November 2011


EATING FLOWERS  A nature cookbook by Lucia Stuart  
This is a foraging cook book to inspire adults and children to enjoy nature and its properties. Colour photographs and vibrant drawings show how to find and identify the plants throughout the year and cook them in simple and delicious recipes.
As a professional cook, artist and nature lover I wanted to combine my skills to encourage us to understand and interact with nature’s bounty.
To name something is to love something and if it is of practical use to us, we will love it even more.
I have chosen both wild and garden plants and have noted their boundless culinary and medicinal properties. For example the dandelion is a veritable cocktail of goodness for human organisms and nettles are bursting with iron and vitamins.
Sales:
Since its publication in November 2010, Eating Flowers has proven to be popular because it is an unusual book of high quality and created from first hand experience. It has been written, designed, researched, tested and drawn entirely by myself; hence the competitive pricing at £8.00  I am an experienced forager and have been a professional chef for 20 years. I can vouch for the contents 100%.

 

                                                                                                                        Order the Book via:  My website: eatingflowers.com.   or ISBN 978-0-9570974-0-7                  
                                                                                                                                                             It is also available via selected stockists.  RRP £ 10.00                              
                                                                                                                                                             Lucia Stuart -    Tel: 07810 317 866             

A letter from me and a note from the school.

7th November 2011

Dear Miss xxxx (the teacher) and xxxx (the teaching assistant)

 I’m writing because I wanted to share with you some of the reasons why we are arriving late and to communicate what we are doing about this.

 Zeca is insisting that he doesn’t want to come to school in the morning although I’m pretty sure he enjoys it when he gets there. I try to think of fun things to do on the way in and all the things he’s going to do when he gets there. He tends to like doing things in his own time and can be very stubborn, especially with me.

 I respect his own time and am learning how to not rush him in the mornings. He’s impossible to rush anyway. Somehow we get to a point where he’s dressed and ready to come to school but it takes an enormous effort and a slow pace.  This is a challenge for me as I was brought up to be on time and I really hate being late and I really hate Zeca being late. However, it feels more important that we actually arrive and that we arrive with our relationship and our connection intact, rather than stressed out and with Zeca having been forced to come in tears.

 I’m a bit stumped as to how to proceed with this. As we spoke at Zeca’s assessment the other afternoon, I think Zeca does find it bewildering when he’s late and all the activities have started.But he doesn’t seem to have translated this into an understanding that if he listened to me encouraging him to be on time, he could avoid this.  Maybe this understanding is coming and I just need to persevere a bit.

 I hope this is useful for you and that you can find some way to encourage Zeca to be on time during the day that might make the difference to him.

 Thanks for your help and apologies for Zeca’s lateness so far

Regards

  Ceri Buckmaster

And this was the note I got from the school on 16th November 2011

 “Your child has arrived late for school 8 times since September. Please make sure that he is in the playground by 8.55am to avoid education welfare involvement.”

And a spreadsheet of his lateness for the term so far. / / / for attendance and arriving on time. L L L for attendance and lateness.

It would be really lovely to talk to someone. It would be GREAT to talk to someone so you don’t need to use that as a threat. I would love to sit down and tell you the strategies I’m using to get Zeca to school on time, how well I’m doing, how connected I feel to Zeca as the thing that seems to be working is if we have some really good play time in the morning and if I get him ready at 8am rather than 8.20 or 8.30am. I’d love to tell you all of this.

I’m glad I’m not the sort of person who would find your note rude, cold and unsupportive. You’re only doing what your computer program tells you what to do, I’m the sort of person who can understand that it’s not your fault.

Can I suggest that you do get in touch with parents who come late to school with their children, because there obviously is something going on that you might find interesting to hear about? Can I suggest that you listen to what’s going on for the family before you repeat the idea that we have to be on time because they will already know that. But you probably do not know what’s going on for the family.

I know you want to be supportive.

//// LLLL //// ////OOOO////  ////VVVV//// ////EEEE////

I’m furious.

“I don’t want to go to school”.

Why the fuck can’t he cooperate. I’m sure there are loads of children out there who, when a parent says, “Let’s go now”, they say, “OK Mummy” and skip along.

I’m not listening to him today. I’m furious

I’ve gone out the front door with all bags and clothes to put on him. He hasn’t even got his socks on yet. I shut the door thinking he may come running if he hears the door shutting behind me. Not a chance. He’s gone up to his bedroom to start playing the recorder. I can’t sit it out downstairs. I’m too furious.

I’m furious when I go up to see him and he’s playing the recorder.

“Go away”.

I’m not listening to him. My fury is too strong. I do everything for him. This morning we watched some episodes of Mister Maker on the iplayer and then we made an alien out of a plastic spoon with pipe cleaners for arms and plasticine for feet. We even painted it green. I remember making and doing lots of things before school in the late 70s and 80s; reading, knitting, sewing. It was therapeutic me time before going to the place where I had to go. I can’t remember ever resisting school, even when I hated it. At first it was a place to make things and be active and that suited me well. Later on, the pressures that crushed my desire out of the balance drove me to timidity and depression.

But now, fury. I’m not listening to him. I tell him. I demand. I point my finger. I poke it and waggle it. “I’ll be waiting downstairs to go”.

I go down, grab my book to write and sink into myself again so I write and release the fury onto the page.

I hear him playing with the blinds upstairs. Now, he’s coming down. What’s he going to say?

I’m sitting on the stairs. He taps me hard twice on the back. And again.

I turn round. I tickle his feet.

“Shall we go now?” I rephrase this, “Zec, are you ready to go to school?”

Still, “No”.

“Zec, I have to go to work”

“I want to come with you. I don’t want to go to school.”

“You can’t. I’m going out. I’m not going to be here”

Where are you going?”

“To Brixton”

“Are there computers there?”

“No, I’m going to talk to someone.”

“I want to come with you.”

“You can’t. This is work I have to do on my own.”

Fury again. “I’m going outside to wait for you. I go out the front. His trousers and school top are outside. His bag, my bag. I don’t feel at all calm. I’m fuming. I can’t get into the spirit I invoked in recent writing and don’t even try, but I’m aware how different I feel now. I feel really unconnected to Zeca. I’m angry, I need his cooperation. I’m bored with his resistance. How can I approach this in a different way? Is he not feeling listened to? I haven’t done much listening today. I don’t feel connected to him today. I’m annoyed.

But I didn’t lose my temper with him. I was short, grouchy, clearly pissed off, but I didn’t lose it with him.

I seem to have accepted that this is the battle I have with Zeca, or rather that this is a battle he is waging with the world and with me, as its apologist.

‘Why do I have to go to school every day?’

Monday to Friday 9am to 3.15pm.

Grey trousers, blue top, grey jumper.

He didn’t want to go to school. And I didn’t make him. Why is getting to school on time more important than me listening to him when he says No!

I listened to him.

It wasn’t easy listening to him because I’ve got a sick lurch in my stomach of the panic arising in me.

And all the shit I’ve been clobbered with about getting to places on time.

It’s deep, deep fear about being late and when Zeca invokes the power of the 4 year old and SLAMS down his foot on my fear and squelches it into the ground. No! Your fear is meaningless. These laws are validated by absolutely nothing. I don’t want to go to school. School doesn’t exist. No!

This is after numerous attempts to start from scratch, trying to find a game to play on the way to school, trying to make him fall for going to school while thinking of something else.

“I know! Let’s take your batman mask and show it to everyone at school.”

“No.”

“Do you want to see what I’ve got in my bag. Here. Close your eyes. I’ll put it in your hand. He opens his eyes to stickers that he’s already been given and that were in my bag for safe keeping. He knows he’s seen them before. I commit to my material.

“I know! Let’s find places to stick them on the way to school, signs posts, cars. No not cars. I know where I’ll put a sticker. On the Flodden Road sign.”

“Where is the Flodden Road sign?”

“It’s on the other side of the road. I don’t think you’ve seen it before. Let’s go and put a sticker there!”

“I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay at home today.”

“Ok, well I’m going to do something else.”

I washed up. I went out the front to write. People passed by on the way back from dropping their kids off at school. I dropped into myself again, writing and stopped caring about being on time. The pumpkin outside was going all soggy and tiny black flies were tucking into its flesh. The coffee grounds all around the plants in containers were going mouldy. Russet leaves were piling up in corners. It wasn’t cold.

“Mum!”

I went inside.

“I found some toys inside your bag.”

The contents of my bag were scattered all over the table and he’d found a little train and some plastic insects.

“Oh thanks you’re giving my bag a sort out.”

He was stretching an elastic ghost between two slats of the chair.

“Look! A bridge!”

I tidied up a bit.

“Are you ready to go to school now Zeca?”

“OK.”

We got dressed. I dallied a while to clean his teeth, we were late anyway, he might as well have clean teeth. He raced outside, popping with excited giggles as his new proper school trousers – the ones he refuses point blank to wear, the ones he shrieks in horror at,  that I’d managed today to sneak onto him without him realising – were falling down to his ankles. I pulled them up. They fell down again. Little bare boy legs and orange and blue stripey pants.  An old lady walked past.

“Oh come inside Zeca. We need to put your old trousers on again.”

Zeca’s late today because it’s more important to me to listen to him and if the head teacher has a problem with that and wants to tell me how it is compulsory to be on time, I’ll say I don’t care about mindless rules that drive people apart from their children. The most important thing is that Zeca comes to school and more importantly, he comes because he wants to.

This is a parent’s struggle and as from Tuesday this week, it’s a single parent’s struggle.

The most important thing is that we arrive with our connection intact.

A short history of Childspace

 

In April 1990 Marcus Grant and Vicky Meadows and four other families established the co-operative nursery “Childspace”. They wondered if they could find a better way to provide friendly, nurturing and affordable childcare than was on offer locally.
18 years later, Childspace is thriving. From small beginnings based in the homes of each family, spending a period in Lambeth one o’clock clubs in the morning while looking for permanent premises, it has grown into a community of 12 families employing a registered nursery worker and a part-time worker.

 

Although the parents who run Childspace change over time, the general set up of the organization is still the same as 18 years ago. Given the different economic challenges and changes of society, it has proven itself as a successful nursery model for families in Lambeth. Current parents, together with the nursery manager, explain to new parents how to work with their own as well as other children. They also give the framework and direction as to how to run the co-operative in general. Thereby the organizational model has been passed on “from generation to generation”. Everything works without any external support.

As co-operative we make decisions about running the nursery as a group and are closely involved in the care of our children. Parents support the nursery worker in running the sessions, take on a variety of jobs and are involved in every aspect of running a nursery.

We run small intimate sessions – there are just 7 children attending a session – for 14-months – 3 year-olds from 9am – 2pm on three days a week. Children stay at Childspace for up to 18 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The aims of Childspace:

 

-To provide affordable high quality childcare within Lambeth

-To follow the principles of a co-operative in the running of Childspace.

-To encourage collaborative and cohesive, sustainable communities.

-To bring together local families with different cultural, religious, social and financial backgrounds

-To be a place where children, parents and employees can grow and develop new skills

 

 

More details about Childspace

 

High quality childcare

Childspace offers affordable and high quality nursery service. It is the parental support that allows to balance good care with affordable costs. The financial background of our members is from low to middle income households.

 

Co-operative setup

As a non-profit organization Childspace is run on a co-operative basis by a collective of parents, together with the nursery manager. Neither parents nor manager has total control and a good working environment is achieved by a delicate balance of interconnecting roles facilitated by open communication.

 

Cohesive, sustainable communities

Lambeth is home for 130 languages and a “melting-pot” for ethnic minorities which represent 38% of Lambeth’s residents. Currently our members are English, American, German, Italian, Brazilian, Japanese, Caucasian, Pakistani.

 

Culturally sensitive provision

Childspace is a multi cultural setting, dealing with the specific needs of the children. We are providing vegetarian food or other diet requirements as e.g. halal, sugar- or diary-free meals.
Explaining and celebrating religious festivities, like Hannukah and Divali are part of our self-understanding to respect different cultures and religions. It is also to give our children an experience of our global community.

 

a place where parents can grow …

The setup of our social enterprise allows all parents to participate in running the co-operative. There is a minimum of mandatory work contribution in the daily sessions every other month. All parents are sharing the same rights and duties. They work together as a team, sharing the ideas of our constitution and creating a place for our children. Additional every member has a defined duty (e.g. health & safety, marketing, finance).

 

We don’t need professional management – we are the management”

Management roles carried out by parents are:

Employee coordinator – who supports nursery worker

Parent coordinator – who supports parents in their various roles

Finance 1 – who deals with bills

Finance 2 – who does payroll

Secretary – who deals with admin

Rota – who works out rota for parental sessions alongside you

Health & Safety – who works with you to ensure we fulfil Health & Safety requirements

Recruitment – who gets new families on board

Supplies – who buys all the rice cakes, jam, toilet rolls etc

Toys and Maintenance – who ensures toys are not broken and deals with the upkeep of the hall

Gardening and Cleaning – who organises cleaning days

 

Professional development

Families make themselves familiar with EYFS – Early Years Foundation Stage
which enables them to improve their childcare practice by learning about how children learn and develop, how to encourage children’s creativity, how to explore media and materials, how to develop imagination and imaginative play etc.

 

In addition to that, all participating parents attend seminars and courses in safeguarding children, first aid, food hygiene, inclusive practice and managing challenging behaviour.

 

Targeting the whole family

In fact: Childspace is more than a nursery, it is a community where kids and adults benefit. The participating children experience a creative, open minded and safe environment where their parents work to encourage a collaborative and cohesive, sustainable community. Childspace provides a unique opportunity for a nursery manager to experience a cooperative nursery.

 

Teamwork is key

Because of the small size of the organization everyone is involved with nearly every component of the nursery. Teamwork, integrity, tolerance, cooperation and respectfulness are fundamental values and skills we share. Childspace is not just about working together, but also about making long lasting friends.

 

What parents have said about Childspace:

I’m feeling very good about Childspace. And this has to do with community. Zeca is experiencing a wider community of adults. He sees us working together. There is always a buzz when we all arrive at Childspace. We don’t just drop our child off, be polite to each other for a few minutes, then rush off to work or whatever. We have a real relationship – negotiating, communicating, supporting, helping. This was exemplified in the cleaning day, which was very enjoyable. We got loads done. The children were playing and it was fun all being there together at the same time. This helped Zeca settle more. On some level, he now knows that Childspace is a place where mummy and daddy come too.” Ceri, mum of Zeca,
 Because the parents are involved in it, it helps the parents to build a support network and improve their parenting skills.”

(Marcus Grant, one of the founders. His daughter is 21 years old, studying drama at university)

 

We have also realised that it helps mums and dads to build up their confidence, because they are working as a part of the team, facing challenges, developing new skills.
Different training programs around the requirements of a nursery are provided by Lambeth

 

After a couple of years staying at home and looking after the children, I’ve lost my self confidence and was completely unsure about my own skills. Childspace is good for myself, developing new skills, working with other parents, being part of a team again. I think it is a good preparation for my plan going back to work.” Dorothea mum of Nikolas

 

We hope you will enjoy your time with us!

 

 

 

 Contact childspace(at)live.co.uk or 07954684286

 

www.childspace.org

 

Finalists for Best Social Enterprise in Lambeth Business Awards 2009 and 2010
 

Here’s the open letter from Alliance of Community Trainers, my training collective, about issues of nonviolence and tactics. Please spread it around widely. To comment or endorse, go to http://trainersallaince.org/ and its also on my blog, starhawksblog.org/, love Starhawk

From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT

 The Occupy movement has had enormous successes in the short time since September when activists took over a square near Wall Street. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of active participants, spawned occupations in cities and towns all over North America, changed the national dialogue and garnered enormous public support. It’s even, on occasion, gotten good press! Now we are wrestling with the question that arises again and again in movements for social justice—how to struggle. Do we embrace nonviolence, or a ‘diversity of tactics?’ If we are a nonviolent movement, how do we define nonviolence? Is breaking a window violent? We write as a trainers’ collective with decades of experience, from the anti-Vietnam protests of the sixties through the strictly nonviolent antinuclear blockades of the seventies, in feminist, environmental and anti-intervention movements and the global justice mobilizations of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. We embrace many labels, including feminist, anti-racist, eco-feminist and anarchist. We have many times stood shoulder to shoulder with black blocs in the face of the riot cops, and we’ve been tear-gassed, stun-gunned, pepper sprayed, clubbed, and arrested, While we’ve participated in many actions organized with a diversity of tactics, we do not believe that framework is workable for the Occupy Movement. Setting aside questions of morality or definitions of ‘violence’ and ‘nonviolence’ – for no two people define ‘violence’ in the same way – we ask the question: What framework can we organize in that will build on our strengths, allow us to grow, embrace a wide diversity of participants, and make a powerful impact on the world? ‘Diversity of tactics’ becomes an easy way to avoid wrestling with questions of strategy and accountability. It lets us off the hook from doing the hard work of debating our positions and coming to agreements about how we want to act together. It becomes a code for ‘anything goes,’ and makes it impossible for our movements to hold anyone accountable for their actions. The Occupy movement includes people from a broad diversity of backgrounds, life experiences and political philosophies. Some of us want to reform the system and some of us want to tear it down and replace it with something better. Our one great point of agreement is our call for transparency and accountability. We stand against the corrupt institutions that broker power behind closed doors. We call to account the financial manipulators that have bilked billions out of the poor and the middle classes. Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent. Some tactics are incompatible with those goals, even if in other situations they might be useful, honorable or appropriate. We can’t be transparent behind masks. We can’t be accountable for actions we run away from. We can’t maintain the security culture necessary for planning and carrying out attacks on property and also maintain the openness that can continue to invite in a true diversity of new people. We can’t make alliances with groups from impacted communities, such as immigrants, if we can’t make agreements about what tactics we will employ in any given action. The framework that might best serve the Occupy movement is one of strategic nonviolent direct action. Within that framework, Occupy groups would make clear agreements about which tactics to use for a given action. This frame is strategic—it makes no moral judgments about whether or not violence is ever appropriate, it does not demand we commit ourselves to a lifetime of Gandhian pacifism, but it says, ‘This is how we agree to act together at this time.’ It is active, not passive. It seeks to create a dilemma for the opposition, and to dramatize the difference between our values and theirs. Strategic nonviolent direct action has powerful advantages: We make agreements about what types of action we will take, and hold one another accountable for keeping them. Making agreements is empowering. If I know what to expect in an action, I can make a choice about whether or not to participate. While we can never know nor control how the police will react, we can make choices about what types of action we stand behind personally and are willing to answer for. We don’t place unwilling people in the position of being held responsible for acts they did not commit and do not support. In the process of coming to agreements, we listen to each other’s differing viewpoints. We don’t avoid disagreements within our group, but learn to debate freely, passionately, and respectfully. We organize openly, without fear, because we stand behind our actions. We may break laws in service to the higher laws of conscience. We don’t seek punishment nor admit the right of the system to punish us, but we face the potential consequences for our actions with courage and pride. Because we organize openly, we can invite new people into our movement and it can continue to grow. As soon as we institute a security culture in the midst of a mass movement, the movement begins to close in upon itself and to shrink. Holding to a framework of nonviolent direct action does not make us ‘safe.’ We can’t control what the police do and they need no direct provocation to attack us. But it does let us make clear decisions about what kinds of actions we put ourselves at risk for. Nonviolent direct action creates dilemmas for the opposition, and clearly dramatizes the difference between the corrupt values of the system and the values we stand for. Their institutions enshrine greed while we give away food, offer shelter, treat each person with generosity. They silence dissent while we value every voice. They employ violence to maintain their system while we counter it with the sheer courage of our presence. Lack of agreements privileges the young over the old, the loud voices over the soft, the fast over the slow, the able-bodied over those with disabilities, the citizen over the immigrant, white folks over people of color, those who can do damage and flee the scene over those who are left to face the consequences. Lack of agreements and lack of accountability leaves us wide open to provocateurs and agents. Not everyone who wears a mask or breaks a window is a provocateur. Many people clearly believe that property damage is a strong way to challenge the system. And masks have an honorable history from the anti-fascist movement in Germany and the Zapatista movement in Mexico, who said “We wear our masks to be seen.” But a mask and a lack of clear expectations create a perfect opening for those who do not have the best interests of the movement at heart, for agents and provocateurs who can never be held to account. As well, the fear of provocateurs itself sows suspicion and undercuts our ability to openly organize and grow. A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action makes it easy to reject provocation. We know what we’ve agreed to—and anyone urging other courses of action can be reminded of those agreements or rejected. We hold one another accountable not by force or control, ours or the systems, but by the power of our united opinion and our willingness to stand behind, speak for, and act to defend our agreements. A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action agreements allows us to continue to invite in new people, and to let them make clear choices about what kinds of tactics and actions they are asked to support. There’s plenty of room in this struggle for a diversity of movements and a diversity of organizing and actions. Some may choose strict Gandhian nonviolence, others may choose fight-back resistance. But for the Occupy movement, strategic nonviolent direct action is a framework that will allow us to grow in diversity and power.

From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT Starhawk Lisa Fithian Lauren Ross (or Juniper)

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