I’m Michael Carberry, and I moved to Texas nine years ago. There’s a phrase in the Lone Star state for folks like me: “I wasn’t born here, but I got here as quick as I could!” I should clarify; I live in Austin, the capital of Texas, a southwest hub for music, art and a creative convergence of progressive ideas and social action. It wasn’t until I moved to Texas and taught a middle school social studies class that I really explored Texas history, and I was amazed at the richness that filled the pages of the story of the Lone Star State.

I co founded and direct the Whole Life Learning Center, where we deliver a holistic approach to education. Our curriculum is multi-cultural, integrated and emergent. We also focus on place-based education, believing that a sense of place is essential for our overall development – the more we are connected to our history, our land and our community, the more we are whole. It is with this in mind that we approach the topic of Texas history and explore ways to create an integrated curriculum with that as a cultural hub.

Essentially, my goal at the Whole Life Learning Center is to inspire growth and creativity. We do this by co-creating spaces and cultivating relationships that support just that. We do this by connecting with community from the local to the global. We have mixed age groups (5-7, 7-9, 9-11, 11-13) that work with mentors on projects and studies that explore academics and arts through nature and the cultures of our world. Focusing in on Texas history, we want to understand our roots – the history of this land; the peoples whose sweat, blood and tears have fallen to this soil to enliven it with the culture that flourishes today. In the language of Enki Education, every subject has an essential energy – the heart of the matter at hand. It is crucial to remember this as we enter each class and each activity, so that we can truly pass on this sense of place and nurture the growth and creativity that happens when we tap into our roots.

The next step in unfolding the essential energy of a subject area is the specific activity involved. Here I will outline activities that interrelate, with Texas as a cultural hub, through the subjects of social studies, language arts, math, science, music, art and more. I will also explicate the methods we use to explore these topics, always bringing the essential energy of our creative growth and ever-increasing wholeness into consideration.

What I am describing is the ecosystem of a curriculum – many parts woven into a whole. Enki education has identified nine core threads that are integral to the ecology of education:

● essential energy
● the activity of learning
● unity and diversity
● the integration of body, speech/heart, and mind
● mirroring child development
● rhythms
● environment
● adult models
● teacher health

In Part Two of this post, I’ll explore each of these essential threads as they connect to our ecosystem of learning at the Whole Life Learning Center.