Tuesday, 22 April 2014


People are drawn towards and are comfortable with stereotypes....it’s safer, we can understand things that we have seen before and we are accepting of them. So pushing out the boundaries and daring to be different can be scary and sometimes too difficult.

Let’s think about it a bit, dragging the meat we killed was difficult, but not impossible... when we finally dared to try round things to roll stuff, it was far easier, and they became known as wheels...and now I need to move stuff, including myself, from place to place I am so glad that we not only discovered wheels – but we accepted them and embraced them.. The unusual became the acceptable.
So when we look at what we have achieved and what we can achieve, it is the scary bits that we often slide away from.

 It’s easier to feed babies in high chairs than at table... http://www.janetlansbury.com/2010/01/baby-table-manners/ but so much more rewarding for them when they can decide for themselves.

 It’s easier to serve children than for them to serve themselves, but they soon learn to take what they need and portion control is self determined (if you are old enough you will remember ‘pig bins’ where schools recycled TONS of food that the children didn’t eat). 
It’s easier for a factory to be a bastion of doing repetitive jobs rather than thinking about them and making them different and better and creating things that really carry through the idea of self managed..
It’s easier to have a run around and wear yourself out soft play centre where there is only one choice – get physical or not...  It is harder to accept that children spend more time socialising and discovering and less time being physical..  It’s the difference between an hour in a stream and a two minute ride in a theme park...
It’s easier for children to queue to wait than to enable children’s choice to lead the way.

And it’s easier for ‘inspectors’,  both formal and informal, to have a set of prescriptive rules which then make inspecting easy and often either incompetent or inappropriate.  Take a school I was at recently where there was an external gate that required parents to come in and out, but led to outside – which the “Safeguarding” team wanted locked off, but the Fire Officer wanted left open....

So a small band of “we” are now creating Fafunia, where we are aiming to make all of these (and many more) descriptive and not prescriptive and geared to self managed learning – for children and bigger people. 
Factories where Alice would love to have a Mad Hatter Meet, child development places that fit to the time and place for and with children and their big people. People with sparkle that create and encourage – us to eat and play and imagine and create and recycle and...... take risks.

A recent example was when a childcare person who was opening a new place for children described what she wanted, then left us alone to create it, in its entirety and with a tiny amount of rules.  The factory in Fafunia went into overdrive and started to imagine and create – taking a lot of the norms and challenging them.  Dangerous and challenging but, as you will see in a while, the outcome was an economic and considered resource for children...
 And while the owner cried – it was tears of joy...

Fafunia is a place and space where we will create and challenge, doubtless there will be some rainy times and some sunny times... but that creates rainbows.

More on the challenges of Fafunia from us soon....

Tom Shea..Fafunian

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