The Now Learnary

Rather than wait for gold to drop from the sky, we have a much simpler form of the Learnary that we can begin to implement without owning a building or paying staff.

It is our belief that young people should be raised in collaborative communities.

Since churches are no longer serving that purpose for many of us, we are setting up a space for this to happen in. Our objective is to raise our own consciousness about real respect, especially respect for young people.

The Riverplace Learnary will eventually be a building where people will flow in and out, using the space as they see fit, changing the contours as they pass through. The space will have a form and basic organization that, flexible though it may be, will boundary the activities for emotional and physical safety.

Through the OPEN SPACE component, people will organize into interest groups through email and gather to engage in activities and classes of their choosing. Anyone who wishes to take advantage of the WHIM component will meet after the activity and discuss the dynamics that they observed or were involved in. They will share their thoughts and experiences to improve their ability to work respectfully in community with others, especially young people.

The main ingredients of a good learning environment are:

-Learner – with self-knowledge about personal learning styles, and an enthusiasm for learning

-Mentors – anyone with knowledge about any given subject, a love of that subject, and the ability and desire to share with others

– Spaces to meet – can be anywhere: at the Riverplace Learnary, in the park, on the internet, in a livingroom, on a boat, in a coffee shop, up a tree…

– Time – any time that suits the co-learners

– Payment – whatever people work out amongst themselves

The unchangeables (corner stones, foundation… core principles that define who we are) are:

-Collaborative – using the idea of brainstorming – putting out all kinds of ideas, refraining from negation, picking up of useful ideas, and crafting solutions that have the backing of the whole group – understanding that all solutions are temporary

-Flexible – no canon of pedagogy

-Non-coercive participation- guilt free

-Agreement to do conflict resolution and not practice hurtful behaviours

-All ages-baby to seniors


-Fluid concept of time

-Fluid concept of places to meet

-Fluid concept of attendance

-Fluid concept of payment…

We do not want to have survival dependent on one funding source, so we want to develop a broad base. We may hire a fundraiser. We want to use innovative approaches that build a secure base over time.

We already have many of the key ingredients: the Open Space at Windsor House; the mentoring institute at Westmoreland House; the community space at Windsor House; and the daycare in the form of a proposal to the School Board.

Westmoreland House Institute of Mentoring (WHIM)

People gather to share their thoughts and experiences to improve their ability to work respectfully in community.

WHIM consists of an email list of people who choose to be involved. There is no leader, and no single person taking responsibility. People will involve themselves as much or as little as they like. Lurkers are welcome.

The only thing we would ask people to pay attention to is the Subject Line in all emails. Be sure the subject line is pertinent to what you are posting, so that all of the recipients can delete the postings that are not of interest at the time.

You may post any activity or event that interests you and might interest the others on the list. The idea is to attend various events, and then meet later to discuss the dynamics of the group you were in. Our objective is to raise our own consciousness about real respect, especially respect for young people.

We ask that groups work collaboratively, but we do not wish to monitor this. Reports from various groups are welcome, but there is no obligation.

Every once and a while, one of us might be moved to call a gathering of all involved in this adventure, to discuss how it is going, but this would have no attendance requirement.

People who would wish to be off the list can simply remove themselves.