Entry: April Smith

LC17 – Vermont, USA

The world is all about relationship . . . not simply two things next to each other, or one using another for personal gain, but rather real, alive, dynamic, reciprocal exchanging so that both parties or all parties become enriched individually and harmonized collectively.

Varela says, “The bee dreams up the flower, and the flower dreams up the bee; bee and flower are together in a way in which if you take one out, both of them disappear.” This beautiful quote illustrates the relationship, both delicate and profound, between beings in a living system.

Entry: Prarie Boulmier-Darden

LC20 – Algiers, Algeria

Insights into the new sciences and Montessori education have broadened my views regarding education and life. The orientation to ecology and deep ecology sharpened my awareness of environmental and social concerns from many angles.

Schools may look not only toward the new sciences and the work of Montessori, but also the living Earth itself as a primary teacher of the nature of living systems. As educators draw closer to restoring the balance between humans and nature, perhaps we may find a shift in the human perspective on the value of individual life.

Entry: David Evans

LC21 – The Hague, The Netherland

This transformation will move the “mapping” of developmental flow from a hierarchical structure to a more integrative way of representing learning with children, parents, and other practitioners within our entire community.

Entry: Sarah Etherington

LC23 – Thailand and Victoria, Canada

I love the idea of learning communities having the same mapping system as Gaian communities. I love the parallels drawn between chaos points/experimenting and stability point/trust. I see this happening in our learning community here. Posting this response, I greatly rely on the trust that has developed within our community over the past few months. Without it, I would have a difficult time allowing myself to experiment. I would not venture out of my stable safe zone. In each seminar, there is a constant flow between the two points, with our responses acting as feedback loops. As we experiment more and more, our trust develops and we feel safer to dive deeper into experimentation and chaos. I see clearly how our learning community is modeled after a Gaian community.

Entry: Imanthi Nanayakkara

LC24 – Toronto, Canada

The ability to step into a larger picture of seeing humanity in the context of a global system could possibly reveal how hierarchies in the grand scheme of everything are quite honestly irrelevant! The true wisdom that can be gained is when humanity recognizes that unity is integral for the preservation of all life forms including our own.

Our unique ability to think consciously, speak rationally, and imagine beyond what our senses permit is truly nature’s gift that we have been endowed with. Unity and the ability to share knowledge and resources are some of the greatest ways that we can make an impact on one another and simultaneously the earth.

Entry: Shelley Richardson

LC23 – Ontario, Canada

The mainstream school has traditionally been an isolated setting without diverse input from the outside world, further limited by interior feedback loops that repeat standardized curricula that contribute to a static learning atmosphere. In that case, there would seem to be a more limited range of possibilities for creativity and innovation, which aligns with Swimme’s (2011) description of closed, elliptical galaxies, which characteristically lack a creative capacity (p. 23). I am wondering if we can apply this understanding about creativity within closed elliptical galaxies to the flow of creativity within the teaching–learning environment. Perhaps it is possible that the range of creativity in any learning environment is largely determined by the degree to which the school has segregated itself from the diverse web of organic and inorganic life around it? If so, then the degree of segregation determines the access to a fresh infusion of new and diverse thinking that would potentially open the door to collaboration and innovation. In the case of mainstream education, though some efforts are now being made, the dialogue with the local environment and vast web of the cosmos remains, from my perspective, limited.

Entry: Nerys Loveridge

LC17 – Kalba, United Arab Emirates

Integrative learning is about broadening out, about putting learning into its context, the context of the child’s direct and indirect experience. It is about taking each piece of learning, whether taught or discovered, and linking that learning to real life in the student’s immediate day-to-day existence, to their understanding of the wider world and to their understanding of the Universe and spirituality.

Entry: Sujatha Alladi

LC16H – New Jersey, USA

The current system may be changed when educators become aware of their cosmic purpose and realize that what is needed is an integrated understanding of life, on both an individual and collective level. These are educators who have been transformed into catalysts for change. I can positively say that I plan to keep these thoughts in mind, try to become a catalyst myself, and focus on helping the students in my classroom to become better humans. Margaret Wheatley, in her book Leadership and the New Science, said that “an individual without information cannot take responsibility, but an individual who is given information cannot help but take responsibility” (p. 107).

Entry: Lindsay Porter

LC18 MT – New York, USA

Toward an ecocosmological perspective, I think a main point is to radically re-examine our worldviews—of our relationship to the earth, of the composition of our organizations, and of how we view economic activity.

Entry: Jennie Hayward

LC19 – Montana, USA

As human beings and cosmic citizens, we are co-creators of the world within and the world without. This brings responsibility and the need for reflection. Is what I contribute constructive? Consciously choosing how to live in order to be a benign influence asks for a presence of being awake to the needs of all life.

Entry: Mehtap Yavuz

LC23 – Ontario, Canada

If we shrink the Universe, we can see the human being; if we expand the human being, we can see the Universe.

Entry: Marsha Snow Morgan

Faculty (LC1 – Christchurch, New Zealand)

The process of using dynamical systems to model human process traces a long history from the time of Newton and his calculus. One of its names is erodynamics (Abraham, 1994, p. 2). It is used to create human social and cultural forms reflectively and consciously . . . The dynamical systems view that I employ is an adaptation and is no longer a strictly mathematical model. It is a model that jogs our thinking and creates a vocabulary to reflect upon the arrangements that we make with one another. It is a symbol, a tool. We are asked to grok the model rather than analyze it. The process implied by grokking is experienced in the practicum and recorded in that chapter.


Ralph Abraham described it in his book, Chaos, Gaia and Eros. He tells us that erodynamics is a way of seeing life’s inter-relationship. I saw the possibility of opening new perspectives by using the concept of systemic mapping or erodynamics as both my organizing principle for my work and as a model for a learning community.


Referring to her natural mapping:

There remains the challenge of explaining a non-linear model in linear terms. We begin our image with the drama and creativity of real living systems. Looking out to the water in the bay surrounded by high cliffs and gentle hills with the edge of sea meeting land and land meeting sky, we are in the cosmos. Add a birdcall and the green bush and we are in ecos. We are now in the dynamics of the relationship of cosmos to ecos. Translating that experience into a spherical, intersecting mental model produces a reduction in the sensation of being in nature. Placing the mental model onto a flat sheet of paper tidies it further and makes it somewhat sterile. The circles are too perfect and the intersections too clear. It loses the messiness of creation. Still, with the gift of our imagination we can transport ourselves back to the real and see our place in the web of life before us. A reminder of the wonders of being embedded can be had through the symbol of the dynamical systems model.

Entry: Tanya Parish

LC23 – California, USA

Once again I have questions to be answered. What are my relationships? What is my structure? What is my life process? My relationship is with everything, from the landfill to the cosmos. My structure is internal and external, from the knowledge in my cells to the beauty of the Milky Way. My life process is when every action I make in turn affects another—creating an infinite amount of possibilities. With this in mind, I will go forward and flap my wings softly, with the hope creating sustainable schools and communities.

Entry: Shelley Richardson

LC23 – Ontario, Canada

It appears we no longer live in a cosmos comprised of finite parts but are engaged in a dynamic, ongoing process: a cosmogenesis. The implications of such a discovery are far-reaching as we begin to orient ourselves within the largest text without a context—the Universe itself—and find ourselves grappling with the notion that we are cousins to the stars.

Entry: Jason Bowers

LC24 – California, USA

Lauren, your ideas on the improviser have stuck with me today. “An improviser is not playing in a vacuum. Behind the act of improvisation is not only the patterns of one’s own subjectivity, or individuality, but 13 billion years of evolution—it is all encoded within us” (9:78).

This highlights for me all the connections that have occurred previously to allow us to experience today. We are truly shaped and guided by so many current and past variables.

Entry: Imanthi Nanayakkara

LC24 – Toronto, Canada

My journey through TIES has conditioned my overall perspective on life—to always explore and see the impact it can have on a bigger scale! Because of our integrated journey, I now hold a stronger appreciation and regard for the study of the cosmos and the Universe, recognizing that every living being is importantly involved in a delicate web of life.

Entry: Cornelia Holten

LC20 – Christchurch, New Zealand

“Systemic leadership is ethical in that it creates community, encourages autonomy and creativity and ‘intends’ the good in its purposes and practices, and effective in that it fosters ‘emergence’ and organizational renewal.” ( For me, this definition provides many aspects of systemic leadership, which are connected to the TIES studies. The emotionally safe environment is, in my opinion, essential for systemic leadership to happen. Systemic leadership seems to be some kind of empowerment that is important within a community. It brings fresh energy, new order, and encourages creativity.

Entry: Karl Schlobohm

LC23 – South Carolina, USA

Systemic leadership entails recognizing the classroom (or what have you) as a network of resources that are available to everyone in the community; and if utilized in the right ways, an optimal learning environment may be formed.

It involves encouraging instead of forcing, suggesting instead of telling, and showing instead of saying. This creates an environment conducive to learning, where the learners feels safe within their own minds, bodies, and spirits and know that they are free to explore the Universe at their own wills. This is where the notion of “novelty” emerges in education. “Novelty,” in a sense, is the spirit discovering a Universe of possibility and delighting in it.

Entry: Marc Cobb

LC23 – Washington, USA

“Systemic leadership is the facilitation of the emergence of novelty in an emotionally safe environment.”

This statement represents exactly what I believe, and what I strive to offer in my classroom. If students do not feel safe, they will not learn, and they will not grow. Creative thinking and increasing confidence come from inherently knowing and believing that failure is not only ok, but is a sign of growing and learning. I do not want my students to repeat memorized facts and information because they think it is what I want to receive. Instead, my goal is to create an environment that encourages students to understand they are learning and processing information for their benefit. I want them to see me as a guide, not a dictator of information. This is the primary reason I chose Montessori education as my method of teacher training. The skills and techniques gained throughout my studies with TIES have supported, supplemented, and helped me learn new ways to continue with this approach.

Entry: Sarah Everett

LC23 – Vancouver, Canada

I feel the structure of the program and the leadership from the professors in each seminar not only helped me appreciate the material and concepts we were learning and reading about, but also helped guide me toward success and made me feel safe in doing so. They provided a fresh, new environment that at first I was terrified of. However, I quickly came to realize that it was safe for me to be vulnerable with my thoughts, beliefs, passions, and ideas. Moreover, the idea of systemic leadership allowed the relationships to foster and grow in a safe place, allowing me to have a sense of place.

I will forever be grateful for this program. Not only has it taught me a great deal about the Montessori Method and pedagogy, it has also helped me determine who I am as an educator, friend, family member, co-worker, daughter, sister, and who I would like to become as I “grow up.” I feel I have grown over the past 18 months both intellectually and emotionally, ultimately becoming a more confident, strong woman who knows what she is capable of.

Entry: Yolanda Romanelli

LC23 – Texas, USA

Systemic leadership is the facilitation of the emergence of novelty in an emotionally safe environment. It is a type of leadership that encourages leaders to truly care about the health and happiness of those under their jurisdiction, as well as the relationship of the environment to the leader. In systemic leadership, the leader is not trying to control or “make better” those under said leadership; rather, the leader is looking for ways to promote healthy decisions and emotional stability to allow potentials to be realized. In a way, it is similar to owning a fish tank. In systemic leadership, the leader is not concerned with making the fish better or brighter, the leader is concerned with the entire environment surrounding the fish (the water, the pH levels, the nutrients) and making sure it is healthy and viable. In systemic leadership in the classroom, the children’s health and happiness are of the utmost importance, and as systemic leaders, the teachers work on creating an emotionally safe environment to allow the emergence of novelty.

Entry: Nerys Loveridge

LC17 – Kalba, United Arab Emirates

Education, then, can be seen to be very similar in structure to the living systems of Earth, systems nested inside one another and influencing one another. Commonly though, schools are not viewed from a systems perspective but as hierarchies and linear processes.


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