Learning Wellness Program
This program is designed to foster community wellness for young self-directed learners. We focus on relationships and wellbeing in this virtual, non-academic, 30 week program. Social, emotional, and cultural wellness are priorities in our learning. We will think about building self esteem, growing friendships, practicing gratitude and ways we contribute in our communities.
Learners join a cohort of 6 people, who meet each week in an interactive virtual classroom. All the best parts of school get mixed into our group sessions. We play games, make friends, work together, share our favourite things and get a sense of who we are in the world. This is a great program to compliment enrollment in your distance learning (DL) school of choice.
Skills in Practice
The meetings are facilitated in a relaxed and cooperative style. Learners are offered help with managing their own meetings. Each week, we discuss how we would like to spend our time. Each participant manages their own audio and video with support from the facilitator. Learners gain not only virtual conference skills, but also build their presentation experience, listening skills, and ability to cooperate with their peers. Many learners become friends and continue to meet outside of the group.
Because this is a virtual group, it is made up of kids from all around the world. Joining a learning cohort is a bit like having 5 penpals. It becomes second nature to learn about other places when making friends with people who live far away. Learn about other cultures and share about yours.
We also build community by working on a collaborative project. All learners in the program help to publish our Virtual School Paper on virtualschoolpaper.com
Our website is dedicated to centering young people. It provides amplification for the work and ideas created by kids and teens. Contributors get real life feedback (site analytics) about who in the world is seeing their posts. We work using WordPress. Each learner has the option to request an invitation, create an account and draft their own posts. Learners typically post under anonymous names, but some take full credit for their work!
Over December break you’ll receive your first wellness learning report. Each learner’s strengths and contributions will be documented by the group facilitator. Reports may include links to their work on virtualschoolpaper.com as well as a short assessment of their social, emotional and cultural wellness as demonstrated in the meetings. Suggestions for improving their experience may be given.
The second wellness learning report will be done between weeks 26 and 30. The second report is very similar to the first, with the addition of measuring growth during the school year. The learners’ progress is compared to their December report.
These reports can supplement school reporting requirements. This is helpful for parents who write their child’s reports and want additional opinions. Reports are strength based, meaning they highlight and work with the learner’s interests and strengths.
How does it work?
Enrollment opens between April 1st and Aug 31st each year. Ages 5 to 10 have two, 30 min meetings per week from October to May for 30 weeks. When developmentally appropriate, some groups (ages 10+) meet for 60 mins, once per week. During December we have a 2 week winter break. Learners book online and are emailed links to the live meetings. We meet using Zoom.
Who is it for?
Groups are available for learners ages 5 to 17. Groups are organized by age and based on enrollment. Cohort examples are: ages 5 to 7, 8 to 10, 11 to 13, 14 to 17.
Distance learners and homeschoolers are the typical enrollees, but some learners also attend after school depending on the time zone in which they live. This program is approved for funding with the BC distance learning school, SelfDesign.
We do a sliding scale payment system to promote accessibility and diversity. If you’re DL funded, we charge your school full price. This helps open up low cost seats for international learners who pay out of pocket and learners who may not otherwise be able to attend.
Sliding scale $360-$600 CAD per child per year. Learn more about scholarships here.
Who is the facilitator?
Carly Filewich facilitates all the live meetings hosted on Dead Marker Alchemist. Carly is a learner who is dedicated to exploring and creating. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria, and is a certified early childhood educator who lives in BC, Canada. She's worked in both school and early years settings and now has a keen interest in developing online communities. Her aim in hosting live groups is to dedicate a space for dynamic, relationship based learning. Follow Dead Marker Alchemist on Instagram to see what Carly and her family are up to.
What is required to join?
An email address that you check regularly.
Stable internet connection.
Microphone and camera (the ones in your device/tablet/phone/computer are fine).
Learn more about live virtual meetings using Zoom here.
Read our Virtual School Paper on virtualschoolpaper.com
2021-22 Registration Now Open! Book Now.
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Do you think school might be impacting your child's wellbeing? Here are a few of my favorite free resources that focus on unschooling and deschooling. Getting perspectives from experience unschooling families is an important step in letting go of your fears, and learning to trust your children's natural learning abilities.
John Holt https://www.johnholtgws.com/
Akilah S. Richards https://raisingfreepeople.com/
Pam Laricchia https://livingjoyfully.ca/
Hope Johnson https://hopejohnson.org/
Rachel Rainbolt https://rachelrainbolt.com/