Imagine for a moment that first day of spring, when you wake up in the morning and the sun is rising in the east, the new green plants and shoots are emerging from the earth. The lovely songbirds have returned from their winter migration and are singing in the bushes outside your house. This is the feeling of the EAST. Starting a new day, new season, or new task, with inspiration and excitement.
We use this concept in the natural learning cycle to inspire our students about whatever topic we may be covering that day, week, or month. An example of this would be demonstrating a skill such as bow drill to get kids excited to work on making their kits later that day. Or telling an inspiring story about a great tracker or personal tracking experience to get them excited to go track wildlife that day.
The East is also a place of welcoming your participants and helping orient them to a particular place. Examples would be showing people where they can set up their tents, get potable water, bathrooms, food storage, and things that would help them feel comfortable and welcomed to have the ability to take care of their needs. As part of welcoming it is important to make people aware of all the hazards. Things like stinging nettle, bee’s nests, off-limit areas, cougars, bears, or whatever your environment has to offer. Once people feel safe and know that their needs are taken care of, it helps them better engage in the activities.
From a facilitation standpoint, the person holding the direction of the east is in charge of welcoming and helping to orient people as they arrive and/or in an introductory group discussion. They also, help to wake people up in the morning, welcome people back from activities, give announcements, and to make sure students have all things they need for the day or the next activity.
We place Common Sense in the East as 1 of the 8 indicators of awareness. Common sense is defined as “good sense and sound judgment in practical matters”. We find that by feeling welcomed into a new place and being aware of the hazards helps you make smart choices about how to take care of your personal needs, help those around you, and what is appropriate behavior for a given situation.
Things we associate with the East are Birth, Sunrise, Spring, Beginnings, Hazards, Welcoming, and Inspiration.
Now that we have Inspired our students, it is time to Orient and Motivate them in the South East.