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Term 2 Program 2017

April 1, 2017

Welcome to Living Learning’s Term 2 Program! We have decided to have an ecology focus this term so for all those families interested in exploring ecology, we have a range of workshops calling out to you.  We are hoping to be able to make a donation on behalf of the Living Learning community to an amazing organisation that supports the healthy ecology of our planet. We’d love to hear suggestions.

All workshops will be held at Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre (MMNC) on Tuesdays from 10:30-11:30am (other than the Ecology workshops with Grant Rider and the Planetarium incursion in week 9). MMNC is a nut free venue.  All homeschooling families are welcome to meet for lunch afterwards, whether or not you are attending the workshops.  Living Learning activities are Home Education Association Inc. (HEA) Events.

Living Learning programs are pitched at a 5 and up age group as a loose guideline. We are aiming to move away from age based activities and have a focus on skills required for each workshop.

Our community has grown substantially and often we end up with families on waiting lists. We’d love to have workshops full of children who are really interested in the specific workshop.  Thanks for your consideration in only booking your children in if they are keen. This helps the workshops to be more fun and engaging for everyone.

Please note it is an insurance requirement from HEA that parents are at the venue or provide written notice of their absence to the event organiser and have a designated “supervising carer” present for their children. When you are the “supervising carer” for another parent, please ensure you include the names of the children who are in your care when you sign the HEA sign on sheet.

At the end of the program, you will find a link to the booking sheet for Term 2 2017

Our workshops most often book out, so book in as soon as you can!

2nd,9th May – Mother Earth, what does she look like and where does the word ‘Gaia’ come from? with Rachel

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Through this two week series of workshops, we will explore the way the earth has been depicted as a goddess, a mother, a living being. We will have a chat about some of the ways people have perceived the earth throughout time. We’ll have a look at the ways various artists have drawn inspiration from this theme AND we will get our artist hats on and create our own works of art.

Participants will ideally be ready to work collaboratively with others, be able to discuss some of their thoughts and be able to use art equipment. Younger artists would gain the most enjoyment from these workshops with some support from a parent or older sibling. Please remember to wear clothing that isn’t too special- you might get a bit messy.

Cost $30 HEA members/$34 non-members for the two week series.

Midday 9th May- Open Planning Meeting

All homeschooling families are welcome to come and provide feedback on Living Learning and throw around any ideas you might have for future terms. These meetings usually occur in the courtyard of the Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre. If it’s raining, you’ll probably find us in the Joy Anderson room or squashed under a veranda.


16th,23rd May- Council of all Beings with Kaya and Julie


This workshop includes learnings in ecology (actually deep ecology- a philosophy which regards human life as just one of many equal components of a global ecosystem), creative arts (making masks representing different aspects of the ecosystem), imagination, empathy and group process and community development.  It supports the children to experience the interconnectedness of the natural world, and to imagine what it is like to be something other than human. Through a series of fun and insightful processes and activities, the children will have the opportunity to connect with and speak on behalf of other life forms (plants, animals, fungi etc) and natural processes and forms (wind, ocean, rain, river, mountain, sandstone etc)- enabling them to see the actions of humans from the perspective of a voiceless inhabitant of the natural world.

Kaya’s experience with Councils of all Beings.
I first took part in councils of all beings when I was a young child and I remember playing fun games about the interconnection of life around us and then going for walks to find our being that we will represent. Every time I’ve been in a council of all beings, my being made itself known to me in some way (I would notice it around me in particular or it would come to me and speak in imagination strongly). Once I remember being a wallaby and once I remember being a mountain. Once I remember being a particular paperbark tree that grew in an estuary with salt water constantly running over its trunk.

I have also since been in councils of all beings as an adult and every time (no matter my age), it was incredibly an insightful, moving and beautiful experience- to step out of my humanness at least a little, and imagine what it would be like to be another being- to speak as and for another aspect of this web of life we are so so so inextricably a part of.

Each council of all beings I have been in has been wonderfully different and unique although the similar threads through all of them has been
1) Finding a being (your being can be an organism- animal, plant, fungi, bacteria, it can also be an aspect of land- rock, mountain, cave, soil, glaciers, it can be a weather pattern or force of nature- rain, river, cloud, ocean, thunder).
2) Creating a mask (and costume if you choose) to help you embody and become your being.
3) Sitting in council AS your being- as a spokesperson to all of us humans, sharing what your being needs and requests from humans- in order for us to live more harmoniously, consciously and sustainably with all beings in this web of life on earth.

The council of all beings helped me to have such a deeper, richer awareness of the interconnection of life and my passion to contribute to all of its thriving and I’d love to share that with you too 🙂

Cost: $20 for HEA members/$23 for non-members for the two week series.  For these workshops parents are invited to join in too if you would like to, free of charge.


30th May, 6th June- Connecting kids with creeks and catchments

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‘Connecting kids with creeks and catchments’ is part of Blue Mountains City Council’s environmental education program for schools and early years learning centres.

Our aspirations:
*Healthy children and young people
*Children and young people who connect regularly to the
natural world, are healthier and happier.
*Every child and young person connects regularly with
*Healthy waterways
*People who connect with nature as children become
more environmentally responsible adults.
*Every child and young person learns about, cares about
and is respectful of the natural areas in their back yards.
*Every child and young person develops water literacy and
takes action to protect waterways.

The program
our intent is to design the program with you, to meet your needs and to use your backyards and bushland corridors as the ‘third teacher’.

This first collaboration between Living Learning and BMCC Environmental Education will be based at the Mid Mountains Community Centre and cover the following topics:

Day 1: Tuesday 30 May

Demonstrate interactive Storm water / Catchment Model, look at catchments maps and the storm water story

Make model catchments with whatever the kids can find, do a hunt for good catchment features around the centre.

Day 2: Tuesday 6 June

Looking at weeds and storm water – what we can all do to protect our bushland in urban areas

Go for a walk – do drain spotting and a catchment crawl

Cost $16 HEA members/$18 non-members for the two week series.


13th June- Clean Up Australia

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Are you the type of person that wants to make a difference to the environment in our local community? Are you totally over seeing rubbish in our streets, parks, waterways and bushland? Then join us in our own ‘Clean Up Australia Everyday’ registered event. Be the solution to the problem.

Participants will be provided with rubbish collecting equipment issued by Clean Up Australia. We will focus on cleaning paper and plastic from the area around the Mid Mountains Community Centre and surrounds. Parents will need to accompany their own child(ren) to ensure safety please.

Cost: FREE

20th June- Weaving and Aboriginal Story Telling with Elly Chatfield

Come along and do some weaving with Elly and hear some of her stories.

My name is Elly Chatfield. I am a Gamillaroi Woman from North West New South Wales, a Mother and a Grand Mother. I am a member of the Stolen Generations and have been on a journey of reconnecting with my family. I am an artist, who enjoys all art forms including weaving. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and inspiration that can be found across the Mountain.

Cost- $15 HEA members/$17 non-members

N.B. Participants please bring along items you have collected that could be woven into your work so that you can create a personalised piece.

27th June- Planetarium

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Come and join us for an incursion with Starr’s mobile Planetarium.

“Travel through the universe with our awe-inspiring Earth and Space science experience…

Our planetarium will engage, amaze and inspire as we take you on a Space adventure. Discover the Solar System, Planets, Stars, Lunar Cycles, Seasons, Constellations and much more.

Be immersed in a stunning 360 degree movie. Take a trip through the Solar System and onwards to the very edge of our Galaxy and then come back down to Earth to find out what’s in the sky tonight.”

There will be 3 sessions:

10.30 – suitable for approx. Early – middle primary

11.30 – suitable for approx. Early – middle primary

12.30 – suitable for approx. upper primary – high school

This incursion involves entering and lying down in a large dome. As space is limited in the dome everyone wishing to enter the dome, including parents and siblings, will need to book.

More information and resources and activities to support the incursion can be found at

Cost- $15 HEA Members/$18 non-members


Thursday 29th June- Creative and Performing Arts Night

It’s been a few years since we’ve celebrated the creative skills of our children so this term we are having an evening in Wentworth Falls where children can perform and exhibit works for their homeschooling friends and families to enjoy.

Keep your eye out for more details as June approaches. Those keen to be involved, it’s time to start warming up your voices, polishing your tap shoes and dusting off the picture frames.

Booking Form

Here is the booking form for the workshops above:


Extra Ecology Excursions! with Grant Rider- Ecologist and Educator

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PLEASE NOTE: Bookings for these excursions are separate to bookings for the rest of the Living Learning Program.  Please email Julie at to secure your place and receive a booking form.

Monday 8th May – 7-9 year old Excursion Day.

Monday 15th May – 10-14 year old Excursion Day.

To supplement our Environmental Focus at Living Learning this term, Julie is coordinating Ecology Excursions with Grant Rider, Ecologist and Educator. Grant is offering two excursion days, one for 7-9 year olds and one for 10-14 year olds (these age groups are requested by the facilitator and can be used as a rough guide).  Both days will have the same topics and structure. Each day will consist of two workshops.  It is recommended to book into both (doing workshop 1 before doing workshop 2 is especially recommended) but not essential.  Numbers are very limited so book in quick if you are keen.

Excursion Day Program:
10:30am-12:30 Workshop 1: Basic ecology. We will look at what makes up an ecosystem. Living and non-living components and the relationship between them. Food chains/food webs. We look at 2-3 different ecosystems and try to understand plant and animal adaptations and why things grow where they grow.
1:30pm – 3:00 Workshop 2 Aquatic Biodiversity: We go to the local dam and learn about the aquatic, mainly invertebrate life in the dam. We speculate about water quality and what ecological health actually means. We catch an array of aquatic bugs and through their identification from charts which also lists their various sensitivities to pollution we can make some conclusions about water quality and the health of an ecosystem. We also measure some other basic parameters such as temperature, PH..(acidity/akalinity) and Turbidity (how muddy the water is).

Cost: Each individual excursion will cost $15 (or $28 for the whole day).  For non-HEA members this is $17 (or $30 for the whole day).

Accessibility: Grant will provide the details of the locations to those who are attending, families will need a car, but if needed we can organise car-pooling.

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