An Amazing First Week of School at Journey Academy

Week 1: August 21 – 25, 2017

Tribe Building Quest

From their very first day at Journey Academy, our Early Learners have really taken to heart all their promises to go on a hero’s journey, believing that God has made each of them a hero, equipped with unique gifts and talents. Just ask them to do their “Hero Stance” and you will be convinced!

It was truly inspiring to hear the heroes remind each other about the Hero’s Journey: to hear God’s calling, accept the challenge, face your fears, and collect your treasure. One of the heroes even reminded Ms. Elsie to “Face your fears” (even though Ms. Elsie was just pretending to be afraid while reading “Choose your own adventures” book).

Our Early Learners have impressively grasped our Journey Academy processes, abiding by their promises from our Hero’s contract, using strategies to build the Friendship Bridge to resolve conflict, and their resolve to have a growth mindset with a focus on learning from our mistakes, which they adamantly insisted as we tried different combinations of fruits to make our frozen yogurt! The heroes remind each other to be respectful during group discussions, to help others at the end of the day for our studio maintenance, and to have good manners throughout the day.

Our heroes were eager to explore their studio and were very engaged in their learning environment. What a joy to witness our Early Learners intrinsically motivated to learn and to see them reading, writing, and doing math work not for tests or grades, but just for the fun of it!


The heroes were equipped with independence and confidence to work as a team. They knew exactly what they needed to build their boats and forts. Although all they were presented were just cardboard boxes and some tape, they were able to design boats that have doors and windows, motors and engines, and room to fit their friends. And when given the task to build forts as a team, all they asked for were some blankets, then they immediately just got to work, moving tables and chairs around, adding bean bags and pillows, and even using cardboard boxes to make their forts with friends (and many stuffed animal friends as well). They enjoyed the freedom to be able to use anything and everything in their studio to succeed in their endeavor. Again, it was inspiring to share this experience with our heroes as they demonstrated determination and perseverance to accomplish their tasks without any need for extrinsic motivation.


The bond created between our two studios during our nature walk, scavenger hunt, and reading buddies time was truly invaluable during this first week of school. Our young heroes really look up to the Elementary and Middle School heroes, who model leadership and compassion for them.

Just imagine what lies ahead this school year for our heroes, if they are able to accomplish so much in their learning experiences just in their first week in Journey Academy!

Welcome Back!!

Welcome back! I was so excited to see our heroes enter Journey Academy Monday, and to kick off a fresh year! While part of me was encouraged to see the joy in our heroes from last year, another part of me was both anxious and enthusiastic about our growth. Our new EMS (elementary/middle school studio) has grown from 9 to 14, and with that comes the challenge of creating a new culture-one where old friendships are strengthened and new ones blossom.
So far, our heroes have been doing an incredible job welcoming new friends, working together, and re-creating old processes that help govern the studio. This week, they completed several team building challenges (such as creating a Journey Academy secret handshake and making homemade ice cream..yum!), began designing a new Hero’s Contract (to uphold the culture they want to create), Selected the rules they wanted to uphold during discussions, and taught new heroes how to resolve conflict as it arises throughout the year.
In addition to all of this, our heroes also began holding their first discussions. Some of the discussions this week included:
  • What is 1 interesting fact you would like your studio mates to know about you? What is your favorite season, and what would you do if you had 30 minutes of time to participate in ANY activity in the world?
  • If you had a super power, what would it be and why?
  • Can a non believer produce the fruits of the spirit? Can ta non believer produce lasting fruit?
  • What do you expect from your studio mates this year? What promises would you like to make to one another as the year begins?
One of our discussions this afternoon dealt with authority. Our heroes were asked, “What makes an authority? Is it a person’s position in life? Is it power? Or is it a person’s behavior?” I was amazed by some of their responses, including these:
Hero 1: “Well, I don’t have much of a position in life, but I think I carry some authority because my little brother really looks up to me.”
Hero 2: “I disagree with you. I think your position within your family is VERY important because you set an example for your brother.”
These discussion comments bring me great joy because through them, our heroes are reflecting that they have purpose, and that God is working in their lives…And that is what Journey Academy is all about!