subjective and enthusiastic interest. Finally, during adolescence a stage of critical, independent thought emerges. Although we understand that these developmental stages are not mutually exclusive, we nevertheless operate three styles in order to support and respect the prevalent trend of development. 3

4 Our entire curriculum is designed to reflect and strengthen the phases implicit within this broad framework. The subject matter and teaching methods are shaped by the observable physical and psychological needs of the students and not by outer dictates - for example economics, or mere linear logic. By building around this foundation, we fulfil the basic purpose of this education - that of producing well-rounded personalities, assured of their self worth, who are eager to learn and take their part in society. We already have a fully developed, comprehensive, detailed curriculum, derived from this picture of child development, which fulfils all the requirements of the national standards of New Zealand and Australia and has received approval from the Educational Review Office and curriculum advisory services in Canberra and New South Wales. Three Styles The three major phases of childhood influence the teaching strategies as follows: Firstly, in the time which is essentially bodily activity, where the infant develops physical dexterity (approximately birth to six years), a major portion of the learning takes place by: copying the activities of adults, engaging in the movement games of early childhood, responding to a rich warm environment, and by playing. Next, in the period of subjective and imaginative interaction, where the child develops emotional diversity (approximately six to thirteen), a major portion of the learning takes place by: developing artistic talents, (especially music, drama, painting, and drawing) working with traditional stories, and by the example of committed, vocationally minded teachers. Thirdly, in the stage of critical thinking, where the young person develops conceptual agility (approximately fourteen to eighteen),a major portion of the learning takes place by: debating the merits of arguments, opposing some defined positions, and by clarifying personal beliefs and opinions. STUDENTS EDUCATED IN THIS WAY ARE LIKE SWIMMERS ENTERING WATER AT THEIR OWN BODY TEMPERATURE. 4

5 Architectural and Environmental Consequences My question is: what does it really take to build up a world in which our houses sustain and enlarge childish, innocent life in us? Christopher Alexander 1994 The design of the entire school environment is guided by the following brief: Three Springs Early Childhood, Primary, and Secondary School sections will provide environments that: A) Nourish the imagination of the child. B) Are secure and child-centred. C) Are healthy and ecologically sustainable. D) Contain technologies that may be understood and used by everyone. This brief will have a number of consequences: The School will be a village in itself, with subdivisions arranged as defined hamlets. A gatehouse serving as administration, reception, and exhibition area will be the boundary between the outer social and inner school village. At the heart of the school will be a community hall and common green, linked by natural footpaths to the different hamlets. Organic gardens and fields will surround the hamlets, which will include natural allweather play areas. Scattered through the landscape will be enigmatic monumental works e.g. standing stones and carved tree stumps. Defined by boundaries and various features, the children will pass from the common areas of the school through a significant gate into the security of their own hamlet. 5

6 The defined hamlets will be: Hamlet One Early Childhood. Hamlet Two Years 1, 2, and 3. Hamlet Three Years 4 and 5. Hamlet Four Years 6 and 7 Hamlet Five Years 8 and 9 Hamlet Six Years 10, 11, and 12 The hamlet gardens will contain planting and wildlife to encourage student involvement. Animal habitats will abound, such as rabbit warrens, dovecotes, and duck shelters. Laced throughout the area will be nooks and crannies, quiet spaces and features for the eye, ear, and heart to play with. There will be a school cottage for each class within the particular hamlets. Students will pass through a small gate to enter the security of their own garden. Each cottage will contain a kitchen, bathroom, two quiet rooms and a main learning area. The cottages, inside and out, will have soft contours, large and small windows, and features for encouraging sunny areas and the play of dappled light. Each school home will blend and move into its garden with gentle building edges, bay windows, built in seats, and varying levels of indoor and outdoor space. Crafted but not over finished features will abound; suitable for a philosophy which values emotional intelligence. All services within the buildings will be sustainable and sensitive to the wider environment. Hot water will be made through solar power and wood burning stoves. Water will be pumped by water rams and windmills to tanks for gravity feeding. Power will be generated by water turbine and photovoltaic cells, and stored in transportable batteries. Food waste and effluent will be composted through a dry toilet system such as a Clivus. Animal waste will be used for methane production. All of these fundamental utilities will be maintained and operated by the older students. 6

7 The Commercial Purpose Three Springs will provide for lease a number of premises, built to accommodate a variety of small businesses and crafts. These will be designed as small village work areas, with a winding road, footpaths, lunch areas and a common green, all placed within the current boundary though separate from the school. A long term plan is to include vacant buildings in the locality, which may act as retail shops and foster links between village and town, and provide the children with the opportunity to spread out into the wider world. The workshops will be open-fronted to encourage open dialogue and activity between the shop and students or visitors. (A successful precedent is the Hoglund Glassblowing Studio in Nelson. Workshop, gallery and café are set in a park like environment that offers visitors a stimulating and complete experience. The buildings will contain sustainable utilities, and the design will flow and change throughout with alcoves, balconies, windows and stairs to different levels. Noise and other polluting factors will be carefully considered. Business or crafts people will receive: A flow of customers and visitors. Cross fertilisation from other workshops. Beautiful, aesthetically pleasing surroundings. A clean, healthy, sustainable environment. A further purpose educating the young. Business or crafts people will provide: Crafted items for the learning environment. Quality and ambience to the larger village. Lease monies to the school body. Learning opportunities for the students. 7

8 Possible ventures might include: Farm Livestock of all types Horticulture and Agriculture (C.S.A.) Small Business or Crafts Bakery Cheese, Butter and Ice Cream Electrical Foundry and Blacksmith Furniture Glass Blowing Jewellery Leather Mechanic Sustainable Power and Eco Equipment Textiles Hospitality Café Accommodation Shopping Health Medical centre Elderly Care Veterinary Advisory Eco Building Eco Power and Systems Education 8

9 The Cultural Purpose Three Springs will provide premises that will be made available to local musicians, artists, movement and drama specialists. The community hall and other areas will be possible venues for performance, exhibitions and adult education. A covenant will unite the use of the facilities with the ethos of the village. In this way Three Springs will ensure the Arts are an integral part of life, and not separate from the daily activities of work and learning. Colour, warmth, and feeling will be added and bring to the whole village a satisfying way of seeing the world. This cultural component is seen as vital for a successful, healthy community, and will lift the tone of the whole venture. Artists, musicians and performers will receive: A creative environment. Customers/audiences. Crafted aesthetic surroundings. Cross fertilisation from other artists. Joining with the further purpose of education Artists, musicians and performers will provide: A rich learning opportunity for students through performance and teaching. Cultural quality and beauty. Possible rental money for facilities. God respects me when I work But He loves me when I sing. Tagore 9

10 The Residential Purpose Three Springs will provide a small number of residential allotments for purchase within the boundaries, and plans to obtain further residential blocks and/or properties in the neighbourhood that may also be sold to families who are attracted to the area. A covenant will unite these residential properties with the ethos of the school. In this way Three Springs will ensure a consistent approach to the close environment, and encouragement towards a larger village style of settlement. In brief, the covenant will ensure that: Appropriate technology is used throughout the homes and buildings: solar heating for water and home comfort, alternative power generation, and ecologically sound effluent disposal. Designs will make use of environmentally friendly materials, local and recycled products, earth or straw based walls, to create healthy, safe, energy efficient homes. Home and garden design is of the sort that encourages imagination and beauty, and a sense of the social working of form and structure within a village setting. (See appendices Christopher Alexander) The structures are supportive of the school village and wider environs. 10

11 Residents of the wider village will receive: Community life. A beautiful environment. Healthy sustainable surroundings. Opportunities to join local work places. A sense of purpose and meaning. Residents of the wider village will provide: Aesthetic ambience through building and landscape. Capital return from properties for the school. Intention. Response ability. Social framework. Legal Structure It is intended to form an Incorporated Society of at least twelve persons, drawn from those who are most interested in the commencement of an alternative independent school. Competent people, who are willing to serve, will be found with wide and varied expertise in management, trusteeship, education, accountancy and legal areas. A management board will be appointed, directly responsible to the Society for the administration of Three Springs, and the conduct of the School in accordance with the relevant Education Acts. The management board will consist of three main facilitators, for the areas of education, business, and environment. Funding Endowments will enable Three Springs to have a healthy, sustainable life for the school, and will allow independent operation from the State. If the school can establish itself in this way, the plan has income generating components that will ensure a sustainable future. It will mean that all school buildings and facilities can be put in place, surrounding land may be protected and held for future use, and the seed for village areas - both commercial and residential - can be initiated. We want to build a community around the school that will support the most fundamental principles of education, and show that a school can be a fulfilling, self regulating body without State intervention; a village of rural renewal that will inherently have meaning and purpose, and provide children with a safe, stimulating, beautiful world. 11

12 Information For questions regarding any aspect of this proposal please do not hesitate to contact: Alan & Ruth Wagstaff 12

13 Appendix A Christopher Alexander We imagine a world in which each part is nurtured, cared for, and integrated harmoniously into nature, and into the threads of human existence. We seek a process which is capable of returning the world to a state, in which people are themselves, can discover themselves, and are truly free in a psychological and emotional sense We need to develop a conception of the world as nature, but yet as a creation of ours an approach where the artifacts of the modern world, roads, bridges, (homes, schools) etc. are united with nature in a new form of humanmade construction where we are once again consciously creating nature. Alexander A New Vision of the World, Christopher Christopher Alexander with colleagues from the Centre for Environmental Structure published three books in 1977 that lay a basis for the rebuilding of our entire human environment: A Pattern Language, The Timeless Way of Building, The Oregon Experiment. They are a new approach to what until now has been unspoken in the world of architecture, building, planning, environmental design and appreciation. The books speak of a language of patterns that have been taken for granted and largely forgotten in our modern world. Patterns that give human beings a sense of who they are, within the spaces that they live. The books are a practical commentary on making large and small environments, from cities to cupboards, that can encourage healthy social living. They give a fundamental picture of where we have come to as human beings, and where we must go in order to continue through the new millenium in conscious appreciation of our surroundings. The books, and further works by Christopher Alexander, will be a great aid in establishing many of the aspects of the village environments educational, commercial, and residential - that Three Springs wishes to initiate. Encompassing social spaces that offer warmth, grace, and beauty. Places that our selves will naturally reflect when given time and gentle nurture. An archetypal core of all possible languages, which can make people feel alive and human. C.A. 13

14 Appendix B Our Part in the Global Village The concepts within Three Springs School allow us to see how a child may be held within many layers of their world. This is of great pedagogical significance, for the further a child enters into the microcosm, the deeper their reverence will become. From that quiet space, aided by the vision of a teacher and a holistic curriculum, they may in turn gaze back into their world. Through successive layers of the years, and in growing complexity and knowledge, they will return in a conscious manner, to become part of the Global Village. CHILD COTTAGE HAMLET SCHOOL VILLAGE COMMUNITY REGIONAL NATIONAL GLOBAL The creation of true community is the first step to world peace. M. Scott Peck 14

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